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Capitol Hill Update, 11 March, 2013

Capitol Hill Update, March 11-15, 2013

House & Senate Schedule: The House and Senate are both in session today, and will remain in D.C. for the next two weeks. Both bodies will go on Spring recess for two weeks beginning the 22nd of March.

Legislative Highlight of the Week: The Continuing Resolution (CR), H.R. 933, will come to a vote sometime this week in the Senate. The House passed its own $982 billion CR late last week (including emergency spending it comes to over $1.1 trillion). The Senate version of the bill is thought to be at the same funding level as the House bill but with several departments’ appropriations included. The current CR will expire on March 27th, and this new CR would continue funding the federal government through the end of the 2013 fiscal year, September 30th.

Senate/Health Care: Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) have proposed an amendment to the aforementioned Continuing Resolution which would delay funding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) until the economy returns to an average level of growth.  Effectively, this would stop the implementation of ObamaCare for the foreseeable future.  FreedomWorks will be scoring any vote on this amendment on our Congressional Scorecard (you can read the Key Vote notice HERE).

Senate/Budget: On Wednesday and Thursday the Senate Budget Committee will mark up its budget for fiscal year 2014. If the budget is actually passed it would be the first time in nearly 4 years the Senate has bothered to do so. For over 1400 days the Senate has refused to pass a budget as required by law. While the details of this budget have yet to be released, talk on the Hill is that the Democratic budget proposal may contain a massive tax increase, and will not be a serious balanced budget.

House/Budget: On Wednesday, the House Budget Committee is also marking up its own budget for the 2014 fiscal year. Members are set to vote upon a budget resolution next week. The budget will likely be a slightly modified version of the Ryan budgets of the past two years, except that this one will actually balance the budget in ten years – a notable improvement.  More details on that plan should be available Tuesday.

House/Welfare: This Wednesday, the House will vote on the “Preserving Work Requirements for Welfare Programs Act of 2013,” H.R. 890.  Last year, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a letter declaring that states could opt out of the requirement that welfare recipients must have a job in order to receive welfare payments.  The work requirement was a key component of the crucial welfare reform of 1996, and this bill would simply overrule HHS and reinstate that requirement.

House/Job Training: On Thursday and Friday, the House will consider the “Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act,” H.R. 803, introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (NC-5). The bill would streamline the wasteful network of federal job training programs and give states more control over how the money for these programs is spent. Currently there are over forty unique job training programs scattered across the agencies of the federal government, and most of them overlap to some extent, wasting untold amounts of taxpayers’ dollars. FreedomWorks has issued a letter in support of the SKILLS Act, which you can read HERE.

House/Right to Work: Representative Steve King (IA-4) has introduced the National Right to Work Act, H.R. 946, which would allow workers the freedom to choose whether they wish to join a union, and would disallow compulsory union dues. More than 8 million Americans in 24 states currently work in shops where they have no choice but to join their union, whether they agree with how that union represents them or not. You can read FreedomWorks’ Letter in Support of H.R. 946, HERE.