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This Week in Washington

This Week in Washington - Courtesy of the Office of Republican Whip Eric Cantor

Special  YouCut Edition May 14, 2010

Happy Friday! I would be updating you more on what's happening in Washington if there was more going on. However, earlier this week, the Republican House Economic Recovery Working Group led by Republican Whip Eric Cantor launched a new, exciting project named YouCutYouCut is a first-of-its-kind program to change the culture of spending in Washington. YouCut allows Americans to vote on wasteful government spending they would like to see cut by Congress.

Each week, the YouCut website will list five spending items that the American people can vote to cut. The following week, House Republicans will offer an up or down vote on the House floor to debate cutting the spending item that gets the most votes.

Launched on Wednesday, more than 150,000 Americans have already voted and made their voice heard. Republicans are taking cutting spending and the debt seriously. This small effort is only the beginning of what needs to be done to bring our fiscal house back in order, but we have to start somewhere.

Take a look at some of the many articles generating buzz and some GOP House Members' comments below...and don’t forget to vote!

Republican Members Spreading the Word: Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) Votes To Cut $600 Million Of Wasteful Spending Via YouCut. Check it out Here.   Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX):  YouCut Allows The Public To Play An Active Role In Eliminating Wasteful Spending.  Now you can have a say in the way Congress spends your money. House Republicans unveiled "YouCut" an online resource to collect input on how to cut government spending.  …  Woodlands Congressman Kevin Brady says they will also field suggestions. "On the site, the public will have an opportunity to identify what they think is wasteful spending; a program, an earmark, something they just believe that their money shouldn't be wasted on." Brady says the goal is to cut wasteful spending and reduce the federal deficit.  KTRH-AM   Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) Lauds High YouCut Participation … “I am simply astounded that YouCut has received over 70,000 votes in the last 24 hours, and the votes are still rapidly coming in. I thank all West Virginians who have taken time out their day to vote and make their voice heard. I assure you, we are listening.”  “When we take the first vote on the winning spending cut next week, we are hopeful that House Democrats will join us in voting for it. As our national debt continues to skyrocket, the time could not be better to take tangible steps toward changing the culture of spending in Washington.  WHSV-TV    Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) On YouCut, Start Small, Think Big.  Congressman Ander Crenshaw said every week they will list a few programs and you can vote on which to cut.  "And so this project You Cut, will give everybody in American a chance to participate in how we trim government spending," Crenshaw said.  Each week they will take the winner of the vote and try to force a vote in congress. "We are going to bring it up next week, vote on it, and force a vote as long as we can week after week after week," Crenshaw said. … "So there are going to be a series of small cuts. We are going to address it one spending cut at a time. If you cannot address the little things how are you every going to cut the big things," Crenshaw said. WOKV-AM

Media Buzz: 1. Tired of Big Government Spending? Then YouCut it! – Big Government – By Republican Whip Eric Cantor - Today, we are launching YouCut – a first-of-its-kind project designed to defeat the permissive culture of runaway spending in Congress.  It allows YOU to vote, both online and on your cell phone, on spending cuts that you want to see the House – YOUR HOUSE – enact. Read the rest of the op-ed here.    2. Cantor Goes "On The Record" to Discuss YouCut - Fox News' “On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren” - May 13, 2010 - "What we're saying here is we're going to listen. Vote on your priority, and we'll take it to an up-or-down vote on the floor,” Republican Whip Eric Cantor. See the full interview here.   3. House Republicans Unveil Initiative To Target Gov't Spending – CNN - House Republicans launched a new effort Wednesday designed to show their party is responding to voter backlash about excessive government spending.  Dubbed "YouCut," the initiative invites the public to vote online, or text on their cell phone, which government programs they want to put on the chopping block…House GOP Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, who unveiled the effort Wednesday, explained, "This is meant to not only listen to the public as to where they feel their government should be headed, but also to change the culture of spending in Washington."  Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the top Republican on the House Budget Committee, said, "The bias is in favor of taxing, spending and borrowing and we want to turn that around."  See the full report here   4. House GOP Looks To Reengage The Public With Government – Politico -  Republicans see this as an opportunity to pressure vulnerable members every week, by forcing them to continuously, however circuitously, vote on specific measures to cut spending. "Most Americans would certainly agree that Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi, [Majority Leader] Steny Hoyer and this Congress should spend more time finding ways to save money instead of spending all of their time spending it," said Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.). See the full article here.   5. Federal Budget Deficit Hits April Record - The Treasury Department said Wednesday the April deficit soared to $82.7 billion, the largest imbalance for that month on record. That was significantly higher than last year's April deficit of $20 billion and above the $30 billion deficit private economists had anticipated. Read the full article here.

Jeff J. Burton Office of the Republican Whip Rep. Eric Cantor 202-225-0197

 www.republicanwhip.house.gov

This Week in Washington

This Week in Washington - Courtesy of the Office of Republican Whip Eric Cantor

April 16, 2010

Happy day after the worst day of the year...Tax Day. Are you taxed enough yet? No? Well you’re in luck, as Congress returned Tuesday from a two week recess. Although I don’t think there are any tax increases scheduled for this week, I’m sure you won’t have to wait very long.

