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  • House and Senate Cloakroom: February 28 - March 4, 2011

    House Cloakroom

    Analysis: The House returns next week from the Presidents’ Day recess to tackle a shortened two week Continuing Resolution (CR) package unveiled on Friday that includes more than $4 billion in spending cuts. HR 1, passed in the House on February 12th, cut spending by $61 billion for the remainder of the fiscal year, but the Senate has refused to take up the package and, in general, refused to get serious about making significant spending reductions in any kind of bill. According to the House Appropriations Committee, the short term CR will be on the floor on Tuesday and will include cuts suggested in the Obama administration’s Fiscal 2012 budget terminating eight programs for a total of $1.24 billion as well as remaining earmarks in a CR bill passed in December totaling $2.7 billion. The current bill funding the government expires on Friday, March 4th.  See this to strip through all the rhetoric in the budget cutting numbers.

    Major Floor Action:

    • Continuing Resolution – Current bill funding the government expires on Friday, March 4th. This measure would be an extension of two weeks.

    Major Committee Action:

    • The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a full committee hearing on the “Impact of Health Care Overhaul on Medicaid and the States”.
    • The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Health Care, District of Columbia, Census and the National Archives will hold a hearing on “DC School Voucher Program Oversight”.
    • The House Financial Services Committee will hold a full committee hearing on “Government Sponsored Enterprises Overhaul”.
    • The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing on “EPA Greenhouse Gas Regulations and Jobs”.
    • The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit will hold a hearing on the “Effect of Dodd-Frank on Small Businesses”

    Senate Cloakroom

    Analysis:

    After a week away from DC, the Senate returns with only five days left before funding for the government expires on Friday, March 4. Senator Reid and his colleagues refused to consider the House passed version of the Continuing Resolution (CR); and, instead Reid is pushing for the Senate to pass a one month extension of the CR at current spending levels to give both chambers more time to compromise. Speaker Boehner has stated repeatedly that any short-term extension should include spending cuts.  Sadly, instead of looking for real budget cuts, Senator Reid and company seems focused on criticizing the House passed version of the CR.

    On Monday, instead of beginning debate on the CR on the Senate floor, Senator Reid has indicated that he will take up the Patent Reform Act and hold votes on several judicial nominees.

    Major Floor Action:

    • S. 23: The Patent Reform Act of 2011
    • The Senate version of the CR

    Major Committee Action:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to House and Senate Cloakroom: February 28 - March 4, 2011

    1. OhioHistorian says:

      Wow, $4billion now and $61billion earlier. Pretty soon we'll get up to the point where we'll cut a WHOLE DAY of spending off from the Obama $3.5 trillion expenditures this year. Would be nice if we would even see 1% of the DEFICIT for the year, which would mean about $160billion to cut just 1%.

      Sorry, just can't be breathless about cuts with a scalpel when a cleaver is required.

    2. George Colgrove, VA says:

      John F. Kennedy (Democrat):

      "If Government is to retain the confidence of the people, it must not spend more than can be justified on grounds of national need or spent with maximum efficiency."

      The American people have no confidence in the federal government. Congress is unwilling to take the serious measures it needs to to solve the nation's crippling debt problem. We spend at all cost with no consideration to efficency and even less consideration to where the money will come from to pay for the mess. We will be inching closer to the end of FY11 with continuing resolutions after continuing resolutions – with countless threats of shutdowns and even bigger deficits – why? So the feds can keep this scam going. Way too many people are making big sums of money off the backs of the struggling taxpayer. People who are finding out, they have been screwed by that federal government. We have no more money. Lets stop with all the side show dramas and get to work. We can not afford not to.

    3. George Colgrove, VA says:

      Here is what JFK (Democrat) had to say about federal spending and taxation.

      Pres. Kennedy:

      “Our true choice is not between tax reduction, on the one hand, and the avoidance of large Federal deficits on the other. It is increasingly clear that, no matter what party is in power, so long as our national security needs keep rising, an economy hampered by restrictive tax rates will never produce enough revenue to balance the budget – just as it will never produce enough jobs or enough profits.

      "In short, it is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low – and the soundest way to raise revenues in the long run is to cut rates now.”

