To buy more time for farm bill talks, the House is expected to take up this week a short-term extension of current law through January.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has already signaled he is open to this option and a vote could come as early as Wednesday on the suspension calendar.
But Obamacare may make that relationship unaffordable for you, or at least more expensive. Obamacare architect Ezekiel Emanuel weakly defended the President Obama’s claim that “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” under Obamacare on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, but he couldn’t do so without mincing words:
House and Senate budget negotiators are nearing an agreement on a budget deal, but it may prove to be one that is not agreeable to conservatives or to the taxpayers footing the bill for out-of-control government spending.
The 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA), though imperfect, was effective in cutting discretionary spending, and a budget that breaks the caps set by it is unacceptable. Yet, there is mounting pressure from appropriators to replace part of automatic spending cuts put in place by the BCA. Meanwhile, many Democrats are seeking to reverse the sequester on their “favored domestic programs,” like transportation, housing and the ineffective Head Start program.
Senate Republicans and House Democrats are learning the details of a possible deal largely through the media. For Republicans, their unease is caused by news that domestic spending may surpass existing caps, fueled by an increase in fees on government services. House Democrats are growing angry over the increased likelihood that federal workers’ benefits are going to be cut and the possible exclusion of unemployment insurance.
Despite their worries, there may be little that Senate Republicans and House Democrats can do to stop a budget deal being crafted by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). The House and Senate Budget committee chairmen want to reach a deal before the Dec. 13 deadline, when the House is expected to recess for the year.
Analysis: This week, the House may vote on the farm bill conference report, which is a tentative framework reconciling the flawed House and Senate farm bills. One of the glaring flaws in the compromise is that it replaces direct payments — a program that pays farmers even when they have not produced anything that year — with a new program that does the same thing, wasting billions of taxpayer dollars in the process. Alternatively, the House may pass a one month extension of the current farm bill. In addition, the House may consider legislation pertaining to the Sustainable Growth Rate in Medicare. Finally, they may move forward with a budget deal between the House and Senate, as no deal was reached last week according to reports. If no deal is reached, the House may vote to pass a clean Continuing Resolution (CR).
Major Floor Action:
- H.R. 2642 - Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013
- H.Con.Res. 25 - Establishing the budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2014 and setting forth appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2015 through 2023
Major Committee Action:
- The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing entitled “PPACA Implementation Failures: What’s Next?”
- The House Committee on Financial Services will hold a hearing entitled “Rethinking the Federal Reserve’s Many Mandates on Its 100-Year Anniversary.”
- The House Committee on Foreign Affairs will hold a hearing entitled “The Iran Nuclear Deal: Does It Further U.S. National Security?”
- The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold a hearing entitled “ObamaCare’s Impact on Premiums and Provider Networks.”
Analysis: The Senate may move to reconsider the nomination of Mel Watt, who has long been a proponent of increased government intervention in housing, to serve as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Conservatives note that in the past, he was involved in creating policies that hinder low-income and middle-income individuals’ ability to become homeowners. The Senate may also vote to confirm Patricia Ann Millett to be United States Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit. Millett was the first judicial nominee to receive a cloture vote requiring only a simple majority to end debate after Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Harry ReidSenate Democrat Average9% invoked the nuclear option to change the Senate rule requiring 60 votes to end debate. Finally, the Senate may also continue consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014.
Major Floor Action:
- S. 1197 — National Defense Authorization Act
- S. ___ — Possible legislation related to the minimum wage
Major Committee Action:
- The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs will hold a hearing entitled “Housing Finance Reform: Fundamentals of Transferring Credit Risk in a Future Housing Finance System.”
- The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing entitled “Oversight Hearing on Domestic Renewable Fuels.”