Tuesday, June 16: Conference Report on H.R. 2346 – Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009

The conference agreement appropriates $105.9 billion, 77% of which is for military-related costs in Iraq and Afghanistan. The total is 15% more than the president requested, $9 billion more than the House bill, and $14.6 billion more than the Senate version. The military funding in the agreement includes $25.8 billion to refurbish or replace equipment used in the two wars, 15% more than requested, including $2.7 billion, mostly unrequested, for C-17 and C-130 transport aircraft. It funds the president’s request for $3.6 billion to expand and improve Afghan security forces, and $400 million in FY 2009 for a program to build up the counterinsurgency capabilities of the Pakistani military, and an additional $700 million in FY 2010 and FY 2011.
The measure includes a Senate provision that would cost the Treasury about $5 billion to increase U.S. support of assistance provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to stabilize countries hard hit by the global economic crisis, a provision strongly opposed by Republicans. The agreement does not contain a Senate provision that would have prohibited the release of photos showing abuse of detainees in U.S. custody, a provision opposed by most House Democrats. The measure does not provide funds for closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It appropriates $7.7 billion to address a potential pandemic flu.

KEY CONCERNS

  • Excess Spending: H.R. 2346 includes more than $28.7 billion of non-war spending that is not offset with spending reductions elsewhere.  Overall, the legislation exceeds the President’s original request by $20.9 billion or 24.6%.  Non-war spending in the conference report includes: $5 billion for the IMF (to provide loan guarantees of $108 billion), $420 million for Mexico, $13.2 million for the Essential Air Service, $256 million to aid developing countries affected by the financial crisis, and $1 billion for the “cash for clunkers” program.
  • IMF Funding: The conference report appropriates $5 billion to make available $108 billion in loans to the IMF.  This “global bailout” will require the federal government to borrow money (from the Chinese, for example) to then lend it to the IMF.  The IMF has a large bureaucracy (2,600 employees), and some conservatives have expressed concerns that it is moving away from its purpose as the lender of last resort, and increasing its role as a development agency.  The conference report also authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to agree to the sale of nearly 13 million ounces of IMF gold to in effect create an endowment for itself—which would make the institution less accountable to the U.S. and other member nations.
  • Funding for West Bank and Gaza: The legislation provides a total of $660 million for the West Bank and Gaza. There is concern that this money could fall into the hands of Hamas, since it controls much of the civil society in Gaza.
  • Release of Detainee Photos: The conference report does not include language in the Senate-passed bill (the Lieberman/Graham Amendment) to prevent the release of detainee photos.

PASSED – 226-202 – SEE ROLL CALL VOTE

Published in: on June 17, 2009 at 1:28 pm  Comments (2)  

Wednesday, June 10: .R. 2410 – Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011

This bill authorizes appropriations for the State Department, the Peace Corps, international activities, international assistance programs, and related agencies.
Possible Concerns:
Pay Raise:
Provides a 23% increase in pay to overseas Foreign Service Officers when Americans are struggling to keep jobs at home
Abortion Advocacy:
Creates an Office for Global Women’s Issues to “coordinate efforts of the United States Government regarding gender integration and women’s empowerment in the United States foreign policy.” It is highly likely that this office will include in its mission the advancement of abortion advocacy abroad
Sexual Orientation Language:
Would require the tracking of discrimination related to sexual orientation in foreign countries based on “actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.”  The bill would also require U.S. diplomatic representatives to encourage foreign governments to reform or repeal laws that criminalize “homosexuality or consensual homosexual conduct, or restricting the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms.”  The language places sexual orientation as a foreign policy priority and focuses on a class of particular individuals rather than crimes committed against any individual.
No UN Reform:
Increases US contributions to the UN by approximately 32% over FY09 levels without requiring any reforms.
Cost to Taxpayers:
The bill authorizes approximately $41 billion in the FY2010 and FY2011 period.  It authorizes approximately $1 billion for FY2012 through FY2014, for a total of approximately $42 billion over a five year period.

