This Week in Washington

This Week in Washington - Courtesy of the Office of the Republican Whip October 26, 2009
Another week begins in Washington. Nothing major happened on the House floor last week and we expect much of the same this week as we continue to wait for the Democrats to figure out what they want to do on health care. Congress returns tonight for a full week of voting.


Speaker Pelosi polled her members last week on whether they wanted a “robust” public option or something less in the House’s final health care bill. Democratic members sounded off loudly against a robust plan, what the result is still remains to be seen. It is expected that the House will be voting on health care legislation the week of November 2nd. More on health care in Items of Interest below.

Other news in Washington last week had the Democrats moving closer and closer to proposing a second Stimulus bill. Since the original $787 billion “Stimulus” has failed to create even close to the amount of jobs promised (over 2.7 million jobs have been lost since it was signed by President Obama and there are roughly 12 million workers who would like to work full time but can’t find a full-time job), Democrats have been plotting a “stealth stimulus” behind closed doors. All signs point to the Speaker and the Obama Administration once again choosing to go it alone when it comes to the economy. I guess that's because their first one has been so effective.

Talk of Stimulus Part II is an admission of failure of the first Stimulus. House Republicans have consistently offered plans to help small businesses and create jobs. Rather than working alone in a “stealth” fashion, Democrats should work on an open, bi-partisan proposal that will actually yield results. For more information and reaction on the Democrats’ second stimulus effort please seehere.

Finally, it seems like the Obama Administration spends more time attacking Fox News than it does working to solve the major problems facing hardworking Americans. As they escalate their war on Fox News, even going as far as to try to exclude them from the “pool” media coverage at the White House this week, Republican Whip Eric Cantor believes this fight is “not the American way” and the Administration should be sticking to the issues the American people care about. See more on Mr. Cantor’s comments here.


Legislation Voted On:

1. H.R. 3585 - Solar Technology Roadmap Act of 2010 – seeks to increase the strength of America’s domestic solar technology industry through a coordinated research, development, and demonstration program and public-private partnerships. H.R. 3585 requires the Secretary of Energy to appoint a Solar Technology Roadmap Committee of at least 11 members. The Secretary would be required to follow a long-term “roadmap” developed by this committee. Republicans are concerned with the overall cost and some of the mandates in this bill. H.R. 3585 authorizes $2.25billion over five years. It also requires the Energy Secretary to direct a minimum amount of the bill’s authorization (starting with at least 30% in 2012 and increasing to at least 75% in 2015) to the Roadmap Committee recommendations, which leaves little flexibility for other viable innovations that are not under the roadmap. It passed the House on Thursday by a vote of 241-178.

2. H.R. 3619 - Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 – a one-year authorization of $9.98 billion, primarily for ongoing United States Coast Guard (USCG) operations. According to CBO, approximately $6.9 billion will be used for USCG operations, $1.6 billion for capital acquisitions, $16 million for the alteration of bridges, and nearly $30 million for research projects. This bill passed Friday by a vote of 385-11.

Looking Ahead:

The Colloquy - Check out last week’s colloquy between Republican Whip Eric Cantor and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. Lots of good information in here on the Estate Tax, doctor payment fix, health care, Iran and the November schedule. You can view part 1 here and part 2 here.

This Week's Announced Legislative Agenda:

1. H.R. 3854 – Small Business Financing and Investment Act

2. Conference Report on H.R. 2996 – Department of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Act

3. H.Res. __ – Making further continuing Appropriations for fiscal year 2010, and for other purposes

Items of Interest:

1. Health Care and Small Business – While the Obama administration wants the American public to believe it is helping small businesses with more federal spending, the Democrats’ massive health care overhaul will only hurt small business owners with new taxes and mandates. House Republicans have better solutions to help small businesses afford health care coverage. Much more information on this and the latest health care developments here.

2. New Health Care Hub Resource – Galen Institute launched a new website – Health Reform Hub, which will serve as a central access point for the latest news and information about market-based ideas for health reform. I thought it might interest you.

3. The House Republican Conference is out with a new video titled “Behind Closed Doors” that helps explain how the Democrat majority is trying to hide their government takeover of health care from the American public. You can view the video here.

4. Resurgent Republic is out with a new polling memo on various polls regarding the public health care option. You can view it here.

5. Weekly Waste Watch – This week’s waste watch highlights $1.5 Million in federal stimulus funds being spent on synchronizing suburban traffic lights. Louisville, KY, is using $1.5 million in Stimulus funds to synchronize traffic lights on several of its surrounding suburban roads. The goal of which is to shorten the amount of time the city’s commuters spend sitting at each traffic light. As a result, American taxpayers will help subsidize the convenience of 60,000 suburban residents. See more on this at the GOP Whip website here.

6. Gallup is out with a new poll saying that 49% of Americans think their own health care costs will increase if Obamacare passes. See the full poll here.

Articles of the Week:

1. A Sickening Deficit – – by Alex Brill and Amy Roden – 10/19/09 – A key driver behind the president's health care agenda is to, "help bring our deficits under control in the long term," and yet the latest health care bill will reach annual savings of only $18 billion by the end of the decade. Before deficit hawks try to applaud Congress for fiscal responsibility, Americans should recognize that the recently enacted stimulus bill will push up the deficit by $140 billion a year. Read full article here..

2. Excuses Wearing thin for Obama, Media Pals - Chicago Sun Times - by Steve Huntler - 10/20/09 - Have you heard the news? President Obama inherited an economic mess from the Bush administration. You say that's hardly news? But it's been the message sounded over and over by the White House. Read the full article here. ***Make sure you check out the online poll too.

3. Health care battles in Congress obscure parties' common ground; Republican proposals for reform get little attention - Cleveland Plain Dealer - by Sabrina Eaton – 10/17/09 -Republicans in Congress have crafted several health care reform proposals that aren't getting much attention because their party is not in power. None are as far-reaching as the plans Democrats are refining in the House and Senate, but they do show that the two parties could find some common ground. Read the full article here.