Morning Action: “What Conservatives Want”
WINNING. Heritage Action CEO Michael A. Needham writes in National Review today that conservatives are concerned with more than just winning elections. We are also intent upon winning policy victories the rest of the year in Washington:
Party strategists in Washington throw around the phrase as though it were some brilliant political insight. It’s not. Most Americans learned this concept in elementary-school civics. The reason party strategists invoke a concept most Americans learned well before they could vote is to frame politics as a binary choice only about elections. As Kevin Williamson put it recently on NRO, “Which side are you on?”
So let me join the chorus: Of course it’s critical we win elections.
But winning elections isn’t sufficient. As the founder of the Heritage Foundation, Edwin J. Feulner, explained in a speech shortly after Ronald Reagan won the presidency, conservatives also must win in the realm of policy. Put another way, political power should not be viewed as an end in and of itself, but rather the means to achieve the policy outcomes that will save the country.
UI. A retroactive extension of emergency unemployment insurance benefits would prolong unemployment for many Americans and harm taxpayers. Though the Senate voted to limit debate on the unemployment benefits extension measure, disagreements on amendments are delaying the process yet again (sub. req’d):
The Senate voted 61-38 to cut off debate on a substitute proposal to a bill (HR 3979) that would extend an expanded unemployment insurance program for five months. But even before cloture had been agreed to, a skirmish over amendments threatened to put the brakes back on the bill.
The conflict over amendments intensified on Wednesday as GOP senators made repeated request to consider their proposals throughout the day — which were met with Democratic objections.
Reid had previously filled the amendment tree, a procedural move that prevents senators from calling up other amendments while those are pending.
the cynically complex nature of Obamacare should cause lawmakers to question whether simply tweaking the destructive employer mandate will achieve the desired results. As Sherk alsonoted:
Many employers will forgo providing health benefits and dump workers onto the government health care exchanges. Doing so will incur a $2,000 penalty per full-time worker—far less than the cost of health premiums but still a $1 per hour increase in full-time employment costs.
By moving the employer mandate threshold to 40-hours, H.R. 2575 could put a whole new class of people into the scenario described above. The question for lawmakers is whether this replacement will really make things better for hardworking Americans. On that, the answer is anything but clear as employers could respond to the new rules by shifting even more employees onto the Obamacare exchanges.
IMMIGRATION. House Democrats forced a floor vote on their amnesty bill (sub. req’d):
Freshman Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA) 11%, used an all-day markup convened by the Budget committee to force the roll call vote on the Democrats’ immigration legislation. Cardenas offered the text of the immigration bill as an amendment to Ryan’s proposed 2015 budget.
“This is the only amendment that would create jobs and reduce the deficit in one amendment,” Cardenas argued.
Rep. Ryan joined 20 Republicans in voting down the amendment while 15 Democrats voted for it.