PASSED 235-187

Published in: on June 10, 2009 at 9:23 pm  Comments (1)  

Tuesday, June 9: H.R. 2751—The Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act

Also referred to as “Cash for Clunkers,” H.R. 2751 would establish a new one-year program at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration under the Department of Transportation (DOT), that will give individuals with older, less fuel efficient cars to a credit worth up to $4,500 towards the purchase of a new car that meets certain fuel efficiency goals.  In order to qualify, so-called clunkers must get 18 miles per gallon or less, be manufactured after 1984, be in drivable condition, and be continuously insured to the same owner for at least one year immediately prior to trade-in.
In order to qualify for the voucher, the value of a new car cannot exceed $45,000.  The legislation divides new cars and trucks into four categories:
·         Cars: If a consumer purchases a new car that gets at least 4 miles per gallon more, they qualify for a $3,500 voucher to reduce the price of the new car.  To receive a voucher for $4,500, the new car must have a mileage rating at least 10 mpg higher.  No new car purchased can get less than 22 miles per gallon (mpg)
·         Light-duty trucks and SUV’s: For owners of light-duty trucks or Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV), to receive a voucher of $3,500 a consumer must purchase a new vehicle rated at least 2 mpg higher and to receive a voucher of $4,500, the new vehicle must get at least 5 mpg more.  The minimum fuel economy for a light-duty truck or SUV must be at least 18 mpg.
·         Large light-duty trucks: For owners of large light-duty trucks (pick-up trucks and vans weighing between 6,000 and 8,500 pounds), to receive a voucher of $3,500, a consumer must purchase a new truck that gets at least 1 mpg higher.  To receive a voucher of $4,500, the new vehicle must get at least 2 mpg more.  The minimum fuel economy for a large light-duty truck is at least 15 mpg.
·         Work trucks: Owners of “work trucks” (8,500 and 10,000 pounds) can receive a $3,500 voucher for trade-ins of models built before 2002 in the same or lower weight class.  Since the EPA does not issue mileage measures for these trucks, supporters of the bill reason that “newer models are cleaner than older models, the age requirement ensures that the trade will improve environmental quality.”
POSSIBLE CONCERNS
·         Another Costly Auto Bailout: The bill authorizes $4 billion of new spending, subject to appropriation.   This is on top of the $85 billion American taxpayers have provided to help “restructure” the auto industry. Just today, the auto-parts suppliers plan to ask President Obama’s auto task force for an additional $8 to $10 billion in federal aid. In addition, a similar program instituted in Germany ended up costing three times more than originally anticipated.
·         Little Environmental Benefit: H.R. 2751 will most likely not have the anticipated environmental benefits because additional fuel efficiency often leads to more driving and new cars will have little impact on a reduction of overall carbon dioxide emissions, according the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
·         Weakens Charitable Giving: Many are concerned that an unintended consequence of the bill is that it will make Americans less likely to donate older automobiles to charities that provide low-income and disabled individuals with affordable automobiles.
·         May Disproportionally Help Foreign Auto Companies: With the high fuel efficiency requirements to qualify for the full credit, the bill may actually help foreign auto manufactures, whose fleets typically have smaller, more fuel efficient cars than GM or Chrysler have produced.
·         Higher Priced Used Cars: The legislation requires dealers to remove “clunkers” from the market through salvage, reducing the amount of pre-owned supply.  Families that still cannot afford a new automobile, even with the voucher, will face rising prices in the used car market during the current recession when affordability is an even greater issue.
·         Bureaucratic Leeway: Under the bill, the DOT is required to promulgate many of the regulations to implement the program within 30 days. Many are concerned that this grants too much authority to the executive branch to enact a new $4 billion dollar program.

PASSED: 298-119-2

Published in: on June 9, 2009 at 4:33 pm  Comments (2)  

Wednesday, March 25: Amendments to H.R. 146 – Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009

On March 11, 2009, House Republicans defeated identical legislation (S. 22) under suspension of the rules. After defeat, the Senate considered the legislation again by bringing up the House-passed Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Battlefield Protection Act (H.R. 146) and replacing its text with the text of the House-passed Omnibus Lands Package (S. 22). Procedurally, this means the House can only “concur” with the Senate amendment and prevents House Republicans from offering a motion to recommit.

