Morning Action: Waiting for Real Housing Reform? Don’t Look to Johnson-Crapo
HOUSING. Today the Senate Baking Committee has scheduled a markup of a housing finance reform bill sponsored by Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Sen. Michael Crapo (R-ID) 85%. In light of the markup, the Heritage Foundation explains the bill’s many flaws:
Given that close to 100 percent of the U.S. mortgage market is now backed by the federal government, it is good that Congress is tackling reform. Unfortunately, the approach being taken in the Johnson–Crapo bill would ensure that U.S. mortgage markets are slightly remodeled rather than completely reformed.
Unless the Senate completely reverses course, the government will remain at least as involved in these markets as it was prior to the 2008 crash.
BOEHNER. Here is a response to House Speaker John Boehner’s tantrum about conservatives from the editors of National Review:
In his home district, Speaker John Boehner offered an explanation for why the House has not moved an immigration bill. “Here’s the attitude: ‘Ohhhh. Don’t make me do this. Ohhh. This is too hard.’” He continued: “We get elected to make choices. We get elected to solve problems and it’s remarkable to me how many of my colleagues just don’t want to. . . . They’ll take the path of least resistance.”
We do not doubt that some large number of Republican congressmen fit Boehner’s description. They agree in outline with the immigration bill that the Senate passed last year, which offered legal status to many illegal immigrants, created new guest-worker programs, and promised to tighten enforcement of the immigration laws to block new illegal entrants. They would like something along those lines to pass, but fear that voting for such a bill would anger some of their voters.
WATER BILL. Congress is trying to wrap up work on a water bill (sub. req’d):
It’s either a final step in the process of completing a conference negotiation on a Water Resources Development authorization, or it’s a significant procedural step but issues remain. Depending on who you talk to, you might think the waterways legislation is almost ready to wrap up or still has a sticking point or two.
Today, six months after conferees were named to bridge House and Senate differences, a House panel will hear from the Corps of Engineers deputy commander, Maj. Gen. John Peabody . He will spell out how many more navigation and flood projects have received final approvals from the agency since the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee advanced its bill last summer. That one sailed through the House and rescinded authorization of enough obsolete projects to cover the costs of new ones.
Now, the corps has a much longer list of approvals, and lawmakers will have to figure out how to pay for them.
KERRY. The Heritage Foundation explains why Secretary of State John Kerry was wrong to rebuke Israel with his ‘apartheid’ comment:
Although the remarks may have gone down well at the pro-Arab Trilateral Commission—an organization that long has sought to subsume national sovereignty within a gauzy framework of European/Japanese/North American internationalism—Kerry’s warning is an inappropriate rebuke of a close ally.
The implication is not only that Israel would be responsible for any breakdown of the peace negotiations, but also that Israel’s security–related treatment of the Palestinians is indistinguishable from South Africa’s racist policies under apartheid from 1948 to 1994.
OBAMACARE. The media would like Americans to believe no one cares to repeal Obamacare any more. But that’s not true:
We can’t forget that “Whole provisions of the law have been nullified, modified, delayed, or suspended,” Moffit reminds us. “Indeed, over the past four years, there have been a total of 40 changes to the law, including various administrative, legislative, and judicial actions.”
IMMIGRATION. House Majority Leader appears pretty silent on whether or not the House has any intention of moving forward with immigration reform:
And although six Republican measures to fight human trafficking also are in view, action on immigration reform is conspicuously absent from Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA)’s memo Friday to the GOP conference.
The Virginia Republican’s pre-primary election silence on the status of illegal immigrants intrigues some onlookers. After all, Cantor and three other top House leaders — Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) 55%, and Republican Conference Chairman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) 59%— all have made statements indicating action on immigration reforms could come soon.