The House had a very light schedule this week with not much more than a Clean Estuaries bill on the schedule, as well as a 2-month (and $18 billion) extension of expiring programs and benefits like unemployment benefits, COBRA, and a doctor payment reimbursement fix. Congress is in for 7 weeks, which should be the longest continuous session of the year. With healthcare out of the way, Democrats in the House are weary of any more tough votes as outlined in The Hill. The major issue in Washington currently lies in the Senate where they seem to be closing in on some action on their financial services regulatory reform bill. A bill has already passed the House so there won’t be any action in the House until something passes the Senate. I will provide some issue points on the legislation once it becomes more clear.

Speaking of healthcare, Rasmussen is out with a new poll showing 58% of Americans support repealing the government takeover of healthcare. One reason for the opposition is almost immediately following the bills signing, many businesses were forced to revaluate their projected earnings, some in the hundreds of millions and even billions of dollars. All this costs Americans more jobs. You can find a few articles on how the new health care law will negatively affect employment here. 

Just because the bill is signed doesn’t mean Republicans will stop fighting. Republicans have unified around a message of “Repeal and Replace”. Repealing the job-killing and damaging healthcare legislation and replacing it with real reform that lowers costs and gets to the root of the problem. More on healthcare here

House Republicans continue to focus getting Americans back to work. The only jobs that seem to be created right now are government jobs. The Joint Economic Committee reports in a new Chart that over the past year, the public sector economy lost 3.9 million jobs while government grew by 293,000. Just wait until everyone’s favorite government agency, the IRS, has to hire an estimated 18,000 new employees to enforce the healthcare mandate.

Finally, Democrats have indicated that passing a budget is not very important to them. Apparently having monthly deficits of over $221 billion (February) isn’t a reason to find a way to control spending, never mind the fact that American families and small businesses don’t have the luxury of side-stepping a budget.

Jeff

Items of Interest:

1. Cantor Launches Video News Release On Washington Spending: "Tick Tock" that puts the out of control spending by Democrats in Washington in perspective. Click Here To View

2. Polling Report – Alex Bratty with Public Opinion Strategies is out with a new blog post outlining the lack of a bump for the Democrats after they passed their unpopular health care legislation. You can read the blog post here.

3. Hispanics and the GOP - Resurgent Republic did a national survey of Hispanics a few weeks ago. The results were very interesting and shows a great deal of hope for the GOP. You can find a press release on the poll here a memo on the poll here and the full poll here.

4. Health Care Timeline by Subject - For your assistance, the Whip Office (link here) has compiled a preliminary timeline of when the healthcare provisions begin sorted by subject and the Ways and Means Republicans (link here) have compiled a timeline of major provisions for healthcare.  

Articles of Interest:

1. CBO chief says debt ‘unsustainable’ – Politico – By Jonathan Allen - The nation’s fiscal path is “unsustainable,” and the problem “cannot be solved through minor tinkering,” the head of the Congressional Budget Office said Thursday morning. Read the full article here.

2. Democratic lawmakers say midterms may obstruct budget resolution – Washington Post - By Lori Montgomery - Congressional Democrats say they may be unable to approve a budget plan this year because many lawmakers are unwilling in the run-up to the November midterm elections to ratify a spending blueprint that is certain to include large deficits. Read the full article here.

3. House Has Passed Budget Resolution Every Year Since Budget Act, According To Study – The Hill - By Walter Alarkon Skipping a budget resolution this year, a move House Democrats are considering, would be unprecedented. Read the full article here.

Jeff J. Burton Office of the Republican Whip Rep. Eric Cantor 202-225-0197 www.republicanwhip.house.gov

This Week in Washington

This Week in Washington - Courtesy of the Office of Republican Whip Eric Cantor

March 19, 2010

It appears we are finally approaching the endgame for health care. The last couple weeks have been very busy here in Washington with all the action surrounding what the Democrats are going to do with their never ending desire to expand government, but passage is far from certain. We currently expect the House to vote sometime Sunday afternoon.

The battle currently lies in the House where Democrats are pulling every trick out of their bag in a last ditch effort to pass their takeover of our health care system. Their new bill, a hybrid of the Senate passed health care legislation, costs $1.2 trillion and contains more than $500 billion in tax hikes. For more information on the bill, Republican Leader John Boehner put together a handy memo titled  Ten Facts Every American Should Know About Democrats’ Final Government Takeover of Health Care.” In their effort to pass the legislation, Democrats have decided to use a policy maneuver known as Reconciliation and make it so that the House doesn’t even officially vote on the Senate passed bill. Republicans on the Rules Committee have a great synopsis of the process here. It’s very confusing, but you will find more of an explanation in Items of Interest below, including a quote from then-Senator Obama saying Reconciliation is not the place for policy changes.

News reports spread every day with more House Democrats saying “NO” to their leaders plans for passing the massive government takeover of Health Care. But I could talk about health care all day. More on the Reconciliation process, vote counts, democratic targets and what Republicans are doing to try to stop this bill below in Items of Interest.

In other news, last Thursday House Republicans took a huge step toward regaining the mantle of fiscal responsibility by enacting a unilateral Earmark Moratorium. The ban, which passed by a voice vote of the Republican Members, would affect all earmarks. Republicans are hopeful that this will show House Democrats and the American people how serious they are about the fiscal crisis we currently face. Visit here to see a press conference immediately after the vote and here for press related to the ban, more comments from Republican leaders and the text of the ban itself.

