Morning Action: Budget Deal Means More Spending, Higher Fees
BUDGET. While some are claiming that the budget deal struck by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) N/A% and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) 7% is a “good deal” and a “modest achievement,” Heritage Action CEO Mike Needham explains why the budget deal is a step backward and why going through the motions of “putting aside differences” and compromising is a “tough sell back home” when the deal produced means “increasing spending, increasing fees and offering up another round of promises waiting to be broken”:
- First, it represents an immediate increase in federal spending…
- Second, the deal includes higher user fees on air travel and customs…
- Third, the deal relies upon promises of future cuts that the demise of the sequester vividly illustrates cannot be counted on…
What the deal really demonstrates, however, is the continued power of the third party in Washington — appropriators. These members, some Democrat and others Republican, forced the Party of Reagan to throw away spending cuts that could have been used as leverage for serious entitlement reforms or simply kept as savings for the hard-working American taxpayer.
CQ reports that the budget deal will face tough votes (sub. req’d):
The modest budget agreement announced Tuesday night faces potentially tough votes as early as Friday in the House. While House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan said GOP leaders and committee chairmen back the deal, some conservatives are likely to reject it because spending levels bust the caps set in the 2011 Budget Control Act. Democratic leaders may also have to pressure members of their caucus upset about provisions in the pact that would increase contributions paid by federal workers into their own pensions.
OBAMACARE. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has asked for an investigation of HealthCare.gov:
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a blog post early Wednesday that she is asking the department’s inspector general to investigate the contracting process, management, performance and payment issues that may have contributed to the flawed launch of HealthCare.gov.
The announcement comes as Sebelius heads to Capitol Hill for another round of grilling Wednesday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Lawmakers want explanations for dozens of questions about the website’s design, workability and security. They also want to know why Sebelius and other top officials repeatedly assured them everything was on track.
Firefighters and other first responders in Michigan will face cuts in their hours due to new regulations under Obamacare, WPBN-MI reports.
Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department Chief Pat Parker said he did not know where he would find the estimated $70,000 to pay the health insurance costs for his seven part time employees. The Affordable Care Act mandates that employers must offer health insurance to part-time employees working 30 hours or more per week.
FARM BILL. Farm bill conferees announced officially Tuesday afternoon that they will not have the farm bill agreement done this year (sub. req’d). House leaders may vote on a one-month extension this year while Senate Democrats insisted they will not do the same:
The lead farm bill conferees made it official late Tuesday afternoon: They won’t have the legislation finished until January but won’t move a short-term extension before the end of the year, either.
After an hour-long meeting of the “Big Four” negotiators, Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow said they were aiming to have a final conference committee meeting in early January “and move very quickly to pass the bill.”
House Agriculture Chairman Frank D. Lucas said he would file a bill later Tuesday to extend existing farm programs until Jan. 31, but he indicated it was primarily a safety measure to consider in January in case the talks bog down.
OBAMA. President Obama’s approval rating is down to 42 percent.
Heritage Action in the News
CBS News reports:
Heritage Action, the advocacy arm of the Heritage Foundation think tank issued a statement Monday saying they “cannot support a budget deal that would increase spending in the near-term for promises of woefully inadequate long-term reductions. While imperfect, the sequester has proven to be an effective tool in forcing Congress to reduce discretionary spending, and a gimmicky, spend-now-cut-later deal will take our nation in the wrong direction.”
Fox News reports:
Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks and Heritage Action previously came out against any plan that increases spending. These groups are particularly influential in the House, where many sitting Republican members won election with their help.
National Journal reports:
“Though conservatives support more spending restraint, the discretionary spending limits defined in the Budget Control Act represent a promise to the American people to marginally slow the growth of government,” says the letter, which is signed by Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, and American Conservative Union chairman Al Cardenas, among others.
The Hill reports:
Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham penned a USA Today Op-Ed on Wednesday denouncing the pact sealed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).
The group does not like the fact that spending cuts are shifted to later years and that user fees on aviation go offset non-aviation costs.
“What the deal really demonstrates, however, is the continued power of the third party in Washington — appropriators. These members, some Democrat and others Republican, forced the Party of Reagan to throw away spending cuts that could have been used as leverage for serious entitlement reforms or simply kept as savings for the hard-working American taxpayer,” Needham wrote.
LA Times reports:
Pressure on Republican senators was coming not only from conservative groups, including Heritage Action and FreedomWorks, but from conservative candidates who are challenging incumbents in 2014 primary races.