Cloakroom: Appropriations Season

House Cloakroom: June 3 – June 7

Analysis: This week the House will begin taking up the 12 annual appropriations bills that fund the government.  Up first will be the bills that fund the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Homeland Security and military construction.  The two bills will be considered under an open rule ensuring a lively floor process with unlimited amendments.  The funding levels in these bills will be adjusted by the sequester enforced spending reductions.

Major Floor Action:

  • HR 1919 – Safeguarding America’s Pharmaceuticals Act of 2013
  • HR 2216 – Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act
  • HR 2217 – Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2013 
Read More

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.
Read More

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.

Read More

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. 

Read More

The Very Real, Very Massive Cost of Amnesty

Amnesty will come with massive costs.

Proponents of the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill deny that illegal immigrants given legal status will be eligible for Obamacare and other entitlements.  Unfortunately for taxpayers, that’s not what the text of the legislation states.  Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York, gave those “outrageously untrue” claims a solid thrashing because she actually read the bill.

Today, Americans face nearly $17 trillion in debt.   If conservative reforms are not put in place, we can look forward to roughly $86.8 trillion unfunded liabilities of the federal government in the future.  That includes the money for Social Security, Medicare, and federal employee’s future retirement benefits, and other entitlement programs.

When illegal immigrants who are given amnesty start receiving entitlement benefits from the federal government, that $17 trillion problem and that $86.8 trillion problem will be bigger.

The Heritage Foundation explains:

We have more than $12 trillion in public debt and tens of trillions of dollars more in unfunded obligations that we have no way to afford, thanks to promises made by past and present politicians. With this in mind, today’s political leaders must consider the fiscal impact of amnesty and a path to citizenship that would enable millions of unlawful immigrants to qualify for costly welfare and entitlement programs.

Read More