Revolving Door. The Washington Post broke the news this morning that Speaker John Boehner’s press secretary is leaving “Boehnerland” and heading to America’s Health Insurance Plans. AHIP represents thousands of health-care providers and has recently spoken out against efforts to impose budget neutrality on Obamacare’s “risk corridors” program, which is an insurer bailout. Not surprisingly, AHIP heaped praise on their new hire:
[His] experience and skill set will allow him to hit the ground running on day one. He’s an effective communicator who knows how to tackle complex policy issues and skillfully navigate an ever-changing health care and media environment. We are delighted to welcome him to our team.
2014. The Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney explains the political headwinds are behind a conservative, anti-cronyism agenda:
Republicans can make the 2014 election a referendum on corporate welfare, forcing Democrats to defend government handouts to well-connected big businesses. That is, if Republicans actually oppose government handouts to well-connected big businesses.
The Obama administration and congressional Democrats line up squarely with K Street on many pressing issues today. Congressional conservatives and activist groups are itching for a fight. And there are many potential battlefields.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has proposed to kill the insurer bailouts included in Obamacare. The 2010 health care law included a “risk corridor” provision, effectively taxing insurers for excess profits and subsidizing them if their profits were too low. For 2014, this could amount to bailouts to health insurers. Rubio’s bill would prevent that.
The House is out of session this week.
Senate Analysis: This week the Senate will continue work on the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S. 2282). Debate on the bill, which opposed by Heritage Action and numerous conservative groups, has been less about substance than Senate procedure; specifically whether Senators will be allowed to offer amendments. The debate over amendments is likely to spill over into the debate over so-called tax extenders, which are expected on the Senate floor later in the week. That debate could highlight a growing rift between President Obama and some Senate Democrats how to approach expiring tax provisions.
Major Floor Action
Major Committee Action
- College Athletes and Academics will be the subject of a hearing in the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee
- Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act will be marked up in the Environment and Public Works Committee
- Boko Haram will be the subject of a hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on African Affairs
OBAMA. President Obama is about to use his pen again (sub. req’d):
President Barack Obama today will visit a Walmart in Mountain View, Calif., to outline a smorgasbord of new executive actions to boost renewables and efficiency, including new worker training programs for the solar sector and appliance efficiency standards, as well as federal backing for new industry green building codes.
Perhaps the most significant of the items is an additional $2 billion goal for energy efficiency upgrades to federal buildings over the next three years, which White House advisers said would drive total commitments in energy savings performance contracts to $4 billion through 2016.
UI. Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez has offered to negotiate with House Speaker John Boehner on a harmful unemployment extension:
With an unemployment extension stalled in the House, Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez sent a letter Wednesday to Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, offering to negotiate on a range of job-creation measures and urging the speaker to act.
But Perez said the extension should not have to wait.
NWHM. Congress will consider a bill on the creation of National Women’s History Museum today:
A long-stalled effort to create a National Women’s History Museum in Washington is expected to get a vote in the Republican-controlled House.
A new measure up for consideration would create a bipartisan commission to study the feasibility of creating such a museum on or near the National Mall.
Lawmakers supporting the measure say a vote is expected Wednesday on the House floor.
Conservatives are very concerned the bill will become a shrine to the liberal ideology and abortion, which does a disservice to women by portraying us as monolithic on this issue. Oppose the museum here.