Morning Action: ‘R’ is for Reform in WRRDA, Right?
WRRDA. The House Water Resources and Reform and Development Act conference report was released Thursday (sub. req’d):
Congress is set to approve the first water resources bill since 2007 next week after the bipartisan WRRDA conference report was filed on Thursday afternoon. The House is expected to take it up as a suspension on Tuesday, with the Senate likely acting later in the week. The final bill includes authorizations for 34 projects evaluated by the Army Corps of Engineers, offset with $18 billion in deauthorizations. Now that the bill has been filed, CBO can issue price tag for the final bill, which should be out before the House votes on Tuesday.
Though some back-logged projects were deuathorized, there is still room for real reform and billions of dollars of back-logged projects still remain. It adds 11 new projects, making it more similar to what Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) 5% and the Democratic Senate put out. It also does little to put us on a path toward prioritizing the Army Corps’ mission, which is dealing with $60-$80 billion in backlogged projects.
KERRY. The State Department will not confirm whether John Kerry will willingly be subpoenaed to discuss Benghazi (sub. req’d):
The State Department would not confirm Thursday night whether John Kerry will appear at a new Benghazi hearing scheduled May 29 by House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, who hours earlier issued another subpoena for the secretary of state.
State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said discussions with the House panel are ongoing, but that no agreement had been reached.
OBAMACARE. Obamacare is apparently to blame for an Iowa hospital laying off 29 people:
Mercy Medical Center, a hospital in Des Moines, Iowa, has been forced to lay off 29 people, part of trying to make $38 million in cuts because of Obamacare provisions along with low payments from Medicare and Medicaid.
IRS. The IRS is stonewalling a Freedom of Information Act request from the National Republican Senatorial Committee surrounding correspondence with Democratic members of Congress:
On May 21, 2013 the National Republican Senatorial Committee sent the IRS a Freedom of Information Act request asking for “any and all documents or records, including but not limited to electronic documents, e-mails, paper documents, photographs (electronic or hard copy), or audio files,” related to correspondence from January 1, 2009 and May 21, 2013 between thirteen different Democrat members of Congress and top IRS officials. Those officials include former IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman, former Commissioner Steven Miller, senior IRS official Joseph Grant and former head of tax exempt groups Lois Lerner.