      Pres. Kennedy:

      "The most direct and significant kind of Federal action aiding economic growth is to make possible an increase in private consumption and investment demand – to cut the fetters which hold back private spending. In the past, this could be done in part by the increased use of credit and monetary tools, but our balance of payments situation today places limits on our use of those tools for expansion. It could also be done by increasing Federal expenditures more rapidly than necessary, but such a course would soon demoralize both the Government and our economy. If Government is to retain the confidence of the people, it must not spend more than can be justified on grounds of national need or spent with maximum efficiency."

      While Kennedy was in office the national debt was hovering around $290 billion (or a little over 50% if the GDP at the time).

      Pres. Kennedy:

      "I am not talking about a "quickie" or a temporary tax cut, which would be more appropriate if a recession were imminent. Nor am I talking about giving the economy a mere shot in the arm, to ease some temporary complaint. I am talking about the accumulated evidence of the last 5 years that our present tax system, developed as it was, in good part, during World War II to restrain growth, exerts too heavy a drag on growth in peace time; that it siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power; that it reduces the financial incentives for personal effort, investment, and risk-taking.

      "In short, to increase demand and lift the economy, the Federal Government's most useful role is not to rush into a program of excessive increases in public expenditures, but to expand the incentives and opportunities for private expenditures."

      Kennedy was no Keynesian theorist. Kennedy was referring to the burdens of FDR and the damage FDR had on the economy. His desire was to reverse that – not by pointless and useless federal spending, but rather getting as much capital into the market – so that the market could fix it naturally.

      Finally when addressing what congress should do in crafting spending and tax legislation:

      Pres. Kennedy:

      "First, it should reduce the net taxes by a sufficiently early date and a sufficiently large amount to do the job required. Early action could give us extra leverage, added results, and important insurance against recession. Too large a tax cut, of course, could result in inflation and insufficient future revenues – but the greater danger is a tax cut too little or too late to be effective.

      Second, the new tax bill must increase private consumption as well as investment. Consumers are still spending between 92 and 94 percent of their after-tax income. But that after-tax income could and should be greater, providing stronger markets for the products of American industry. When consumers purchase more goods, plants use more of their capacity, men are hired instead of laid off, investment increases and profits are high.

      Corporate tax rates must also be cut to increase incentives and the availability of investment capital. The Government has already taken major steps this year to reduce business tax liability and to stimulate the modernization, replacement, and expansion of our productive plant and equipment. We have done this through the 1962 investment tax credit and through the liberalization of depreciation allowances – two essential parts of our first step in tax revision which amounted to a 10 percent reduction in corporate income taxes worth $2.5 billion. Now we need to increase consumer demand to make these measures fully effective – demand which will make more use of existing capacity and thus increase both profits and the incentive to invest. In fact, profits after taxes would be at least 15 percent higher today if we were operating at full employment.

      For all these reasons, next year's tax bill should reduce personal as well as corporate income taxes, for those in the lower brackets, who are certain to spend their additional take-home pay, and for those in the middle and upper brackets, who can thereby be encouraged to undertake additional efforts and enabled to invest more capital."

      If the RINO republicans want to listen to and comply with a democrat – why not listen to and comply with this one!

    4. dennis Georgia says:

      It is all about meetings, not about the deficit nor the American people. The senate is a useless bunch of dems, and reid is "king" goat. Congress needs to get down to the business of the people, by the people, and for the people. It is not bsiness just for the members of this house and senate in ruins.

    5. Gary Richardson, LaV says:

      When are we going to really do some cutting in the budget. 60 billion is nothing, cut everything !

    6. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Interesting Glenn Beck mentioned the importance of Patent Law for the uniquely American success story. I am suspicious of SB 23, rather than simplifying Patent Law the Director has been given lots of latitude to create whatever policies the Director wants. Sure, it gives the little guy some relief from Patent Fees but every time the Demolition Plutocrats rewrite our Laws they throw away years of Administrative Expertise. We all know that Patent Attorneys cost impossible amounts of money, so now that we have wasted the Knowledge they used to have with another total Rewrite of Law? There is no net savings for American Citizens.

      The opportunity to simplify Patent Law is hereby squandered with another damned Demo-crat Omnibus Bill. Surely there is nothing left to rewrite! Haven't the Democrats rewritten every scrap of American Law? And don't forget all the Overcriminalized stuff! Can't the Democrats do anything simple, transparent and workable?

    7. Pingback: ~ JUST IN ~ Daily News Digest {Early Edition} for February 28, 2011 | Just Piper

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