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PODCAST: Hill Update for the week of July 25, 2011

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1.      FreedomWorks: We handed out our letter supporting Rep. Mack’s (R-FL) H.R.1848: “One Percent Spending Reduction Act.” We also handed out Kibbe’s Forbes article, “If Not Now, When Will the Wasteful Government Spending Cease?”
2.      House/Senate/Schedule: The House and Senate will remain in session until at least August 5th, with possible weekend sessions, until the debt limit issue is resolved.
3.      House/Agenda: The House agenda will be determined by the debt ceiling debate. House leadership will try to get another bill over to the Senate before the Senate sends  bill over to the House.  The House will also work on an energy bill, a jobs bill, and an appropriations bill for the Department of Interior. Later in the week, the House will likely vote on a debt bill and possibly also a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
4.      House/Senate/Debt Ceiling: Republican House Leadership is expected to roll out a new 2-part deficit reduction/debt increase plan this afternoon. The first part of this plan will likely include around $1.1 trillion in spending cuts with around a $1 trillion increase in the debt ceiling. The plan would tie any future debt ceiling increase with spending cuts of greater size, and it would also cap spending over a ten year period. The plan also creates a 12-person commission for a Joint Committee whose charge would be to find significant savings and make specific recommendations as to how to reduce the national debt. The second part of the plan would require a vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. Please stay tuned for more information about House Leadership’s debt package.
Meanwhile, in the Senate, Harry Reid and Senate Democrats are working on a dollar for dollar debt ceiling proposal, which would raise the debt ceiling by $2.7 trillion and produce $2.7 trillion in cuts over 10 years. Part of this package will likely be $1 trillion in war savings (from drawdown of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which is already expected), $400 billion in interest savings as a result of incurring less debt, $40 billion in savings from reducing fraud and abuse in entitlements, and $30 billion in Fannie and Freddie reforms.

Many House Republicans are still pushing the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act as the only real solution to our Nation’s debt problems, which is the only plan actually in writing, which has already passed the House with bi-partisan support and received 46 votes in the Senate, and which a CNN poll finds to be supported by 66% of Americans. The Cut, Cap, and Balance Act would cut spending by $111 billion for FY2012, put statutory caps on spending, and require that a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution be passed before the debt ceiling can be raised. Several credit agencies came out over the weekend and said that the United States would still be at risk of losing its AAA bond rating, even if they made significant cuts in spending, unless they also pass a plan that includes long term spending reduction.
5.      House/Spending: On Monday, the House will consider the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for FY2012 (H.R.2584), which includes a total of $19.9 billion in funding for the agencies, nearly $2 billion below last year’s level. The RSC will likely to offer an amendment that would reduce spending by an additional $3 billion.
6.      House/Energy: On Tuesday, the House will consider the North American-Made Energy Security Act (H.R. 1938), which would direct the President to expedite the consideration and approval of the construction and operation of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. This project would allow millions of barrels of Canadian oil supplies to flow into U.S. markets and would more than double the current pipeline’s capacity, bringing more than 1.2 million barrels per day into U.S. markets and creating an estimated 100,000+ American jobs.
7.      House/Jobs: On Tuesday, the House will consider the Small Business Program Extension and Reform Act of 2011 (H.R.2608), which would provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958.
On Wednesday, the House will consider the Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act (H.R. 2587), offered by Freshman Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC). H.R.2587 would prohibit the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from ordering any employer to close, relocate, or transfer employment under any circumstance. This bill is in response to a complaint filed by the NLRB against the Boeing Corporation for its decision to locate a production facility in South Carolina, a “right-to-work” state.  The NLRB is seeking to force the company to keep its production in Washington State, where the workforce is unionized.  
8.      House/Member Initiative: Rep. Justin Amash has introduced a spending limit amendment to the Constitution (H.J.Res.73), which would require that total outlays not exceed the average annual revenue collected in the three prior years. Total outlays include all outlays of the United States except those for payment of debt, and revenue would include all revenue of the United States except that derived from borrowing. It would require three-fourths majority in both chambers to declare an emergency and provide by law for specific outlays in excess of the limit. It would also require all revenue in excess of outlays to go toward paying the US debt.
9.      House/Member Initiative: Rep. Daniel Webster has introduced the Prioritize Spending Act (H.R.2402), which would specify the priority of the obligations of the United States Government if the debt ceiling is reached. It would prioritize paying our debt, paying military personal, and social security and Medicare.
10.  House/Member Initiative: Rep. Steve Southerland is writing a letter to House Leadership urging them to not take up the ‘gang of 6’ debt ceiling plan.
11.  House/Member Initiative: Rep. Trey Gowdy is writing a letter to House Leadership urging them to take up legislation that requires the Treasury Department to prioritize spending in the event that the debt limit is reached, to prevent the debt ceiling from being used as an excuse to default on the debt, cut earned retiree benefits for seniors, or cut troop payments. He is currently looking for Member signatures.    

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