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Capitol Hill Update: June 3rd, 2013
Schedule: Both chambers are in session this week, and will continue to be for the next three weeks, before heading out of town for a July 4th break.
Legislative Highlight of the Week: The Senate will spend the majority of this week amending and taking a final vote on S. 954, the “Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013,” commonly referred to as the “Farm Bill” sponsored by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). FreedomWorks strongly opposes this legislation. Roughly 80% of the bill is food stamp programs such as SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The food stamp program essentially functions as an $80 billion-per-year earmark to convince urban Democrats to vote for agriculture subsidies. Read more HERE.
Senate/Entitlements: Sen. Ron Johnson will be proposing a Motion to Recommit to the Farm Bill that would separate food stamps from the agricultural components of the bill. FreedomWorks will be offering a Key Vote in favor of this motion, and you can Take Action and tell your Senators to support Sen. Johnson’s effort to separate the food stamp program into its own bill.
House/Entitlements: Congressmen Paul Brown has proposed a similar measure to Sen. Johnson’s to the House version of the farm bill, the “Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013.” This would also separate food stamps from the farm bill, and will likely be offered as an amendment to the main bill. FreedomWorks strongly supports this bill.
House/Agriculture: Congressmen Ron Kind (D-WI) and Tom Petri (R-WI) have introduced H.R. 1995, the “Assisting Family Farmers through Insurance Reform Measures (AFFIRM) Act” to reform the crop insurance program that has had a notorious history of overly generous subsidies to well off farmers. This legislation, amount other things, limits the amount of subsidy payments to an individual, creates an income threshold for receiving crop insurance subsidies, lowers government’s guaranteed company profitability, and insures the riskiest policies are not passed on to taxpayers. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this legislation will save taxpayers $11 billion over ten years. FreedomWorks endorses this bill, which seeks fiscal responsibility and a more common sense approach to crop insurance.
House/Spending: This week the House will vote on two appropriation bills, H.R. 2216, the “Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act” and H.R. 2217, the “Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act” Out of the three Defense-related appropriations bills the House intends to only allow $4 billion in sequester cuts, while the remaining $72 billion in cuts will come from other appropriation bills. This is part of the House’s emphasis on Defense over other discretionary spending.
House/IRS Scandal: On Tuesday, the House Ways and Means committee will have a hearing on, “Organizations Targeted by Internal Revenue Service for Their Personal Beliefs” at 10 AM. The hearing will include six witnesses from various tea party and conservative groups who will share their testimony. Also on Tuesday, the Inspector General will be releasing a report on excessive spending at IRS conferences in the past three years. The House Oversight Committee will hold a hearing on the report on Thursday. You can Take Action and tell Congress to Investigate the IRS.
House/Privacy: Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) has introduced the “Stopping Government Abuse of Taxpayer Information Act”, H.R. 2022. This bill addresses the massive new database that will be used to share sensitive information between information in order to help implement ObamaCare. The bill would prevent the IRS and other agencies from moving forward with implementing ObamaCare until they certified that adequate new protections have been take with regard to preventing the sharing of personal information and the targeting of individuals and organizations base upon political preference.
Senate/Privacy: Senator Rand Paul has introduced the 4th Amendment Protection Act, S. 1037. This bill would make explicit that our rights to avoid unwarranted search and seizure, enshrined in the 4th Amendment, extend to the digital realm as well. This would require law enforcement and national security agencies to obtain a warrant before collecting information on email, social media, and any other online communications. FreedomWorks supports this bill, and you can read our letter of support HERE.