In other fiscal news, House Republican Leader John Boehner and Senate Republican LeaderMitch McConnell named their members to the President’s Deficit Commission. Republicans in the House will be represented by Reps. Dave Camp (R-MI), Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) while Republicans in the Senate will be represented by Senators Judd Gregg (R-NH), Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Tom Coburn (R-OK). The leaders are still (rightly)concerned that the commission will do little to actually curb the deficit since the results will be non-binding and won’t even be announced until after the November elections. Time will tell.

It’s been an interesting couple weeks ethics wise for House Democrats. That swamp thatSpeaker Pelosi promised to drain is currently full with a bunch of her members. First, now-former Ways & Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) was forced to step aside from his post after he was admonished by the House Ethics Committee for taking numerous improperly funded trips to the Caribbean. Speaker Pelosi initially defended Mr. Rangel, but an outcry from some of her members forced her to make a change. Many believe this is just the first domino to fall as Mr. Rangel is under investigation for numerous other transgressions. More on Mr. Rangel here.

And then there’s now-former Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY). Questions still remain about what Democratic Leaders knew and when they knew it. I expect more information to come out in the coming weeks and that’s all I’m going to say about that…

Much more information on health care in Items of Interest and Articles of Interest below.

Jeff

Items of Interest:

1. Reconciliation – The Slaughter Solution – Democrats are trying to ram their health care plan through the House and Senate using Reconciliation. Reconciliation is a budgetary process that allows for little debate and only requires 51 votes in the Senate to pass. It still requires a regular majority in the House and with a few current open seats, Democrats need 216 votes to pass health care through the house. President Obama is pushing the Reconciliation process despite saying on 12/20/05, “Under The Rules, The Reconciliation Process Does Not Permit That Debate. Reconciliation Is Therefore The Wrong Place For Policy Changes ... In Short, The Reconciliation Process Appears To Have Lost Its Proper Meaning. A Vehicle Designed For Deficit Reduction And Fiscal Responsibility Has Been Hijacked...”(Sen. Obama, Congressional Record, S .14150, 12/20/05). So much for consistency.

In order to pass it through the House, Democrats are creating “The Slaughter Solution." The Slaughter Solution, named after House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY), would bypass regular order and allow the democrats to avoid actually voting on the senate passed health care bill. Instead the Rule for debating the bill would “deem” the senate bill as passed. You can find a good explanation of what “deeming” means in a memo prepared by Republicans on the Rules Committee and press reports on it here.

2. Cantor Resolution – In an effort to stop this blatant abuse of power, Republican Whip Eric Cantor on Thursday offered a Resolution denouncing the Democratic Leadership’s deceptive use of the "Slaughter Solution." You can find the text of the resolution here. Not surprisingly, Democratic leaders tabled the resolution by a vote of 232-181. Although 10 Democrats voted with Republicans to denounce their leadership for their use of the “Slaughter Solution” to deceive the American people.

3. Parker Griffith Resolution – earlier on Thursday, Republican Rep. Parker Griffith offered a resolution to require an up or down vote on the Senate Health Care bill. The resolution was defeated 222-203. More information on Rep. Griffith’s resolution here.

4. Target Memo’s & Vote Totals – With Republicans united in their opposition, there are two main groups of Democrats holding up the health care legislation. One is a group of pro-life democrats who object to the federal funding of abortions in the bill. The other consists of those democrats in marginal seats who are feeling immense political pressure to vote on a bill a vast majority of the American people oppose. Two memo’s will help explain these groups better and name some of the Democrats in each camp. The first, prepared by Republican Whip Eric Cantor, explains who is in each group and the second, prepared by Whip Cantor and Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) highlights those House members and some overlying Senators who could have similar issues once the bill returns to the Senate.

5. Republican Address – the last two Republican Weekly Addresses have been delivered by new Republican Rep. Parker Griffith (R-AL) and new Senator Scott Brown (R-MASS). You can see Rep. Griffith’s address here and Senator Brown’s address here.

Legislation to be Voted On:

Believe it or not, other legislation is being debated in the house. Below are a couple of the bills we expect:

1. H.R. 1586, the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act would reauthorize the FAA through 2012 providing funding for an upgraded air traffic control system called ‘NextGen’. This legislation changes the process of labor negotiations between the FAA and air traffic controllers, changes regulations of certain FedEx employees, requires airlines and airports to develop contingency plans for stranded passengers and increases transportation fees and the jet fuel tax. It is likely that the House will also pass a short term extension of the current legislation.

 2. “Jobs” Bill – democrats are still working on legislation to supposedly create ‘jobs’. The circulating language talks of tax and COBRA extenders, and supposedly some help for small businesses. Unfortunately there is nothing of substance to report as of this moment.

Articles of Interest:

1. Pelosi Hits Rough Patch, Denies 'Chaos' - Congress Daily – By Billy House – 3/8/2010 - House Speaker Pelosi's leadership of the House Democratic Caucus might not be in "chaos" -- as Minority Leader Boehner buoyantly sought to describe it last week -- but she certainly has hit a rough patch just as she is trying to scrape together votes for healthcare reform. Read the full article here.