This legislation would authorize the Secretary of Interior to study, establish, and redesignate numerous National Parks, National Wildernesses, National Heritage Areas, National Trails, National Scenic River designations, and codify the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS). Also authorizes land conveyances and exchanges, federal boundary adjustments, memorials, museums, reclamation projects, and commissions. Additionally, the bill authorizes programs for ocean exploration, local water infrastructure, underwater research, and paralysis research.

Comprised of over 165 separate bills introduced in the 110th Congress. Senate leaders created an omnibus bill to circumvent “holds” Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) placed on a number of these individual bills because he believed they would authorize wasteful spending, block energy development, and infringe on property rights.

  • COST – authorizes over $5.5 billion over 5 years.

KEY CONCERNS:

— Blocks millions of acres from new oil and gas leasing, logging, mining, and all other business activity in these areas.

— Eliminates 1.2 million acres from mineral leasing and energy exploration in Wyoming alone – withdrawing 331 million barrels of recoverable oil and 8.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas from domestic energy supply.

— Designates more than 2 million acres of land as wilderness areas; permanently eliminating human access for energy exploration or recreational opportunities.

— Eliminates a proposed terminal site for importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Massachusetts by designating a river that runs through a city as “wild and scenic”.

— Authorizes $5.5 billion of new discretionary spending over five years and $900 million of direct spending.

— Makes collecting fossils an illegal activity, subjecting thousands of hobbyists to 5 years in federal jail.

— Pork Projects: $3.5 million to the city of St. Augustine, FL for a birthday party, $200,000 for a tropical botanical garden in Hawaii, $250,000 to study the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and $37 million for a park in New Jersey that is not even supported by the National Park Service.

PASSED – 285-140 – SEE ROLL CALL VOTE

Published in: on March 25, 2009 at 4:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, March 19: H.R. 1586 – 90% Tax on Certain Corporate Bonuses

The legislation imposes a 90% tax for bonuses received by an employee of a company that has received Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) funds in excess of $5 billion, as well as employees of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  The tax would be retroactive to December 31, 2008 and apply to income in excess of $250,000 (or $125,000 in the case of a married individual filing separately).

KEY CONCERNS

Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right. Without the bailouts, the taxpayers would never have been put in the position of their dollars being doled out for executive bonuses.  But since the bonuses have been distributed, the solution is not to compound the problem with more inappropriate actions by the federal government.


Bill of Attainder. The bill, while not mentioning AIG by name, is clearly meant to punish AIG executives who received large bonuses—a specific group of individuals in response to public outrage over the bonuses.  Given this motivation, many believe that the legislation is a bill of attainder, and thus prohibited by Article I, Section 9, Clause 3 of the Constitution.


Confiscatory Tax Rate. The legislation creates a tax rate of 90%.  The income tax has not had a top marginal tax rate of that level since the Kennedy Administration.  This legislation will set a precedent to apply confiscatory tax rates to other individuals in the future.


PASSED 328-93SEE ROLL CALL VOTE

Published in: on March 19, 2009 at 6:43 pm  Comments (13)  

Wednesday, March 18: H.R. 1388 – Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) Act

This bill reauthorizes Corporation for National and Community Service programs, including AmeriCorps, through FY 2014. The bill is intended to increase the number of volunteers nationwide to 250,000, from 75,000. The measure also increases the education reward that full-time service volunteers receive to $5,350 in FY 2010, the same award as the maximum Pell grant. After FY 2010, volunteers would receive an award equal to the annual maximum Pell grant.

KEY CONCERNS:

*H.R. 1388 funds AmeriCorps at a level of “such sums may be necessary.” AmeriCorps has funded programs in the past such as Planned Parenthood of Western Washington and the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center (LAGLC).  In addition, they ran a program that gave $5 to children for each toy gun they brought in.

*The CBO Report for H.R. 1388 states that the bill authorizes $9.3 billion over the FY2010-FY2014 period.  This is over $3 billion more than last year’s bill.

*H.R. 1388 stretches the definition of a volunteer by paying them for their service, frequently providing volunteers with health benefits, housing, and other items that undermine the definition of a volunteer.

