Capitol Building

Morning Action: House Works on Budget, Senate on Unemployment Insurance

UI.  The Senate resumes consideration of a bill that is expected to be the legislative vehicle for an extension of emergency unemployment insurance benefits (sub. req’d).

RYAN BUDGET. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) N/A% is confident the GOP will rally behind his budget despite containing a spending increase (sub. req’d):

The budget deal (PL 113-67) he negotiated last year “was a small, narrow agreement which brought those discretionary spending levels and paid for them with mandatory savings,” the Wisconsin Republican said Tuesday, while his 10-year budget blueprint “is a much bigger picture in that this shows a path to balancing the budget. This shows comprehensive reforms to government programs that are going bankrupt.” Assuming no House Democrat votes for the plan, as has been the case in recent years, the GOP needs at least two-thirds of the 62 Republicans, most of them conservatives, who opposed the budget deal last December to get enough votes to pass the plan. The House budget resolution preserves the adjusted, fiscal 2015 discretionary spending levels that many conservatives objected to in the budget deal. Ryan’s budget then rapidly resets discretionary spending levels, slashing $791 billion from nondefense discretionary programs over the next nine years and scaling up defense spending.

UKRAINE. Congress is likely to pause on passing any further Ukraine legislation (sub. req’d):

Congress appears to be done for now with any further legislation related to the Ukraine crisis, following Tuesday evening’s House vote sending a Ukraine aid and Russia sanctions bill to President Barack Obama, lawmakers and aides say. But the limited scope of the bill (HR 4152) giving Ukraine $1 billion in loan guarantees and imposing limited sanctions against Moscow — and a related measure (S 2183) that Congress cleared Tuesday on U.S. government broadcasting to Ukraine and its neighbors — leaves lawmakers deeply divided over what Congress and the Obama administration should do next to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin.

CHARTER SCHOOLS.  A bipartisan measure to address federal involvement in charter schools is expected to be unveiled soon, and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) said the House may move the bill in the spring (sub. req’d):

Bipartisan House education leaders on Tuesday unveiled a bill to overhaul federal support for and regulation of charter schools, a measure advocates are optimistic can become law before the end of this session of Congress. Rep. John Kline (R-MN) 54%, and Rep. George Miller (D-CA), their parties’ leaders on the Education and the Workforce Committee, said the measure would combine two existing federal charter school programs, loosen some program requirements and authorize $300 million for the program from fiscal 2015 through 2020. “Charter schools play an integral part in our public education system,” Miller said in a statement. “In many ways, these innovative schools have been teaching us what is possible when it comes to educating kids — and the work of charter schools helps break down many of the stereotypes that often plague kids who happen to be from the wrong zip code.”

TEACHERS UNIONS.  Meanwhile, teachers unions will descend upon Capitol Hill to pressure Congress to take their views into consideration (sub. req’d):

The nation’s largest teachers’ union Wednesday will hold a rare daylong education event at the Capitol to ensure teachers’ voices are taken into consideration as education funding and testing standards are debated. The timing of the event coincides with consideration of legislation (HR 4172) backed by the union that would reduce the number of federally mandated standardized tests. It will also give teachers an opportunity to make clear their opposition to the fiscal 2015 budget proposal released Tuesday by House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis. The event is a chance “to stand up, to speak out, to define the importance of public education,” National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel said in an interview.

It seems the onus is on them to prove whether their contributions have helped or harmed children.

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An extension of emergency unemployment benefits would harm workers and taxpayers.

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