 2. Twisting Path to 216 for Pelosi – Politico – By Patrick O’Connor – 3/17/2010 -Add a Kucinich, subtract a Kaptur. Every tough vote has its arithmetic, and health reform is no different. Get to 216, score a win. But to make it, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has to minimize the defections among “yes” votes and flip a few “no” votes. Read the full article here.

3. Obama Pitch: Fate of Presidency on the Line – Politico – By Glenn Thrush – 3/18/2010 - President Barack Obama had exhausted most of his health care reform arguments with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus during a White House meeting last Thursday when he made a more personal pitch that resonated with many skeptics in the room. One caucus member told POLITICO that Obama won him over by “essentially [saying] that the fate of his presidency” hinged on this week’s health reform vote in the House. The member, who requested anonymity, likened Obama’s remarks to an earlier meeting with progressives when the president said a victory was necessary to keep him “strong” for the next three years of his term. Read the full article here.

4. Must Pass Bills Falter in Unpopular Congress as Democrats Blame Republicans – The Hill – By Alexander Bolton – 3/1/2010 – Failure to advance must-pass legislation has added to the Democrats’ problems when Congress is suffering from its lowest approval ratingsin years. Democrats claim they can blame Republican obstruction for the gridlock, but political experts and some Democratic allies say the majority party will also suffer because it controls Congress. To make matters worse, the stalled bills were expected to pass easily. Read the full article here.

Jeff J. Burton Office of the Republican Whip Rep. Eric Cantor 202-225-0197 www.republicanwhip.house.gov

This Week in Washington

This Week in Washington - Courtesy of the Office of Republican Whip Eric Cantor
February 24, 2010
 Congress took a hiatus for the last couple of weeks. The first week off was unexpected due to Snowmageddon 2010 where the DC area was hit with back to back massive snowstorms. Looks like it took the weather to finally slow down the speed at which Congress spends money. Last week was a scheduled district work period. Congress returned Monday night for what appears to be a light legislative week, but a big week issue wise.

A so-called “Jobs” bill over in the Senate (which coincidentally doesn't produce jobs) and talk of Thursday’s Health Care Summit at the White House are dominating the conversation. More on the jobs bill below in Legislation to be Voted On. On health care, the President unveiled his “new” health carecompromise Monday morning. Who it is a compromise with remains to be seen. As described by White House Health Reform Director Nancy-Ann DeParle, it's the Senate bill with "targeted changes". See herefor a new document from Republican Whip Eric Cantor on the “new” proposal. The proposal is an 11 page outline with no legislative text so many details and outstanding issues don’t seem to be resolved, and theCongressional Budget Office cannot even provide the cost of it. The resounding media reports say that Mr. Obama’s “new” plan looks too much like the old one.

Speaker Pelosi was hesitant to support the plan but said “this discussion will continue a year-long historic level of transparency and open debate of this crucial reform effort.” Apparently when Speaker Pelosi says, “transparency and open debate,” she actually means “hidden from the American people and argued about by Democrats behind closed doors.” 

On Thursday, the President is hosting a 6-hour, Bipartisan Health Care Summit at the White House. House and Senate Republican and Democratic Leaders have been invited, although the format has not been released as of yet. When the summit was announced, Republican Leader John Boehner and Republican Whip Eric Cantor sent a letter to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel urging them to take the partisan procedural maneuver known as Reconciliation off the table and start over in the interest of bipartisanship. To date, they have not received a response. The question in Washington is whether the summit is a real effort or simply a photo op. Time will tell and I’m sure I will have much more info for you next week. Republicans plan to participate and Leader Boehner announced the House Republican participants and the outside communications effort earlier today. You can see his release here. Republicans continue to stand with the American people in believing that reform is necessary, but the Democrats' plan increases health care costs, places onerous mandates on struggling businesses, raises taxes on working families, and will lead to many losing the coverage options they have now. More on health care below in Articles of Interest.

Last week was the one year anniversary of the Democrats “Stimulus” bill. And boy do I have a lot of information on it. See the special section titled Stimulus below. Finally, Republican Leader John Boehner gave a speech to CPAC (The annual Conservative Action Conference in DC) last week where he talked about what would be different if Republicans were in charge of the House next year. You can see articles on the speech here. Jeff

Stimulus: Last week was the one year anniversary of the Democrats “Stimulus” bill. Since then, Republicans have been focussed on creating jobs for the American people, while Democrats have…well…been focussed on other things. Republican Whip Eric Cantor summed it up best when he said, “In the year since the Democrats’ ‘stimulus’ program was enacted, over 3 million jobs have been lost, billions of dollars have been wasted, and an unprecedented debt has been passed on to our children – these are not the results that America hoped for. Struggling small business owners, families, and young workers see trillions in debt, on their tab, and still no job creation… It’s been a year, and the President and Speaker Pelosi are still trumpeting a stimulus program that most Americans intrinsically know has failed to achieve the goals that were set for it. I hope that in the year ahead, instead of simply praising their own failed programs, the President and Speaker Pelosi take a serious look at the impediments to jobs that their agenda threatens small businesses with every day. Until they do, then their proposals will not be taken seriously by small business owners, and the job market will continue to struggle.”