*H.R. 1388 funds Learn and Serve, which has been described as “Not Performing: Results Not Demonstrated” by the Office of Management and Budget’s website, ExpectMore.gov.  It also funds AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps which OMB describes as “Not Performing: Ineffective.”  Some conservatives may believe that during a time of economic crisis, we should not be funding programs that have shown little or no results.

Amendments to H.R. 1388

Washington, Mar 18 Miller (CA): Manager’s Amendment. This amendment would make various technical changes; allow interagency agreements between federal agencies to support national service programs by approving the use of service positions in projects carried out by other agencies; clarify that the goal of reaching 250,000 volunteers is throughout all national service positions, not just AmeriCorps; and clarify that the Corporation should promote efficiency and eliminate duplicative application requirements and report back to the authorizing committees on its progress in doing so. The amendment adds language to promote community based efforts to reduce crime and recruit public safety officers into service opportunities; adds “severely economically distressed community” as a new definition; includes a new activity under the Opportunity Corps focused on a musician and artists corps program that helps meet educational needs in low income communities; and incorporates language that would increase access to and participation in federally supported nutrition programs.

ADOPTED BY VOICE VOTE

Pingree (ME): Adds “providing clean energy related services designed to meet the needs of rural communities” to the list of approved activities for the Clean Energy Corps.

VOTE REQUESTED – PASSED 388-36

Hunter (CA): Removes veteran’s educational benefits from being taken into account when calculating the maximum award an individual could receive for participating in one of the national service programs.

ADOPTED BY VOICE VOTE

Loebsack (IA): The amendment creates a new program entitled the “Volunteer Generation Fund,” to assist nonprofit, faith based, and other civic organizations; and to increase volunteer recruitment; an to enable the people of the U.S. to effect change by participating in active volunteer and citizen service.  It authorizes $360 million over five years.

VOTE REQUESTED – PASSED 261-168

Roe (TN): To set the authorization for AmeriCorps, the Trust, Innovative programs, audits and evaluations at the FY 2008 level for FY 2010, and as such sums as may be necessary for fiscal years 2011 through 2014.

VOTE REQUESTED – FAILED 175-256

Kilroy (OH): To provide volunteers to supervise physical education classes at elementary and secondary schools, provide nutrition education to students, and supervise, organize, and manage after school physical activity/education programs. The amendment would also provide services to these elderly people through food deliveries, legal and medical services provided in the home, and transportation.

VOTE REQUESTED – PASSED 372-57

Roskam (IL): To require all authorized programs to be reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget’s Program Assessment Rating Tool, as well as require GAO to do a study on the National Civilian Community Corps program. Finally, the amendment would amend the underlying legislation to continue the annual evaluation requirement for the National Civilian Community Corps, rather than authorizing only one study by 2014.

ADOPTED BY VOICE VOTE

Markey (CO): To increase the operational support given to organizations for full-time individuals enrolled in an approved national service position. The amendment proposes increasing the support from $600 to $800 and from $800 to $1000 if the program supports at least 50 percent disadvantaged youth.

VOTE REQUESTED – PASSED 281-146

Hill (IN): Adds an eligible service program (under the National Service Corps) that would send care packages to Armed Forces members serving in combat overseas.

ADOPTED BY VOICE VOTE

Teague (NM)/Klein (FL): To encourage opportunities for veterans that utilize their experience in the Armed Forces, and would encourage programs to assist veterans in finding employment in the public and private sector. The amendment would aid veterans in their pursuit of education and professional opportunities, help veterans with the claims process, and assist rural, disabled, and unemployed veterans with transportation needs.

ADOPTED BY VOICE VOTE

Perriello (VA)/Titus (NV): To create a National Service Reserve Corps, requiring an annual service requirement of at least ten hours and/or annual training. The amendment requires that a member of the National Service Reserve Corps must complete a term of national service, fulfill training, and respond to national disasters and other emergencies. In addition, the amendment would require that these individuals be listed in a national database for the ease of immediate deployment in case of emergency.

VOTE REQUESTED: PASSED 339-93

REPUBLICAN MOTION TO RECOMMIT H.R. 1388, the GIVE Act – PASSED 318-105 – ROLL CALL VOTE

The motion would recommit H.R. 1388 back to the House Education and Labor Committee with instructions that the committee report the bill back to the House floor forthwith (i.e. instantaneously) with the following amendment.

