Today, the House will vote on the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (as amended) (H.R. 3370) sponsored by Rep. Mike Grimm (R-NY)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Mike GrimmHouse Republican Average29% and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Maxine WatersHouse Democrat Average18%. The Biggert-Waters Reform Act of 2012 set forth much needed reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is currently over $24 billion in debt. While the Senate-passed flood insurance bill (S. 1926) would delay certain necessary reforms, the House bill would go a step further in the wrong direction and completely repeal many of those necessary reforms.
Bradly A. Smith, a law professor at Capital University and former Federal Election Commission Chairman explained:
The changes fall outside IRS expertise and authority because they are concerned with campaign finance law and have nothing to do with raising federal revenue. This is an effort to regulate campaign finance disguised as tax regulation
Tonight, the House will vote on the so-called Temporary Debt Limit Extension Act (S. 540), which would suspend the nation’s debt ceiling until March 15, 2015. During that time, President Obama and Congress will have a blank check to spend and borrow. This is extremely reckless given our nation’s $17.3 trillion debt. Every American household already owes more than $140,000 on the debt.
The Heritage Foundation explains the act “renders the debt limit inoperative,” which matters “because when Congress fails to limit the debt it effectively abdicates its Constitutional power to control borrowing.”
They also note:
Approaching the debt limit is a very public and focused affair. It forces the American people and their representatives to confront the fact that the budget is unbalanced and that deficit spending adds to the already massive national debt.
It’s also an effective opportunity to shame Congress and the President for their reckless spending and borrowing, which is why congressional challengers often highlight an incumbent’s vote to increase the debt ceiling in election campaigns.
The Heritage Foundation’s Romina Boccia also explains:
The debt limit serves as an important congressional check on federal spending and borrowing. Without a debt limit, all control over borrowing decisions shifts to the Treasury secretary, who is appointed by the president. Effectively, this concentrates borrowing authority in the executive branch, and hands the president a blank check to borrow against the U.S. taxpayer.
Rather than suspending the debt limit again, Congress should “put the budget on a path to balance in order to avoid a much worse fiscal crisis in the future—before deciding how much more to borrow.”
Heritage Action opposes S. 540 and will include it as a vote on our legislative scorecard.
Today, the House will vote on the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 7). Sponsored by Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ), the bill would establish a permanent, government-wide prohibition on federal taxpayer funding of abortion and health benefits plans that include coverage of abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger. It would also prevent federal tax dollars from being entangled in abortion coverage under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
As Rep. Smith explains, “Under Obamacare, billions of dollars in the form of tax credits are today buying abortion-subsidizing health insurance plans in exchanges throughout the country.”
On Wednesday, the House will vote on the Agricultural Act of 2014 (H.R.2642), commonly referred to as the Farm Bill but more accurately described as the Food Stamp and Farm Bill. Despite claims of reform, the bill continues to spend nearly $1 trillion on a variety of programs, including significant taxpayers subsidies to agribusiness, green energy handouts, conservation programs and of course the massive food stamp program.
Once again, about 80 percent of the bill’s spending goes towards the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps. There are now nearly 48 million individuals on food stamps, compared with nearly 31 million in 2008 and 17 million in 2000. Even after the dramatic loosening of eligibility standards contributed to one in seven Americans now collecting food stamps, the conference report contains minuscule reforms. All told the proposal is expected to save just one percent. That is below the 5-percent cut passed by the House last September and well below the 17-percent reduction outlined in the House-passed budget.