This Week in Washington – February 13, 2012
Today is President Obama’s FY 2013 budget roll out day. This last budget was unanimously defeated by the Senate last year and we should expect a similar result this year. According to news reports, the $3.8 trillion budget will contain about $1.4 trillion in higher taxes.
The House and Senate will take up a bloated highway bills. The Senate will take up a judicial nomination to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and we shall see if Senate Republicans put up any fight. Don’t hold your breath.
The House is scheduled to start on Tuesday with three votes on the Suspension Calendar. The three votes to name three post offices (H.R. 2079, H.R. 3247, and H.R. 3248). On Wednesday, and the remainder of the week, the House will be working on H.R. 7, the highway bill. Other bills on the agenda are a conference report on the payroll tax bill, H.R. 3630, and other bills in conference.
Daniel Horowitz has written a piece titled “Boehner’s Bailout: The Highway to Hell” where he argues that the House version of the highway bill is a big bailout of the highway “trust fund.”
This 5-year (2012-2016) surface transportation reauthorization bill, H.R. 7, will commit $262.8 billion in spending through 2016, even though the revenue from the user-pay taxes (gas tax and other highway related taxes and fees) will only reach $193.2 billion over the same period. Even working with CBO’s numbers, which don’t account for FY 2012, there will still be a $55.2 billion deficit over 4 years ($210.3 billion in contract authority vs. $155.1 billion in revenue).
The Senate’s highway bill will be far worse according to Horowitz.
Senate Republicans have already agreed to an even worse bill – one which also raises taxes. What incentives do Democrats have to cooperate with the House bill, once we commit to the higher spending levels? In fact, they will invariably strip the bill of other good reforms, such as the elimination of the 10% “transportation enhancements” mandate on the states. Don’t fall for the trap, House Republicans. We’ve seen this rodeo before.
The Senate is also scheduled to vote on cloture on the nomination of Adalberto Jose Jordan to be U.S. District Judge for the 11th Circuit. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) seems to be the only Senator willing to block all nominees until the unconstitutionally appointed members of the NLRB and CFPB.
The President’s budget has already come under fire from House and Senate Republicans. The House and Senate Budget Committee Republicans have put out a summary with the following points as to the 10 year impact of the President’s policies mapped out in his budget:
- President Obama’s budget spends $47 trillion over the next 10 years;
- Spends $3.8 trillion in FY13;
- Spends $5.8 trillion in FY 22;
- Increases spending by $1.5 trillion over the next ten years;
- President Obama’s budget taxes $1.9 trillion more over the next ten years;
- Hikes taxes by $1.4 trillion in income taxes;
- Hikes taxes by $143 billion in death taxes;
- Hikes other miscellaneous taxes by $340 billion;
- President Obama’s budget increases borrowing by $11 trillion over the next 10 years;
- Increases debt by $1.3 trillion in FY12;
- Will add up to a staggering $6.2 trillion in debt during Obama’s four years in office;
- Expected debt at end of FY22 is $25.9 trillion.
- President Obama’s budget has a built in gimmick to use the wind down in Iraq and Afghanistan as a $1 trillion in savings; and,
- Does not complete the 2009 promise of President Obama to cut the deficit in half in his first term.
Expect a good portion of the week to be dedicated to dissecting the President’s budget. The President’s allies will argue that Republicans are going obstruct and block the President’s plans to increase spending, raise taxes and burden future generations with crushing debt. We shall see who wins the debate.