The Republican MTR would prohibit a participant from:

    • Attempting to influence legislation;
    • Organizing or engaging in protests, petitions, boycotts, or strikes;
    • Assisting, promoting, or deterring union organizing;
    • Impairing existing contracts for services or collective bargaining agreements;
    • Engaging in partisan political activities;
    • Participating in events that are likely to include advocacy for or against political parties/platforms/candidates;
    • Engaging in religious instruction, conducting worship services, providing instruction as part of a program that includes mandatory religious instruction or worship;
    • Providing a direct benefit to a business organized for profit, a labor organization, a partisan political organization, a nonprofit organization; or an organization engaged in the religious activities described above unless the Corporation assistance is not used to support those religious activities;
    • Conducting a voter registration drive.

The MTR would make the following organizations ineligible for assistance in this bill:

    • Organizations that provide or promote abortion services, including referral;
    • For-profit organization, or organizations engaged in political or legislative advocacy;
    • Organizations that have been indicted for voter fraud.

The MTR would prohibit the following activities:

    • Activities that would otherwise be performed by an employed worker as part of his or her assigned duties as an employee or by another volunteer who is not a participant in an approved national service position;
    • Activities that will supplant the hiring of employed workers or work of such other volunteers.

ON FINAL PASSAGE: PASSED 321-105 – ROLL CALL VOTE

Published in: on March 18, 2009 at 6:29 pm  Comments (2)  

Wednesday, February 25: H.R. 1105—Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009

Today, H.R. 1105, the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, will be considered on the floor, likely under a closed rule.

The Fiscal Year 2009 omnibus totals $410 billion spending bill and includes nine appropriation bills that were not passed by Congress last year (Agriculture, Commerce/State/Justice, Energy and Water, Financial Services, Department of Interior, Labor/HHS, Legislative Branch, Department of State/Foreign Ops, Transportation/HUD).

Funding for these government agencies and programs would increase by $32 billion, or 8.3%, over Fiscal Year 2008 (not including the funds appropriated by the recent “stimulus”). These agencies are currently funded at Fiscal Year 2008 levels through March 6, 2009, by a continuing resolution. In addition to funding for these nine remaining appropriations bills, the bill also includes $100 million for salaries and expenses at the Department of Homeland Security, designated as an “emergency” to avoid budget restraints. Three appropriations bills-Defense, Homeland Security, and Military Construction-VA-were passed and signed into law last year.

Take a look at the table provided by the House Republican Conference that lays out all the numbers and shows the spending increases for these government agencies and programs.

The $32 billion increase represents the largest one-year hike in annual appropriated spending percentage since the Carter administration, with the exception of funding immediately after September 11th. And since many of these programs and agencies received funding in the recent “stimulus,” the combined increase is $301 billion or 80% over Fiscal Year 2008.

This bill contains numerous policy items, spending provisions, and earmarks that appropriates $410 billion to fund nine appropriations bills from March 6, 2009, through September 30, 2009.

(Source: House GOP Conference)

PASSED 245 – 178 SEE ROLL CALL VOTE

Published in: on February 25, 2009 at 6:04 pm  Comments (2)  

Tuesday, February 10: Republican Motion to Instruct H.R. 1 (Economic Stimulus Package)

I want to keep you up to speed on what’s happening with the Economic “Stimulus” Package that’s in the spotlight this week here in Congress. A couple of weeks ago, the U.S House passed H.R. 1 by a vote of 244-188.

Today, the U.S. Senate passed their version of the bill 61-37.  Next, a Conference Committee will meet to negotiate the two versions and hammer out a final bill (conference report) that will again have to be put up to a vote.

As part of the process, the Republicans have put forth a Motion to Instruct Conferees on H.R. 1 that instructs House conferees to withhold final approval of the conference report until the text has been made available to the public for 48 hours in an electronic, searchable, and downloadable form.

In other words, before the Committee approves the negotiated report and it’s sent to Congress for final passage, the Republicans would like it to be put to the public for their viewing. The American people deserve to know what’s going on with their hard-earned money and express their opinion on the final report. This shouldn’t be rushed through in the cover of night, and it’s the view of the Republicans that any and all House and Senate negotiations should be held in an open and public forum. President Obama and Speaker Pelosi have promised to run the most open and transparent government in history. The Republicans are trying to do just that.

