Cloakroom: May 20 – May 24

House Cloakroom: May 20 – May 24

Analysis:  This week the House will take up the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and student loan rate reform.  The Northern Route Approval Act does just what its name suggests, approve the Keystone pipeline.  This pipeline will be source of jobs and energy for Americans and approval is currently being held up by the Obama administration.  The Smarter Solutions for Students Act reforms the way the government charges interest on student loans.  The current rate of 3.4% is going back up to 6.8% this summer.  Instead of Congress picking an interest rate this reform would tie the interest rate to the Treasury rate plus 2.5% making it a variable rate.

Major Floor Action:

  • HR 3 – Northern Route Approval Act
  • HR 1911 – Smarter Solutions for Students Act

Major Committee Action:

  • The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on the IRS scandal.
  • The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on immigration reform.
  • The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on Medicare reform.
  • The House Agriculture Committee will hold hearing on the future of the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission.


Senate Cloakroom: May 20 – May 24

Analysis:  This week the Senate will consider S. 954. This nearly $1 trillion bill has initial 10 year cost estimates of $955 billion dollars—80% of which is in food stamps. The bill would lock in new entitlement programs with shallow loss crop insurance (ARC) and target price supports (AMP).

Major Floor Action:

  • S 954 – Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013

Major Committee Action:

  • The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on the IRS scandal.
  • The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx to be Secretary of Transportation.
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Cloakroom: Full Repeal Edition

House Cloakroom: May 13 – May 17

Analysis:  This week the House of Representatives will reaffirm their commitment to repealing Obamacare in its entirety.  Obamacare has already restricted hiring, seen one of its coverage provisions fail, and is expanding an ineffective Medicaid program This law has even drawn criticism from prominent Democrats.  Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has admitted Obamacare will actually increase health care costs, the opposite of what the bill was intended to do.  Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) foresees a “train wreck coming” as this bill is implemented.  This terrible law must be repealed.

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Cloakroom: Priorities Edition

House Cloakroom: May 6 – May 10

Analysis:  This week the House is taking up bills to prevent sovereign default and allow families more flexibility in their work schedule. The Full Faith and Credit Act will ensure that as we enter another debt ceiling fight, America will continue to fulfill its debt obligations even past the debt ceiling.  With this bill in place, the Obama administration will be restricted in their ability to play political games with our debt rather than confront the fiscal crisis we are facing.  Heritage Action is key voting in favor of this bill.  The Working Families Flexibility Act will give employers and employees the ability to exchange overtime hours for paid time off, something government workers are allowed to do, but private sector workers are not. 

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Cloakroom: April 21 – April 27

House Cloakroom:

Analysis:  This week the House will bring a bill to the floor to fix one of the many failing parts of Obamacare.  Obamacare created a deeply flawed temporary high risk pool for those with pre-existing conditions to provide insurance coverage while the Obamacare exchanges and Medicaid expansion were set up.  This high risk pool had less than a third of the expected take up, but still ran out of money sooner than intended.  The bill uses money from the pernicious Prevention and Public Health Fund – essentially a slush fund for the administration – to reopen the high risk pools.  Secretary Sebelius has acknowledged that she will use money from this fund for implementation.  However, shuffling money between sections of this disastrous legislation does nothing to advance the full repeal of Obamacare.

Major Floor Action:

HR 1549 – Helping Sick Americans Now Act

Major Committee Action:

  • The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on “Future Export Controls.”
  • The House Budget Committee will hold a hearing on “Highway Trust Fund Solvency.”
  • The House Natural Resources Committee will markup a bill to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline.
  • The House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing on “Federal Residential Real Estate Tax Issues.”

Senate Cloakroom:

Analysis: This week the US Senate will be moving on to the internet sales tax bill, the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013. The proposed legislation would enable states to force businesses to collect sales tax from customers who live in their state–even when the businesses have no connection to that state. Essentially retailers would be forced to act as as tax collectors for states in which they have no voice or representation.

Major Floor Action:

S 743 – Marketplace Fairness Act (Internet Sales Tax)

Major Committee Action:

  • The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on the “Trans-Pacific Partnership.”
  • The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions will hold a vote on the nomination of Thomas Perez to be Secretary of Labor.
  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on “Hydropower and Energy Savings.”
  • The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights will hold a hearing on “Drones and Targeted Killings.”
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Cloakroom: Cybersecurity and Guns

House Cloakroom: April 15 – April 19

Analysis:  This week the House will turn its focus to cyber security.  They will take up a bill that is intended to promote information sharing between private entities to increase their ability to manage cyber threats.  The House passed a related piece of legislation last Congress and is renewing their efforts now in the 113th Congress.

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