Whip Cantor was busy last week. He released a new web video titled “Rhetoric vs. Results” and held an online forum & briefing titled “1 year, $862 billion spent, 4 million jobs lost” with other Republican members at the Heritage Foundation. Whip Cantor and Leader Boehner also sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi asking for a open, televised debate focussed on job creation and economic growth. You can view the letter and corresponding article here. We have yet to hear a response. For more information on the stimulus spending lowlights see here and for a timeline of the stimulus see here

Legislation to be Voted On: 1. H.R. 2314 - Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act - will cost $1 million annually until 2012, and half a million dollars thereafter to create a race-based governing entity similar to the governing entities presiding over Native American tribes. The Governor of Hawaii opposes the legislation. It passed the House on Tuesday by a vote of 245-164

2. H.R. 2701 - Intelligence Authorization Act - Beyond providing money for our intelligence community this bill throws into question whether terrorists will be read Miranda rights and afforded the protection under those rights. Incredibly, this bill was drafted over 8 months ago and is only now coming to the floor for a vote. During that time, the bill has not been touched- meaning the legislation does not reflect any lessons learned from domestic attacks teh United States has faced, including the Christmas Day bomber. Transparency is also at issue: critics of the bill argue if the U.S. pays to send detainees to other countries the public has a right to know the truth. Currently such maneuvers in this bill will remain a secret.

3. *Possible* - Senate Jobs Bill  - The Senate passed a $15 billion “Jobs” bill on Wednesday.  the House has two options. They can create their own bill or they can simply accept the Senate version and try to pass it as is. It’s possible that either could come up later this week. The "Jobs" bill includes four major provisions. First, an extension of existing highway programs. Second, an extension of current tax rules allowing small businesses to expense equipment purchases. Third, a modification to the existing Build America Bond Program. And finally a new-temporary tax program that would exempt employers who hire new workers from the 6.2% payroll tax for the remainder of the year. The individual hired would have to be unemployed for at least 60 days and if the employer kept the employee on for a full year they would recieve an additional $1,000 tax credit in 2011. So in short, an employer who spends $50,000 to hire a new employee for the remainder of the year would save $3,100 this year and $1,000 next year. I imagine I will have much more on this next week.

Articles of Interest: 1. New Plan, same old problems – Politico – By Carrie Budoff Brown and Patrick O’Connor – 2/22/10 -The White House opened its last-ditch push for health reform Monday by releasing a $950 billion plan that signaled a new phase of hands-on presidential involvement. But by day’s end, President Barack Obamawas staring down all the same old problems. Read the full article here.

2. Speaker Pelosi bets the House on success of $787 billion stimulus – The Hill – By Bob Cusack – 2/17/10 - Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has issued 260 statements on the stimulus package over the past year in an effort to win a debate that could be the key to retaining the Democrats’ majority in the House. With climate change legislation considered dead and healthcare reform on the ropes, Pelosi has not let up in making the case that the stimulus bill has averted an economic meltdown since it was signed into law one year ago on Wednesday. Read the full article here.

3. Family feud: Pelosi at odds with Obama – Politico – By Mike Allen & Patrick O’Connor – 2/12/10 -House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s increasingly public disagreements with President Barack Obamaare a reflection of something deeper: the seething resentment some Democrats feel over what they see as cavalier treatment from a wounded White House. For months, the California lawmaker has been pushing Obama hard in private while praising him in public. But now she’s being more open in her criticism, in part because she feels the White House was wrong - in the wake of the Democrats’ loss in Massachusetts — to push the Senate health care bill on the House when she knew there was no way it would pass. Read the full article here.

4. The Rattled State of Democrats – NY Times – By Carl Hulse – 2/14/10 - It was a telling glimpse into the state of mind of rattled Senate Democrats. Worried that they were going to be skewered for pushing a jobs bill that was stuffed with business tax breaks and pork, Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, pulled the plug Thursday on a rare bipartisan proposal, gambling both with the party’s best chance of posting a needed legislative win as well as with President Obama’s new push for cross-party cooperation. The surprise move by Mr. Reid, partly in response to fears from lawmakers that they were going to take a pummeling on cable news, has put the future of the jobs legislation in question and showed how the criticism heaped on their health care plan and the loss of the Massachusetts Senate seat have put Democrats in a protective crouch. Read the full article here.

Jeff J. Burton Office of the Republican Whip Rep. Eric Cantor 202-225-0197 www.republicanwhip.house.gov

This Week in Washington

This Week in Washington - Courtesy of the Office of the Republican Whip
November 12, 2009
Despite overwhelming public opposition and an impromptu 15,000-person rally on the Capitol Steps, Democrats pushed forward and passed their massive health care reform through the House late last Saturday night by a vote of 220-215. While ramming it through, Speaker Pelosi’s nearly $1.3 trillion government-takeover of health care was met with wide bipartisan opposition on the House floor. Thirty-nine Democrats, from across the country, bucked Speaker Pelosi’s strong-armed tactics and joined with Republicans to oppose the government-run health care plan. See here for GOP reaction to the Democrats’ sweeping health reform legislation.The GOP has a better plan for health reform. The GOP plan focuses on across state line purchasing, codifying the Hyde Language prohibiting taxpayer-funded abortion, makes Health Savings Accounts more attractive and accessible, implements strong medical liability reforms and provides a state innovation program that would reward states for providing effective health care programs and services and it also reduces the debt! But don’t take my word for it. The plan has some unlikely fans; The New York Times, DC Examiner, LA Times and Detroit News all wrote stories favorable to the Republican Plan. You can see those stories here and more on the GOP Plan here. The Republican Substitute failed by a margin of 176-258.

