Morning Action: Which House Republicans Are Pushing for UI Bill?
UI. After the Senate voted 61-35 to invoke cloture on a measure on extending emergency unemployment insurance benefits, a small group of House Republicans began pushing for its consideration in the House, despite research that shows such an extension will prolong unemployment for many people and harm taxpayers (sub. req’d):
Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio and other House leaders portrayed the extension as unworkable after a three-month break in such benefits, and they are arguing for GOP alternatives to spur growth and job creation. But Rep. Peter King (R-NY) 38% said Thursday he and Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) 33% had sent a letter urging Boehner and his team to move the Senate proposal (HR 3979) or an alternative.
Five Republicans besides King and LoBiondo signed the letter asking Boehner to bring something to the floor: Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV) 58%; Rep. Jon Runyan (R-NJ) and Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ) 51%; and Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY) 39% and Rep. Mike Grimm (R-NY).
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) 58%, head of the Republican Conference, said party leaders had not decided how to handle the measure and would discuss it next week. “There will be a conversation. We’re waiting to see what the Senate actually passes,” she said.
For some Republicans, the Senate measure presents an enticing vehicle for a flock of stalled proposals to cut taxes, curb regulations and undo mandates under the health care overhaul (PL 111-148, PL 111-152).
JOBS. The March jobs report did not meet expectations:
The economy added 192,000 new jobs in March, and the unemployment rate remained steady at 6.7 percent. The report, while not disastrous, missed the high expectations of many economists going into Friday’s release. Economists expectedto see 200,000 new jobs in March, and a slight downtick of the unemployment rate from 6.7 percent to 6.6 percent. As MarketWatch noted in its poll of economists, some predicted to see an even larger jobs number, more in the range of 250,000 new jobs for March.
WIND PTC. Lawmakers are envisioning scaling back the wind production tax credit (sub. req’d):
A leading Senate Republican supporter of the wind power industry floated a new proposal Thursday to reduce a popular clean-energy tax incentive while gradually phasing it out, foreshadowing a tough fight ahead for lawmakers who want to preserve renewable energy tax benefits.
Sen. John Thune (R-SD) 50% offered — and then withdrew — an amendment to a draft tax extenders package approved Thursday by the Finance Committee. His proposal would gradually reduce the renewable energy production tax credit and revert its application to projects placed in service before the benefit expires.
A change to the credit made in early 2013 allowed any projects under construction before the expiration last December to claim the credit once they start producing power. Producers generally collect the credit for 10 years once their facilities are generating power.
“It’s not a nascent industry,” Thune said. “It is maturing.”