Hill Update, 3/28/2011 from Max Pappas


1.       FreedomWorks: We handed two letters on the Hill today, one supporting Rep. Ron Paul’s Federal Reserve Transparency Act (H.R.459) and the other asking for co-sponsors on the ROAD to Jobs Act (H.R.1409). See: http://www.freedomworks.org/files/RonPaulauditfed.pdf and http://www.freedomworks.org/files/JOBSAct.pdf


2.       House/Senate/Schedule: The House and Senate will be in session for the next three weeks and then go on break for the following two weeks. The next few weeks will be very busy legislatively.


3.       Senate/Agenda: The Senate will be working on the Small Business Innovation Research Reauthorization Act again this week instead of working on the Continuing Resolution (CR)/H.R. 1. Senate Republicans are offering a lot of good amendments to the bill that address spending, budget, and regulatory issues. Here is a link to a letter we sent out in support of some of the amendments being offered (note: it is unknown which amendments, if any, will be allowed): http://www.freedomworks.org/files/SBIR.pdf


 4.       Senate/Balance Budget:  Senators Lee, Kyl, Hatch, Cornyn, Toomey, and Snowe have come together and agreed on a single balanced budget amendment that has components from both the Lee/Kyl BBA and the Hatch/Cornyn BBA. The newest version of the Senate BBA requires that the President submit a balanced budget every year that meets the GDP spending cap. It also requires Congress to pass a balanced budget every year. It caps spending at 18% of the GDP, requires a two-thirds vote in both chambers to pass spending bills that exceed revenue, and also requires two-thirds vote on any tax increases.


5.       House/Committees:

a.       On Wednesday, the Committee on Energy and Commerce will hold a hearing on the true costs of ObamaCare.

b.      The committee will have a vote on the Energy Tax Prevention Act (H.R.910), which would amend the Clean Air Act to prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from promulgating any regulation concerning the emission of a greenhouse gas.  

c.       They will then have a vote of disapproval on Net Neutrality. We will likely see the green house gas and net neutrality bills on the House floor next week.


6.       House/Spending: On Tuesday, the House expects to have a vote on the HAMP Termination Act (H.R. 839), which would terminate the authority of the Secretary of the Treasury to provide new assistance under the Home Affordable Modification Program. HAMP is a $30 billion program that was funded through TARP and instituted to help borrowers who were having a difficult time paying their mortgages. CBO estimates that the savings from terminating this program is $1.4 billion.


7.       House/School Choice: On Wednesday, the House will have a vote on the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act (H.R.471) which would reauthorize the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. The program will provide school vouchers to low-income students in DC. This likely will be the only piece of legislation that Speak Boehner will put his name on this year. It is gaining a lot of support from the local DC government including a majority of the DC council (but not the mayor). FreedomWorks is writing a letter of support on this.


8.       House/FAA: On Thursday and Friday of this week, the House will be working on the FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act (H.R. 658), which will reauthorize the FAA for 4 years. The bill reduces FAA funding to FY2008 levels, which is $498 million less funding than H.R.1 provided. The bill would phase out funding and sunset the Essential Air Service (EAS) Program, providing savings of approximately $400 million over four years. It also would repeals the unionization election rule changes implemented in May 2010, which would ensure that a majority of a workforce must vote in favor of union representation. It includes a plan to privatize airport towers, and has a BRAC for FAA facilities component, which will shut down or consolidate aging FAA facilities. CBO estimates the total savings of the bill at $4 billion over current levels. 


9.       House/Regulation: The week of April 4th will be Regulatory Relief Week in the House. They expect to have House votes on bills that address green house gas regulation and net neutrality, which are moving through committee this week (see above).


10.   House/Budget: The House will start working on the FY2012 budget the week of April 11th. The RSC will be introducing an alternative to the FY2012 budget and is looking for suggestions from outside groups.


11.   House/Member Initiative: Rep. Ted Poe is introducing a resolution (H.Res.173) that would amend the House rules to require an up or down vote on each country that receives aid from the United States.


12.   House/Member Initiative: Rep. Scott Tipton has introduced H.R.1074 to cut corporate, capital gains, and dividend tax rates to 10 percent. He is currently looking for co-sponsors for the bill.


13.   House/Member Initiative: Rep. Kevin Brady is introducing a bill that would fully repeal the death tax.


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