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Capitol Hill Update, 19 March, 2013

FreedomWorks Capitol Hill Update for the Week of March 18th

House & Senate Schedule: The House and Senate are both in session this week but will both be going on spring Spring recess beginning Friday. They will reconvene during the week of April 8th.

Legislative Highlight of the Week: The House budget written by Paul Ryan (R-WI), H.Con.Res. 25, will likely come to a vote in the house this Wednesday. Meant to balance the budget in 10 years, the bill is the official House budget which will stand in contrast to the Senate budget proposed recently by Senator Patty Murray. The budget will maintain post-sequester levels of spending, offer entitlement reform, repeal ObamaCare, block grant food stamps and Medicaid, and offer fundamental tax reform. The Ryan budget holds revenues at their current level while reducing spending by $80 billion in the first year. Over ten years Ryan expects the plan to save $4.633, though the debt will still rise to over $18.8 trillion by 2024. But the biggest knock against Ryan’s budget is that it essentially balances on the back of Obama’s tax hikes, keeping revenues at current levels.

House/Budget: The house Republican Study Committee (RSC) is expected to offer an alternative, conservative budget plan later in the week. The RSC budget will achieve balance in four years, while spending $6.9 trillion less than the CBO’s current projections. The budget also caps discretionary spending to $950 billion until the budget balances in 2017. Defense spending will remain at the same levels as the House Budget Committee proposal.  Debt will be kept a 18.5% of GDP over ten years. The RSC budget does keep the revenue levels generated by the ObamaCare taxes, although like the Ryan budget it does eliminate ObamaCare itself entirely.

Continuing Resolution: Today (Tuesday) the Senate will vote on amendments to an amended version of the Continuing Resolution (CR) passed by the house last week, H.R. 933. Senators will be given the opportunity to bring to a vote any amendments to the bill. Once it is past the Senate, the C.R. will return to the House, which will likely pass the amended version before leaving town this Thursday.  FreedomWorks has issued a Key Vote NO on the C.R. in the Senate, and has already scored against poassing the C.R. in the House.

Senate/Budget: Democratic Senator Patty Murray has proposed the Senate’s budget, S.Con.Res. 8, which will likely see a vote by the end of the week. The bill only reduces debt to 62.3% of GDP while keeping government spending to 19.8% of GDP by the tenth year.This budget increases taxes by nearly $1 trillion over ten years, and never achieves balance.

Senate/Budget Amendments: As part of the budget process, Senators will be allowed to offer any number of amendments that are considered “germane”, which leads to what is popularly called a “vote-a-rama”.  Senators introduce their amendments and are given a minimal amount of time (thirty seconds to a couple of minutes) to pitch their amendment, and then a vote is held. It is expected that several of these amendments will be ones that are worthy of support – stay tuned for more on these later this week.