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House/Senate/Schedule: The House is back in session for 2 weeks and may skip their scheduled 7/15-7/25 district work recess. The Senate is staying in session this week rather than going home as originally scheduled and will be in session through August 5th.
Senate/Agenda: The Senate will continue consideration of S. J. Res. 20, the Libya Resolution, with a cloture vote (to end debate) planned for today. If that passes, 30 more hours of debate will precede a vote for final passage. If not, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has not indicated what is next. It is clear it will not be a budget, which the Senate Democrats continue to fail to present, despite the $1.4 trillion deficit.
House/Spending Bills: The House will spend most of this week considering the Department of Defense appropriations bill and associated amendments. As introduced, it spends $530 billion. While it spends less than President Obama requested, it is still the only one of the 12 appropriations bills being introduced that spends more than last year and the Republican Study Committee (RSC) will not be introducing a bill to cut spending in the bill like they are for almost every other spending bill. When “emergency” defense spending is added, the US spends nearly $700 billion on defense, about 18% of the $3.8 trillion federal budget, and more than the next 14 countries combined (In order, China, Britain, France, Russia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Germany, India, Italy, Brazil, South Korea, Australia, Canada, and Turkey), according to the Economist.
House/Spending Bills: The next spending bill up for consideration later this week/early next week will be the Energy and Water Appropriations bill. As it currently stands, it cuts about $1 billion, or 3% from last year’s bill. The RSC will introduce a bill that brings the cut to about 10%.
House/Other: Other bills on the horizon are: i. Flood insurance reauthorization, HR 1309 ii. The 3 Free Trade Agreements <> , which House Leadership has rightly separated from the “Trade Adjustment Assistance” spending program Obama wants to attach to the free trade bills. iii. A Light bulb Freedom bill that would roll back the regulation from last Congress that limited which light bulb we’d be able to buy is moving through the Energy and Commerce Committee.
House/Member Initiative: Reps. Kingston, Jordan and Flake have introduced HR 2041, which would bring federal spending down to 18% of GDP over 5 years, meeting the demands of the Cut, Cap and Balance Pledge you should be asking your Representative and Senators to sign.
House/Member Initiative: Rep. Anne Marie Buerkle (R-NY), who FreedomWorks PAC endorsed last year, has introduced HR 2372, the Just Do Your Job Act of 2011, which would repeal funding for the Budget Committee of either chamber if they fail to meet their responsibility to pass a budget. It has been 796 days since the Democrat-controlled Senate has passed a budget, during which time the Senate Budget Committee has spent over $12 million. The Republican-controlled House Budget Committee passed a budget earlier this year.
House/Member Initiative: Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) will be introducing the A-Plus Act, which would allow states to opt-out of the federal education mandates included in No Child Left Behind.
The Big Picture: Of course, the most important thing going on in Washington is the negotiation over the debt ceiling and its associated issue—whether or not we want to spend the money necessary to maintain the current size of the massive job-killing federal government or if we want to make significant cuts, cap federal spending, and institute a Balanced Budget Amendment to permanently curb Washington’s spending. Which is why we’re pushing hard on the Cut, Cap, and Balance Pledge.