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Today in Washington – June 24, 2010

The DISCLOSE Act is on House floor today.  This bill chills the rights of Americans to band together in an organization and participate in the political process.  Sean Parnell of the Center for Competitive Politics said of this legislation, ”as the Rules Committee prepares to advance this speech-chilling bill to the House floor, its supporters are cynically misrepresenting the bill as simply providing transparency and avoiding all mentions of the many outright prohibitions on political speech it would impose on Americans.”  Legislation that restricts political speech in any manner is a restriction on the First Amendment rights of all Americans.

The House will be voting on the DISCLOSE Act today and a conference report dealing with sanctions against Iran.  The Senate continues to dither on the Tax Extenders bill containing an extension of unemployment benefits.  A conference continues on Financial Services Deform.  More Gulf hearings scheduled for today.

Issues for Conservatives to watch today:

  • DISCLOSE Act – The Center for Competitive Politics has a 19 page policy briefing for Americans to review on the DISCLOSE Act that will ”silence unfriendly voices as midterm elections approach.”  CCP describes the bill as follows: “The ‘DISCLOSE Act’ would (1) single out business groups for outright bans on political speech: government contractors would be prohibited from engaging in political speech as well as companies in the United States (even those with 80 percent of American shareholders) that attract  minimal foreign investment—no similar restrictions were included for labor unions with foreign connections, unions receiving government money or public employee unions negotiating for salaries and benefits; (2) create a far more onerous and vague disclosure regime than the Supreme Court cited in Citizens United, deterring grassroots groups from speaking out in midterm campaigns; and (3) explicitly sow chaos and confusion among those attempting to comply with campaign finance law by mandating that the law go into effect without clarification by the FEC of numerous vague and undefined provisions as well as slowing down the judicial review process.”  The House is expected to vote on this legislation today.
  • Tax Extenders - One of the hold ups for the Tax Extenders bill on the Senate floor this week is the issue of “Doc Fix.”  The Hill reports that “Senate Democratic leaders have returned the doc fix provision to the tax extenders bill they’re trying to push through the upper chamber this week.”  “Doc Fix” is legislation that changes the reimbursement rate for doctors treating Medicare patients and many doctors argue that the rates are set too low.  The Senate approach allows for a higher rate of reimbursement through election day.  The Hill reports that “House Democratic leaders have been sitting on (a Senate passed “Doc Fix” bill) in order to pressure Senate centrists to pass the tax package.”  This is a $6 billion dollar game of chicken being played between the House and Senate. Conservatives need to keep a close eye to see if Congress will pay for all of these new spending programs.  It looks as if the tax exenders bill will not pass the Seante this week.

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