Capitol Hill Update, 28 April, 2014
House & Senate/Schedule: Both chambers are back after a two-week recess. They will stay in D.C. for two weeks and recess next for the week of May 12th.
Legislative Highlight of the Week: This week it appears that the Senate will finally bring the minimum wage increase to the floor, after months of talking about it. S. 2223, sponsored by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), would not only raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour (from its current $7.25). Furthermore, the minimum wage would be permanently indexed to inflation. A February CBO report demonstrated that raising the minimum wage would likely cause hundreds of thousands of lost jobs, as businesses are forced to pay their unskilled workers far more than the market can support. FreedomWorks opposes any increase in the minimum wage on economic principle.
House/Spending: Having passed a budget before the recess, the House is moving to appropriations bills, starting with Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, H.R. 4486. Total spending under this bill as it stands would be $165 billion – $93.5 billion in mandatory spending (mostly for veterans’ benefits), and $71.5 billion in discretionary spending. There will be an open amendment process for this bill, which means that dozens of amendments may see a vote on Wednesday.
House/Spending: The House will also consider the Legislative Branch funding bill, H.R. 4487. This bill contains the spending for the operations of the House only, including individual Members’ office budgets and salaries, as well as legislative agencies such as the Library of Congress and the Congressional Budget Office. Traditionally, the House and Senate each pass their own budget bills, to be sent to the other chamber for approval.