This Week in Washington - September 19, 2011

The President will be making a speech today from the Rose Garden (echoes of Carter?) mapping out proposed savings of $3 trillion over the next 10 years.  According to the AP, the President’s new plan contains an old idea — massive tax increases:


$1.5 trillion in new revenue, which would include about $800 billion realized over 10 years from repealing the Bush-era tax rates for couples making more than $250,000. It also would place limits on deductions for wealthy filers and end certain corporate loopholes and subsidies for oil and gas companies. 

The President is going to propose his deficit reduction plan for the Super Committee heavy on tax increases and light on actual cuts.  According to Politico, “$1 trillion in savings would be achieved by winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”  Another accounting gimmick used to is to count $430 billion in savings from lower interest payments as a debt savings.  The Senate is going to attempt to reauthorize another welfare program for those supposedly displaced by free trade agreements called TAA.  The House is going to commence the process of getting a continuing resolution passed to keep the federal government running after September 30.  The Super Committee will meet again.   

On Tuesday, the House will consider 5 suspension bills:  H.R. 2005 (Legislation dealing with Autism), H.R. 1852 (Legislation dealing with “Children’s Hospital GME Support), H.R. 2646 (a veterans health care measure);  H.R. 2944 – (U.S. Parole Commission Reauthorization); and, H.R. 2189 (Death in Custody Reporting).

On Wednesday and the balance of the week, the House is expected to consider three suspension bills and two bills under a rule.  The three suspension bills include: S.Con.Res. 28 (A concurrent resolution authorizing the use of Emancipation Hall in the Capitol Visitor Center for an event to award the Congressional Gold Medal);  H.R. 2943 (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Extension – TANF); and, H.R. 2883 (Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act).  The bills to be considered under the regular order are a continuing resolution, H.J.Res. 79 and a regulatory transparency and scoring bill H.R. 2401 .


Conservatives are researching whether the TANF bill reauthorizes a provision in the President’s Stimulus bill that partial repealed the 1996 welfare reform bill.  The ’96 welfare reform measure removed an incentive for states to add people to the enrollment list for the purposes of securing more money from the federal government.  The potential reauthorization a welfare reform gutting provision should be considered in any debate to reauthorize TANF.

Markups are scheduled to be held in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Foreign Affairs, and Judiciary CommitteeThe Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, the Super Committee, is scheduled to have a hearing on “Revenue Options and Reforming the Tax Code.”  Expect the President’s ideas on tax increases to get an airing at the Thursday hearing. 

The Senate is scheduled debate a motion to proceed to H.R. 2832, a trade preference bill, that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid intends on using as a vehicle to carry Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) over to the House.  As Daniel Horowitz of Red State explains, “the TAA is a subsidy program created in 1962, which arbitrarily rewards job training, relocation allowances, loans, grants, and unemployment pay to workers who supposedly lost jobs from FTAs.” 

The Senate Finance Committee has a hearing on tax reform options.  Senate Appropriations subcommittees will markup the Transportation-HUD and Labor-HHS-Education approps measures.  Markups are scheduled in the Senate EPW Committee, Homeland Security, Commerce and Judiciary


Conservatives need to watch the Super Committee to see if they are predisposed to adopt the tax increasing ideas of President Obama.  Also, it will be interesting to see if House Republicans have the fight in the belly to use the continuing resolution for more spending cuts.  In the Senate, conservatives need to watch the TAA debate to see if Congress will terminate a program that duplicates other job assistance programs for the unemployed.


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