PASSED 403-0

Published in: on February 10, 2009 at 8:33 pm  Comments (8)  

Wednesday, January 28 – H.R. 1, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Structured Rule)

H.R. 1 is entirely too large to post and sum up here on this blog, but check out this link to the Republican Study Committee’s website that highlights the key concerns and provides a more in-depth report of the entire package. Remember, conservative House Republicans proposed a package of their own that would focus on tax relief rather than runaway government spending to give the economy the boost it desperately needs. Check it out here.

Below are more details about the structured rules does to the bill on the floor today, and amendments that will be considered as part of the package. Check back later in the day to see how the voting breaks down for the amendments and the overall package.

The rule automatically incorporates provisions into the bill that would do the following:

  • Require each state that is eligible to receive funds under the bill to certify, no later than 45 days after enactment, that it plans to request and use the available funds.

  • Waive the local matching requirements and the salary caps for the Community Oriented Policing Services Program hiring program in fiscal years 2009 and 2010.

  • Provide $15 million to the Historic Preservation Fund for the renovation and preservation of buildings on historically black colleges and universities, and waives the institutional match for such projects.

  • Strike the $200 million appropriation in the bill for the National Mall Revitalization Fund.

  • Strike the bill’s provision that would have allowed states to offer family planning services, including contraceptives, under Medicaid without receiving a federal waiver. Nonetheless, the bill will still silently kill the Title V abstinence education program by extending Transition Medical Assistance (TMA) for 18 months, while leaving Title V to expire. (The two have historically been reauthorized and extended together.)

The rule also makes in order only the following 11 amendments (out of 206 filed), to be considered below:

REP. JAMES L. OBERSTAR, D-MN, will offer an amendment (#1) to require 50% of aviation, highway, rail, and mass transit priority consideration funding to be used within 90 days, instead of 120 days.

ADOPTED – VOICE VOTE

REP. EDWARD J. MARKEY, D-MA, will offer an amendment (#2) to require, as a condition of receiving funding under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, that the demonstration projects utilize Internet-based or other open protocols and standards if available and appropriate (supposed to give more transparency in how the money will be used.) The amendment also requires that grant recipients utilize Internet-based or other open protocols and standards.

ADOPTED – VOICE VOTE

REP. BILL SHUSTER, R-PA., will offer an amendment (#3) to stipulate that funds received for transportation projects could not be used to replace funds already allocated by states for transportation projects.

ADOPTED – VOICE VOTE

REPS. JERROLD NADLER, D-N.Y, PETER A. DEFAZIO, D-OR, KEITH ELLISON, D-MN, MICHAEL E. MCMAHON, D-N.Y., & DANIEL LIPINSKI, D-IL., will offer an amendment (#4) to increase funding for mass transit by $3 billion.

ADOPTED – VOICE VOTE

REP. RANDY NEUGEBAUER, R-TX, will offer an amendment (#5) to strike the $355.9 billion of discretionary spending from the bill.

FAILED:  134 – 302

SEE ROLL CALL VOTE

REP. MAXINE WATERS, D-CA, will offer an amendment (#6) to provide that job training funds could be used for broadband deployment and related activities provided in the bill.

ADOPTED – VOICE VOTE

REP. JEFF FLAKE, R-AZ, will offer an amendment (#7) to strike the bill’s provisions that provide funding for Amtrak.

FAILED: 116-320

SEE ROLL CALL VOTE

REP. LARRY KISSEL, D-NC, will offer an amendment {# 8} to extend the Berry Amendment Extension Act to include the Department of Homeland Security when requiring the government to purchase employee uniforms from U.S. textile and apparel manufacturers.

ADOPTED – VOICE VOTE

REPS. TODD R. PLATTS, R-PA, & CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, D-MD, will offer an amendment (#9) to insert the text of HR 985 Whistleblower Protection Act, from the 110th Congress. The provisions provide protection to federal employees who lawfully disclose evidence of waste, abuse, or gross mismanagement that they believe is credible without restriction as to time, place, form, motive, context, or prior disclosure.