Before the final vote on Saturday night, Republican Whip Eric Cantor introduced the Republican Motion to Recommit (MTR) that would have amended the Democrats’ bill to add medical liability reform provisions. The MTR would use its $53 billion in savings to preserve seniors' access to Medicare Advantage and protect seniors’ access to necessary care, while also addressing payment inequities and geographic variations in Medicare that hurts seniors. The Pelosi government take-over of health care cuts more than $500 billion from Medicare, leaving seniors with reduced benefits and fewer choices. At the same time, the Pelosi bill protects trial lawyers by avoiding real medical liability reform. The Republican motion to recommit offered a choice on whom to protect: seniors or trial lawyers. Democrats chose poorly. The MTR failed by a vote of 187-247.

Over the past few weeks, House Democratic leaders have struggled with the abortion issue. Their original bill included government funding for abortions. After many hours of negotiations, an amendment by Reps.Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Joe Pitts (R-PA) that prohibits federal funding of abortions was finally allowed to be voted on the House floor. The amendment passed 240-194.

Moving forward, one of the central questions is whether the Stupak-Pitts language will be included in the final bill. Despite their promises during debate, many leading House Democrats now say that the pro-life amendment will likely be stripped from the legislation before final passage, enraging pro-life members of Congress in both chambers. This will be a key issue as attention now turns to the Senate. Majority Leader Reid has promised to begin debate on his health care legislation next week, but no one has seen his bill yet. Debate is expected to continue for at least a few weeks and many issues remain outstanding. The Obama Administration is pushing to have health care reform done by the end of the year so I will continue to keep you posted.

Finally, we are approaching the end of a very special week. Monday, November 9th marked the 20th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Wednesday was Veterans Day. Having both occasions occur in the same week is fitting because it is our nation’s great veterans who provide us with the freedoms that so many of us take for granted. Twenty years ago this week, we were able to see firsthand the great gift of freedom and how it touched the world when the Wall fell. I hope you take a few moments this week to remember how lucky we are to live in such a great country and thank a veteran for the incredible gift of freedom and security that they provide.

Jeff

Items of Interest:

1. November/December Schedule – Majority Leader Hoyer released the schedule for the rest of the year and it’s not pretty. Congress will return next week, and then following Thanksgiving we will be in session every week possible until the 22nd of December. You can see the full schedule here.

2. Weekly Waste Watch: Week 25 – Connecticut Spends $1.3 Million in Stimulus Money for Archaeological Surveys of Man Made Lakes. This week we highlight the fact that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is spending $1.3 million in Stimulus funds to conduct “archaeological surveys” and perform maintenance on two man-made lakes in eastern Connecticut. See the full waste watch here.

Articles of the Week:

1. Jobs a low priority for Democrats – By Nolan Finley – The Detroit News – 11/8/09 –Americans are angry with Washington as much for what it isn't doing as what it is. What it isn't doing the most is paying attention to the still-raging economic disaster. Last week's job numbers show unemployment nationally bumping past 10 percent and surpassing 15 percent in Michigan. Unemployment keeps climbing, even though President Barack Obama and Congress nine months ago committed $787 billion to creating jobs. Read full article here.

2. All Eyes on Sen. Harry Reid – By Carrie Budoff Brown and Manu Raju – The Politico – 11/8/09 –As health reform shifts back to the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid is facing dissent from fellow Democrats worried that he has no final bill, no Democratic consensus on the way ahead and no guarantee he’ll finish by year’s end. Read full article here.

3. GOP Gains Edge on Economy – By John D. McKinnon – The Wall Street Journal – 11/3/2009 - If it’s the economy, stupid, Republicans have the edge, at least for now. And that message isn’t coming from the GOP. New research from Democracy Corps says Republicans are getting the better of the debate on the economy in 60 battleground congressional districts – a problem for Democrats as the 2010 midterm elections begin to come into focus. Democracy Corps, founded by Clinton pollster Stan Greenberg and strategist James Carville, conducts political research aimed at sharpening Democrats’ messaging on key issues. Read the full article here.

 

Jeff J. Burton Office of the Republican Whip Rep. Eric Cantor 202-225-0197 www.republicanwhip.house.gov

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.

Jeff

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 www.HealthReformHub.org, 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 – Forbes.com – 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.

This Week in Washington

This Week in Washington – Courtesy of the Office of the Republican Whip
September 30, 2009
The House returned Tuesday evening for a short week of votes. The Senate Finance Committee is continuing their markup of the Democratic Health Care overhaul as they take up more than 500 amendments. The markup started last week and the rumors have it that they hope to complete it as early as Thursday. This sets the stage for the bill to be on the Senate floor possibly towards the end of next week.

The House still appears to be in a holding pattern until the Senate figures out a firmer timeline. In the meantime, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to garner enough votes to pass the legislation. It does not appear to be a successful effort at this point as progressives and Blue Dog Democrats continue to argue about whether or not the plan should include a government-run health care option. Republicans continue to oppose the government takeover of health care. As a side note, the public option was defeated in the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday by a vote of 8-15.

