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Capitol Hill Update, 27 January, 2014
House & Senate/Schedule: Both chambers are in session this week. The House will only be in town through Wednesday, while the Senate will be in town continuously through Presidents’ Day (Feb 17th).
State of the Union Address: On Tuesday evening, President Obama will give the annual State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress. He is expected to focus on his divisive message of income inequality, and to declare his intent to make law through executive order if Congress does not act. FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe will deliver a “pre-buttal” to the President at 8:45 on live.freedomworks.org, and afterwards you can watch the SOTU streaming online and join us on our live chat room.
House/Farm Bill: The Farm Bill has been trapped in conference as House and Senate members hashed out their differing version of the bill. It is possible that the conference could report a bill and that it could receive a final vote in the House as soon as this Wednesday. Reports are that there will be almost nothing in the way of reforms to the Farm Bill, and that it will be a five-year extension. The food stamps and corporate welfare subsidies contained in this bill will cost over a trillion dollars over ten years. FreedomWorks will oppose the bill.
House/ObamaCare: The House Committee on Ways and Means will be holding a hearing at 10 AM on Tuesday, January 28th on how ObamaCare’s 30-hour rule and employer mandates are hurting businesses and reducing job creation. Because ObamaCare fines businesses who have over 50 employees working more than 30 hours per week, many businesses are cutting employee hours (or just employees) in order to avoid the fines.
Senate/Flood Insurance: The Senate will finally consider their bill to delay reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), S. 1926. Under a bill passed in 2012, flood insurance premiums were scheduled to be adjusted according to redrawn floodplain maps, so that homeowners in high-risk flood areas would have to pay higher premiums (as would be the case if the insurance policies were being offered in a free market). This bill would delay these reforms, which will put taxpayers on the hook for a much larger amount when these high-risk areas inevitably flood again. NFIP is already $20 billion in debt to taxpayers, and will incur tens of billions more in debt if it is not seriously reformed.