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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Speaker Boehner - Today Addressing
"Fiscal Cliff" House Solution Bills
Today in Washington, D.C. - Dec. 20, 2012:
This morning, senators gathered in the Capitol rotunda for a memorial ceremony for the late Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii.

The Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 1, the vehicle for a supplemental pork laden appropriations bill for relief Hurricane Sandy as well as other project NOT related to relief for Hurricane Sandy victims. Last night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) decided to cut off the amendment process, filed a substitute amendment to the bill, and filled the amendment tree. Reid then filed for cloture (to cut off debate) on his amendment.  If an agreement can be reached on amendments, votes are possible today.

According to The Hill today, Sen. John Kerry, a senior Democrat, is saying that one of the most controversial provisions in the Hurricane Sandy relief bill that seems to have the least to do with recovery for the Northeast, $150 million for fisheries, apparently must be included for the Democrat-controlled Senate to pass the bill.

The Hill reports, “Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) said the emergency-spending bill for Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts won’t pass unless money for fisheries is included. ‘This legislation is not going to pass without the inclusion of this money, point blank,’ Kerry said on the floor Wednesday. . . . The bill includes $150 million for fisheries in states that have disaster declarations, including Mississippi and Alaska — states not hit by Hurricane Sandy.”

Democrats who back this extra spending have been insisting to reporters that it’s not pork. “Kerry, along with Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), said Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has introduced an amendment to the bill that would jeopardize the funding for those fisheries that have been hit by bad weather and reduced stocks this year. The Democratic senators said this $150 million wasn’t pork, but disaster relief that has been ‘thoroughly vetted.’ ‘I like earmarks, but this is not an earmark,’ Begich said. ‘This takes nothing away from Superstorm Sandy … but this was also a disaster in a different making.’”

Yesterday, Sen. Chuck Schumer, a member of Democrat leadership, was claiming to the New York Post that “Everything in this package is disaster related.” “Schumer also defended the spending, which includes $150 million for Alaska fisheries, as a way for the federal government to fund disaster relief. Also included in the package is $125 million designated for a watershed program to combat wildfires and droughts, $50 million for tree-planting on private properties, and $20 million for a national water study. "

Democrats sure seem wedded to all the spending they’ve stuffed in the Sandy bill. After Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and other Republican senators filed amendments to strip some of this unpaid for spending, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blocked amendments to the bill. While it is imperative to get help to families and communities in the Northeast struggling to recover from a devastating hurricane, Senate Democrats seem to be signaling that their priority is to push through billions in extra pet spending verses getting financial assistance quickly to those who need it.  In fact this is another example of Democrat bullying, reverting back to the old ways of of supporting big government spending by inserting thing into bills unrelated to the topic at hand.

The House is in session but the leadership is focused on efforts to resolve going over the "fiscal cliff." Speaker Boehner said this morning that: “The House Will Act Today & It Will Be Up to Senate Democrats & the White House to Act”
The Speaker highlighted two bills the House will pass today to cut spending and protect American families and small businesses from President Obama’s fiscal cliff tax hikes. Speaker Boehner made clear that, following passage of these bills, the onus will be on the president and Senate Democrats to take action – or take responsibility for the largest tax increase in American history.

This morning, Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson urged the House of Representatives to support an amendment to the Speaker's Plan B bill. He said, "Republicans must not fall into the trap of increasing taxes and doing nothing to cut spending. The Jordan-Scalise-Mulvaney amendment to the House bill will make tax relief permanent for all Americans, averting the fiscal cliff, and address the dire state of the nation's finances through real spending reductions. The Senate is going to reject the so-called Plan B anyway. The House might as well give them something that actually solves the real problem—which is spending—instead of a tax increase on job creators that will wreck the economy and drive investment overseas. Even if Plan B passes the House, everyone's taxes are still going to go up at the end of the year, and Republicans will still get blamed if we go over the cliff."

"Republicans are missing an opportunity to lead the nation on real fiscal reform. There should not be a single tax increase on any American when the government will be borrowing $1 trillion every year for the rest of our lifetimes until we can no longer afford to service it. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, conservatives and Republicans need to raise the banner of bold colors, not pale pastels."

Also, today, the House will take up consideration of conference reports on variations between the Senate and House versions of the Senate amendment to the joint resolution (H.J. Res. 66) approving the renewal of import restrictions contained in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003, and providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 6684) to provide for spending reduction. And, "Providing for consideration of the conference report to accompany the bill (H.R. 4310) to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2013 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes. Most members want the DOD and DOE appropriations resolved before recessing for Christmas.

Yesterday, as predicted the House passed a lot of bills in an effort to clear many before Christmas and knowing the Senate will most likely not take up most of these bills unless they happen to be embedded in other bills considered by the Senate during these final days of the current session of Congress. Below is a summary of yesterdays passed items -- minus Eleven passed bills designating or naming Federal facilities and Mt. Andrea Lawrence:
S. 1440 (Voice Vote) — "To reduce preterm labor and delivery and the risk of pregnancy-related deaths and complications due to pregnancy, and to reduce infant mortality caused by prematurity."
H.R. 6672 (383-16) — "To reauthorize certain programs under the Public Health Service Act and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to public health security and all-hazards preparedness and response, and for other purposes."
H.R. 1845 (401-3) — "To provide for a study on issues relating to access to intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) for Medicare beneficiaries in all care settings and a demonstration project to examine the benefits of providing coverage and payment for items and services necessary to administer IVIG in the home."
H. Res. 668 (398-5) — "To refer H.R. 5862, a bill making congressional reference to the United States Court of Federal Claims pursuant to sections 1492 and 2509 of title 28, United States Code, the Indian trust-related claims of the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma (O-Gah-Pah) as well as its individual members."
S. 2170 (Voice Vote) — "To amend the provisions of title 5, United States Code, which are commonly referred to as the "Hatch Act" to eliminate the provision preventing certain State and local employees from seeking elective office, clarify the application of certain provisions to the District of Columbia, and modify the penalties which may be imposed for certain violations under subchapter III of chapter 73 of that title."
H.R. 1509 (Voice Vote) — "To amend title II of the Social Security Act to prohibit the inclusion of Social Security account numbers on Medicare cards."
H.R. 6655 (330-77) — "To establish a commission to develop a national strategy and recommendations for reducing fatalities resulting from child abuse and neglect."
S. 3564 (409-1) — "To extend the Public Interest Declassification Act of 2000 until 2018 and for other purposes." and S. 2170 — "To amend the provisions of title 5, United States Code, which are commonly referred to as the "Hatch Act" to eliminate the provision preventing certain State and local employees from seeking elective office, clarify the application of certain provisions to the District of Columbia, and modify the penalties which may be imposed for certain violations under subchapter III of chapter 73 of that title."
H.R. 6016 (402-2) — "To amend title 5, United States Code, to provide for administrative leave requirements with respect to Senior Executive Service employees, and for other purposes." and  S. 2170 — "To amend the provisions of title 5, United States Code, which are commonly referred to as the "Hatch Act" to eliminate the provision preventing certain State and local employees from seeking elective office, clarify the application of certain provisions to the District of Columbia, and modify the penalties which may be imposed for certain violations under subchapter III of chapter 73 of that title."
H. Res. 839 (Voice Vote) — "Relating to the death of the Honorable Daniel K. Inouye, a Senator from the State of Hawaii."

Tags: Senate, Sandy Bill, pork, Us House, Speakers bill, fiscal cliff, end of session, legislation, Military appropriations, taxes, government spending To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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