Public support for the President's health care plan is at an all time low this week as a new Rasmussen poll reports that just 41% of voters nationwide support the plan. The survey also finds that 56% are opposed. You can view the poll here. Much more on current developments regarding the health care debate here.

In other news, the mainstream media finally picked up on the ACORN scandal, but it sure did take a while. And you know things are bad for the left when Jon Stewart actually sides with Republicans. As the scandal continues, House Republicans scored a victory last week when they forced a vote to cut all ties between ACORN and the Federal Government. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) offered H.R. 3571, the Defund ACORN Act, as the Motion to Recommit on H.R. 3221 - the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009. The MTR passed 345-75. See here for more information on the ACORN scandal and the vote.

As far as National Security goes, it’s been a rough couple weeks for the President. After the President essentially scrapped the Missile Defense program last week, Iran quickly followed the news by launching test missiles and appears to be closer to having a nuclear weapon than earlier thought. And then there is Afghanistan. As the situation there continues to disintegrate, the President is between a rock and a hard place of whether he listens to the Generals on the ground, or the hard left who are pressuring him to develop an exit strategy. See Items of Interest below for more information.

On energy, the Environment and Public Works Committee unveiled their climate change legislation Tuesday. Introduced by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and John Kerry (D-MA), the 801 page bill aims for a 20 percent reduction in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020, which is greater than the House version of 17 percent. The bill is still being analyzed, so I will have more info for you next week.

Finally, in an effort to shine a public light on legislation and allow members to actually read the bills being passed, Reps. John Culberson (R-TX) and Brian Baird (D-WA) introduced bipartisan legislation, HRes 554, which would prohibit the House from considering any measure that has not been publicly available via the Internet for 72 hours. Last week, Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) filed a discharge petition to force a floor vote on the Culberson-Baird resolution. To date, the petition has garnered 178 signatures – including five rank-and-file Democrats – 40 short of the 218 needed to secure a vote on the floor. More on this legislation here and you can see the Dear Colleague letter that went out here.

Jeff

Legislation to be Voted On:

1. S. 1707 - Authorizing appropriations for fiscal years 2010 through 2014 to promote an enhanced strategic partnership with Pakistan and its people – S. 1707 is a multi-year aid package for Pakistan which passed the Senate by voice vote last Thursday. The bill would authorize $1.5 billion annually for five years in non-military assistance, which triples the current level. The bill calls for the Administration to produce a comprehensive regional strategy report for Pakistan. In sum, compared to the previous House bill to aid Pakistan, this legislation provides substantially greater flexibility to the Executive Branch and U.S. commanders in the field. The House is slated to consider this bill on Wednesday under suspension of the rules (requires 2/3 of the vote to pass).

2. Conference Report on H.R. 3183 - Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 – The Conference report totals over $33.465 billion for the fiscal year 2010, which is $928 million below the President's budget request, and $55 million above the amount appropriated in fiscal year 2009, excluding emergency appropriations.

3. H.R. 2442 - Bay Area Regional Water Recycling Program Expansion Act – This bill, sponsored by Rep. George Miller and cosponsored by 8 other Bay area Democrats, would make six additional Bay area water projects eligible for federal funding at a time when 40,000 people don’t have jobs in the San Joaquin Valley due to a lack of water.

The Federal government’s decision to protect the delta smelt, a 2-inch bait fish, required blocking the water flow through the San Joaquin Valley. This area of California was rich in farming land until water was cut off. Now, some towns in the San Joaquin Valley have unemployment as high as 40%.

H.R. 2442 is scheduled to be considered on the floor under suspension this afternoon. It has been postponed thus far due to the vigorous Republican opposition to the bill led by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA).

Items of Interest:

1. Obama Scraps Missile Defense – Last Thursday, President Obama made what is widely perceived as a misguided decision to jettison U.S. plans to build a missile-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, abandoning our commitments to those important European allies and weakening our own national defense. For more reaction to this move and how it can impact our national security and bolster Iran, please see here.

2. Wilson Research Strategies released a National Health Care Study regarding Americans attitudes on health care reform. You can view the study here.

3. Weekly Waste Watch – Please check out the latest Weekly Waste Watch from the Republican Whip website.

4. Buyer Beware – Alex Bratty of Public Opinion Strategies has a new blog post highlighting independents scampering away from the President at an amazing clip. See the blog post here.

Articles of the Week:

1. Politico - Reassembling Humpty Dumpty – by Newt Gingrich & David Merritt – September 17, 2009 – If health care reform had a name, it would be Humpty Dumpty. After all, President Barack Obama tried to put him back together again in his speech to Congress last week. On Wednesday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) did the same when he introduces his long-awaited plan. The problem is that Humpty Dumpty didn’t just fall off the wall – he was shoved off by the American people. Read the full article here.

2. Politico - Cantor: Pelosi 'In Another World' – by Glenn Thrush - September 23, 2009 -House Minority Whip Eric Cantor thinks House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “is in another world” if she believes raucous anti-health-reform demonstrations could lead to violence — and he says he hasn’t personally witnessed racist comments during a summer of passionate town hall demonstrations. Read the full article here.

