Capitol Building

Morning Action: Immigration Debate Begins Today in Senate

IMMIGRATION.  Today the Senate will begin debate on the Gang of Eight amnesty bill (sub. req’d):

The Senate will reconvene at 9:30 a.m. Friday, and begin debate on a bill (S 744) to overhaul the nation’s immigration system. There will be no roll call votes.

Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions is expected to kick off the debate, followed by remarks from the majority party. The legislation would create a gradual path to citizenship for most of the roughly 11 million immigrants currently living in the United States illegally.

The immigration bill debate will continue next week, briefly interrupted for final action on the five-year farm policy bill (S 954), under an agreement reached Thursday.

After the Senate convenes on June 10, Sessions and Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., are expected to speak on the immigration measure until 5 p.m. Senators will then resume consideration of the farm bill.

At 5:30 p.m., senators are expected to voice vote on a Leahy amendment that would set up a pilot grant program to expand ultra-high speed broadband service to rural areas. Then the Senate will vote on final passage of the farm bill.

After the farm bill votes, senators will turn back to immigration. On June 11, the Senate will vote at 2:15 p.m. to limit debate on the motion to proceed to the immigration legislation. If cloture is invoked, senators agreed to vote at 4 p.m. on the motion to proceed to the bill.

FARM BILL. Next week on Monday evening the Senate will vote on final passage of the farm and food stamp bill:

A strong Farm Bill showing in the Senate Thursday clears the way for a final vote on passage Monday evening and puts added pressure on the House to move ahead this month with its own five-year plan to revamp major commodity programs.

The 75-22 roll call easily surpassed the 60-vote threshold needed to invoke cloture. And after all the frustration of the past year, the lopsided margin reflects a renewed determination to get the legislation into a House-Senate conference this summer and try to strike some final compromise.

As we have explained, this bill is bad for consumers and taxpayers.

OBAMACARE.  Ohio health insurance premiums are rising thanks to Obamacare (sub. req’d):

President Barack Obama is heading to California to tout premiums for new health plans that will be sold on the state’s insurance exchange. Ahead of that visit, his officials are getting early incoming fire from officials in Ohio, who say that premiums for their state have jumped dramatically because of the health-care law’s new requirements for richer benefits.

Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, an elected Republican, announced Thursday that regulators in the Buckeye State are looking at proposed premiums for 2014 for individual health insurance plans that will be sold in the state as part of the health law’s marketplace, which the federal government is operating.

For some people in the state, that means hefty increases from what they were paying in 2013, because insurance companies must offer a more generous level of benefits as part of the law and some of the skimpy plans that used to be available will change or go away. The most basic plan that a 25-year-old male could buy in 2013 from one unnamed company cost $29.62 a month, and a 25-year-old female would pay $40.87 for the same plan, according to the Ohio Department of Insurance. That company is proposing to charge $198.64 for its most basic offering for 25-year-olds regardless of sex in 2014, the department said.

INTERNET SALES TAX. One Ohio business owner shares her thoughts about the internet sales tax:

I keep hearing about these projections of how much the state of Ohio loses in taxes on Internet sales. I believe that if the federal Internet sales tax passes, state governments are not going to see even a fraction of what they hope to collect.

I know this because I’m an Internet seller. It is wrong to require sellers to remit taxes to locations in which they have no physical presence.

I believe I’m not alone. There will be many others just like me who will decide to flee the market rather than serve as a tax collector.

– JOAN EVERMAN

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