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2. House/Senate/Schedule: The House will be in session for the next two weeks and then go back to their districts for a week. The Senate will be in session for the next four weeks.
3. Senate/Agenda: The Senate will continue working on the Small Business Innovation Research Bill (SBIR) this week. This is the third month that the Senate has worked on this bill. It is unclear if Harry Reid will invoke closure on the bill and allow amendment votes or if he will pull the bill from the floor. Here is a list of the amendments we are supporting: http://www.freedomworks.org/files/SBIR.pdf and http://www.freedomworks.org/files/Amendment197.pdf
After the SBIR bill, the Senate will likely work on a bill reauthorizing the Patriot Act, which has provisions expiring at the end of the month that Reid will try to extend reportedly for several years.
4. Senate/Budget: The Senate will need to start working on the FY2012 budget. Senate Democrats have failed to introduce their own FY2012 budget resolution, violating the statutory deadline. Republican Senators Paul and Toomey both are offering alternative FY2012 budgets. However, it is unclear whether the Senate will only hold votes on President Obama’s budget and the House passed Ryan Budget, or if they will allow votes on Senate alternatives.
5. Senate/House/Debt Ceiling: The debt ceiling debate will be the biggest budget battle of the year. Several Republicans have publically stated that they will not support raising the debt ceiling. Senator Lee has stated that he will filibuster any legislation that increases the debt ceiling unless a balance budget amendment is passed. Rep. Connie Mack has also announced that he will not vote for increasing the debt ceiling unless an amendment is offered that balances the budget within the decade. He is going to be introducing legislation that puts a statutory cap on spending to help rein in spending and reduce our debt.
The Republican Study Committee is currently drafting a letter to House leadership detailing what they want in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. They are asking for suggestions.
6. House/Health Care: This week the House will be working on two health care related bills. The first, H.R. 1213 would repeal mandatory funding provided to states in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to establish American Health Benefit Exchanges. CBO estimates this bill will save $14 billion over 10 years. See the blog post Dean Clancy wrote on this fund: http://www.freedomworks.org/blog/dean-clancy/discovered-an-unlimited-obamacare-slush-fund
The second bill being considered is H.R. 1214, which would repeal mandatory funding for school-based health center construction. This is a fund that provides Federal government money for local school construction, which is a local/state issue, thereby getting the federal government involved in local decisions. 7. House/Energy: On Thursday, the House will consider the first of several resource bills. The Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act (H.R. 1230) would establish statutory deadlines for sales of certain oil and gas leases in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). CBO estimates that enacting this legislation would reduce net direct spending by $25 million over the 2011-2016 period and about $40 million over the 2011-2021 period. The House will then possibly consider H.R.1129: Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act this week, which would amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to facilitate the production of American energy resources from the Gulf of Mexico. Next week, the House will consider H.R.1231, which would reverse President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act and amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to require that each 5-year offshore oil and gas leasing program offer leasing in the areas with the most prospective oil and gas resources and would establish a domestic oil and natural gas production goal.
The Republican Study Committee is writing a more comprehensive package that will incorporate the above resource bills and expand them to address raising gas prices that are a result of government barriers to the market.
8. House/Committees: The Committee on Energy and Commerce will be having a hearing on Tuesday on White House transparency, visitor logs and lobbyists, particularly as it applies to discussions had with special interested during the ObamaCare fight. The hearing will examine the Administration’s policies on transparency and lobbyist access to the Executive Branch. On Wednesday, they will have a hearing on the role of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in America’s energy future.
9. House/Sunset Caucus: The Sunset Caucus is asking for cosponsors for legislation what would prohibit USAID from spending taxpayer funds of the Development Innovation Venture. The program currently contributes more than $30 million a year to the deficit and duplicates research and development work of the Energy Department.
10. House/Member Initiative: Rep. Michael Grimm has introduced H.R.1549, which would amend the Internal Revenue code to repeal the unearned income medicare contribution—a new ObamaCare payroll tax.