This Week in Washington

This Week in Washington – Courtesy of the Office of the Republican Whip
September 17, 2009
Congress returned after a very short weekend Monday afternoon for another relatively light legislative week. The big news revolves around the Senate where Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) has finally proposed his health care reform legislation. This is what everyone in Washington has been waiting for. The so called “Gang of Six” (the bipartisan group of 6 Senators working on the bill) quickly became the Gang of Three as the three Republican negotiators are not happy with the bill. The Republicans, Senator’s Charles Grassley (R-IA), Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) are currently opposing the legislation to varying degrees. The proposal was unveiled yesterday with a collective thud and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is trying to fast track the legislation and has promised to have the bill on the Senate floor in two weeks. You can view some preliminary articles on the bill here and some talking points here.

Meanwhile, last week’s speech by President Obama before a joint session of Congress has not seemed to generate any momentum for health reform. The President failed to offer any new specifics and his rhetoric sharply contrasted the reality that is H.R. 3200. Here are some very interesting Myth vs. Fact documents highlighting the President’s inaccuracies and more press on the speech here.

The Republican Address following the speech was given by Dr. Charles Boustany (R-LA). You can view the address here. And for the first time, the Republican Address was also given in Spanish. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart gave the address and you can view it here. In the week since the President’s speech, House Democrats and the media have chosen to focus almost exclusively on Rep. Joe Wilson and his outburst during the address, instead of focusing on the speech’s inaccuracies and fixing the many problems with the bill. We’ll see what next week holds.

In other news, after nearly a year long fight, the Obama Administration has finally ended all ties between the corrupt group, ACORN and the 2010 Census. House Republicans, led by Rep’s. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Patrick McHenry (R-NC) and Lynn Westmorland (R-GA) have been fighting this issue since early in the year. Republican Leader John Boehner has also sent a letter to President Obama calling on Congress and the President to end all federal funding of ACORN. You can view the letter, signed by 130 House Republicans, here and more information on this issue here.

In a stunning admission, the Obama Administration released a study this week that says their Cap and Trade Energy Bill (also known as a National Energy Tax) will cost the American taxpayers up to $200 billion a year, the equivalent of raising personal income taxes by 15%. See the article here. I wonder how they will spin this one?

Finally, it’s not just health care they are trying to take over. Now it’s the studeant loan industry. See below in Legislation to be Voted On for more information.

Jeff

Legislation to be Voted On:

1. H.R. 3246 - Advanced Vehicle Technology Act of 2009 – would authorize appropriations totaling $2.85 billion over the 2010-2014 period for the Department of Energy to support research to reduce the number of vehicles fuels that generate high emissions. CBO estimates that implementing the legislation would cost $2.43 billion over the 2010-2014 period and $423 million after 2014. Enacting the legislation would not affect direct spending or revenues. This bill passed on Wednesday by a vote of 312-114.

Republicans offered a Motion to Recommit that would have amended the bill to prevent double dipping and duplicative funding for vehicle technologies at the Department of Energy. This legislation has already been included in numerous other legislative measures. The MTR failed by a vote of 180-245.

2. H.R. 3221 - Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009 – Another day, another government takeover. The “Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act” would abolish the longstanding privately-run Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) and replace it with taxpayer-financed lending from the U.S. Treasury.. By giving the federal government a monopoly over student lending, this plan will eliminate choice, competition, and innovation in our student loan system. Moreover, in an environment where job security is already a concern for most American families, this bill will lead to job loss for those involved with the FFEL program. With this government intrusion, the 4,400 college and universities that currently are in the FFEL program are being told by Democrats: “if you like your plan, get ready to lose it.” This bill will be completed on Thursday. You can view an op-ed by Rep. John Kline (R-MN), the Ranking Republican on the Education & Labor Committee, here.

Items of Interest:

1. The Whip Office released a new video press release entitled, “Required.” In the video we see the Majority (Democrat) Staff Director for the Health Subcommittee for the Committee of Ways and Means is testifying on the impacts of the Democrats’ health care legislation. Her testimony and analysis included the word “require” eighty-four times, as she outlined a litany of mandates the bill would place on the American public. See it Here.

2. No Game-Changer – An ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Monday shows that President Obama’s address last week to a joint-session of Congress on the issue of health reform failed to sway public opinion in his favor.

3. GOP Member Comments – RSC Chairman Dr. Tom Price (R-GA) makes a passionate statement in the Education & Labor Committee on the Health Care Bill here and Rep.. Mike Rogers (R-MI) comments in Energy & Commerce here.

4. Weekly Waste Watch – Please check out the latest Weekly Waste Watch from the Republican Whip website.

5. Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee have expanded their web presence. You can view their new website here.

Articles of the Week:

To shorten this email, I’m going to start putting article summaries and links here instead of the whole article.

1. Politico – The Great myth: bipartisanship – Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen: President Barack Obama is on the warpath over myths and distortions about health care reform, but he’s spreading one of his own: that there’s any chance of genuinely bipartisan health care legislation reaching his desk this fall. See the rest of the article here.

2. Politico – Conservatives score string of scoops – Michael Calderone and Mike Allen: The right-wing media’s single-minded focus on a handful of targets over the past months and its success in pushing those stories into the mainstream have underscored the sharp divide between traditional news organizations and the bloggers and talk show hosts aggressively pursuing an ideological agenda on-line and on TV and radio. See the rest of the article here.