ADOPTED – VOICE VOTE

REP. HARRY TEAGUE, D-NM, will offer an amendment (#10) to require the public Web site “Recovery.gov”, which is created by the bill, to contain information and links on how to procure employment from entities and contractors receiving funds from the bill.

ADOPTED – VOICE VOTE

REPUBLICAN SUBSTITUTE OFFERED BY REPS DAVE CAMP, R-MI & ERIC CANTOR, R-VA:

The Camp/Cantor Substitute is different from the RSC’s Economic Recovery bill.

It does the following:

  • It lowers the bottom two income tax brackets to 5% from 10%, and to 10% from 15%.

  • It includes an AMT “patch” for the 2009 and 2010 tax years.

  • It gives individuals that do not have access to group health insurance policies who buy their own individual policies tax credits to offset their expenses.

  • Extends the $7,500 tax credit for first-time home buyers to December 31 from July 1, and it expands the credit to cover all purchases of primary residences.

  • It requires buyers to make at least a 5% downpayment to be eligible for the tax credit.

  • Like the bill, it permits businesses to “carryback” their operating losses in 2008 and 2009 for up to five years, rather than the two permitted under current law. Companies that received funds under the TARP, as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, would not be eligible for the longer carryback period.
  • It extends through 2010 the increased small business expensing rules under Section 179 of the tax code that were included in last year’s stimulus law (PL 110-185)

FAILED: 170-266

SEE ROLL CALL VOTE

REPUBLICAN MOTION TO RECOMMIT:

(Courtesy of the RSC)

The motion would recommit 1, the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act, back to the House Appropriations Committee with instructions that the committee report the bill back to the House floor forthwith (i.e. instantaneously) with an amendment that increases spending on certain programs by $60.3 billion and decreases spending on certain programs by $164 billion. 

On net, the legislation would reduce discretionary spending in the underlying bill by $103.7 billion.

The spending increases in the amendment are:  $24.3 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers (Construction), and an additional $36 billion for highway spending.

The amendment strikes $164 billion worth of spending in the bill.  A partial list of these reductions:  $3.5 billion for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants, $1 billion for the Advanced Battery Manufacturing Grants, $1 billion for the Advanced Battery Loan Guarantee Program, $4.5 billion for the “smart grid”, $79 billion for the state fiscal stabilization fund, $1.2 billion for Youth Summer Jobs Program Grants, $50 million for the National Endowment of the Arts, $200 million for Americorps, and $6.7 billion for the Federal Building Fund.

FAILED: 159-270

SEE ROLL CALL VOTE


FINAL HOUSE VOTE ON H.R. 1 – $819 BILLION IN SPENDING & TAX CUTS

PASSED: 244 – 188

SEE ROLL CALL VOTE

Published in: on January 28, 2009 at 4:20 pm  Comments (3)  

Friday, January 23: Markup of H.R. 598 – The American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Plan

On Friday, the Ways and Means Committe conducted their markup of H.R. 598, the American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.  The final bill is expected on the floor sometime next week. During the markup, Republican members of the committee proposed 18 amendments to be considered as part of the overall bill — ONLY 1 was agreed upon. The other 17 were rejected outright without ANY Democrats in support.

Check out a list of the18 amendments at the Committee on Ways and Means Republican website. Rep. Roskam’s amendment was the only one approved that inserts a GAO study into the bill to assess success of program in creating private sector jobs, etc.

What makes this worse are the statements from Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer claiming the bipartisan  nature of this markup:

“Outside of the White House today (Friday), Speaker Pelosi claimed that Republican voices have been heard in discussion of the House Democrats’ trillion-dollar spending bill.

“Majority Leader Hoyer went as far as to say, “This week, the Appropriations, Ways and Means, and Energy and Commerce Committees held markups on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to include important feedback from Members to improve the package.”

(Courtesy of Ways and Means Press)

It’d be one thing to reject the Republican amendments, but just flat out insulting to claim that the resulting bill is one of bipartisanship and collaboration. You can’t have it both ways.

Published in: on January 26, 2009 at 3:49 pm  Comments (4)