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1. FreedomWorks: We handed out our Wall Street Journal article “The Medicare Test for President” and a letter asking for members to sign the RSC “Cut, Cap, and Balance” letter to Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor about the upcoming debt ceiling vote. The RSC Reports that they are gathering a lot of signatures for their letter to Leadership. See this and this.
2. House/Senate/Schedule: The Senate will be in session for this week and then go on recess the following week. The House will be in session Monday through Thursday this week and Tuesday through Friday next week. They will then go back to their districts for a week.
3. Senate/Agenda: The Senate will have cloture votes tonight on the PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act of 2011 (S.1038), sponsored by Senators Reid and McConnell. The bill would extend the expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 and the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 until June 1, 2015.
4. Senate/Budget: After April 15, if Congress has not passed a budget, any Senator can move to proceed on any budget resolution. Because of this, on Wednesday we may possibly see Senate votes on the motion to proceed on the Obama, Ryan, Toomey, and Paul 2012 budget resolutions. The motion is privileged (non-debatable) and would be at a 51-vote threshold. We hear Sen. Reid wants a vote on Ryan’s budget because he thinks it will be a good campaign issue to run against.
5. House/Agenda: This week, the House will consider a health care bill (H.R.1216) that will defund mandatory spending in ObamaCare. They will also work on a DoD authorization bill, “the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012” (H.R. 1540), and they will consider a bill that extends provisions in the Patriot Act.
Next week, they will work on an Unemployment Insurance bill from the Committee on Ways and Means and several appropriations bills.
6. House/Health Care: This week the House will be working on H.R.1216, which would rescind any unobligated funds that were appropriated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) for health centers to expand or establish programs that provide training to medical residents. The bill also would amend the Public Health Service Act to make funding for future payments to those centers subject to annual discretionary appropriations, and it would authorize the appropriation of $46 million a year for fiscal years 2012 through 2015 for such payments. CBO estimates that enacting the legislation would decrease direct spending by about $195 million over the 2011-2016 period and by $220 million over the 2011-2021 period.
7. House/Committees: Today, the Committee on Energy and Commerce will be having a hearing on “The American Energy Initiative,” discussing the “North American-Made Energy Security Act,” which would open a Canadian pipeline for oil.
Also this week, the Committee on Energy and Commerce will be having a hearing on “Expanding Health Care Options: Allowing Americans to Purchase Affordable Coverage Across State Lines” and a committee vote on H.R. 1705, the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act of 2011, and the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011.
8. House/Member Initiative: Rep. Tim Scott (SC-4) is introducing two bills dealing with Unions. The Empower Employees Act would prohibit the automatic deduction of union dues from federal employees’ paychecks and the JOBS Protection Act would preserve federal law’s protection of state right-to-work laws. (The companion bill to the Jobs Protection Act is being introduced in the Senate by DeMint, Alexander, Graham)
9. House/Member Initiative: Rep. Tim Huelskamp (KS-1) is writing a letter asking HSS for information about the waivers being given out for ObamaCare. The letter requests that HSS disclose information about who has been denied waivers and who has pending status.
10. House/Member Initiative: Rep. Duncan Hunter has introduced Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act (H.R.1891) which is the first in a planned series of education reforms proposals. The legislation begins the process of weeding out inefficient and unnecessary K-12 education programs. The Education and Workforce Committee has about 4-6 bills planned on Education Reform that will eliminate several educations programs.
11. House/Member Initiative: Rep. Todd Akin is introducing H.R.1908, which would specify the priority of the obligations of the United States Government if the debt ceiling is reached, to provide for an emergency appropriation of funds to pay for certain defense and national security obligations during a gap in funding. It would also limit funding for other programs at 20%.
12. House/Member Initiative: Reps. Jim Jordan and Connie Mack asking for support for the Davis-Bacon Repeal Act (H.R.745).
13. House/Other: The RSC will be hosting a debate on Tuesday May 24 on the issue of debit card fees. There will be a panel discussion outlining both sides of the debate.