This Week in Washington — March 5, 2012
The Senate will work through a Senate version of a highway funding bill this week. The House has a relatively light schedule. This week will dominated with discussion about “Super Tuesday” and President Obama’s Tuesday press conference intended to steal the press corps on “Super Tuesday.”
The House is working on a bill that will partially repeal ObamaCare. The Senate is continuing work on a highway bill that spends too much, borrows too much and taxes too much. The Senate is voting on another judge today and this will be another test for Senate Republicans to see if they will be willing to stand up to President Obama’s recess appointment from early January.
The House has three suspension votes scheduled for today. The House will vote this evening on three bills to rename buildings: H.R. 3637, a post office naming bill; H.R. 3413, a post office naming bill; and, S. 1710, a courthouse naming bill.
Tuesday and the remainder of the week the House will vote on a few bills. H.R. 4105, a bill to impose tariffs on non-free market economies. The Club for Growth believes that this will escalate a trade war with China that will result in higher prices for American importers and consumers. The House is also expected to vote on H.R. 2842, Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act. The House is also expected to vote on H.R. 3606, a small business bill.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee will be marking up a bill to repeal a provision of Obamacare. The bill, H.R. 452, repeals the Independent Payment Advisory Board. With news last week that the Senate is not expected to schedule votes on full repeal this year, some are concerned that the piecemeal repeal of ObamaCare strategy may doom efforts for a full repeal of ObamaCare in 2013. Although, the Senate failed to pass Sen. Roy Blunt’s amendment to the highway bill that would have stopped President Obama’s attack on religious institutions through ObamaCare, the IPAB repeal bill is expected to have a better shot of passing both the House and Senate. Some conservatives firmly believe that partial repeal efforts may doom the long term fight for full repeal of ObamaCare.
The Senate will have a cloture vote on an amendment by Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) on his version of a 2 year $109 billion authorization for highway funding. The current highway authorization will end at the end of March. If this amendment fails, expect Congress to pass a short term extension of the bill. The House five year $260 billion authorization did not have sufficient spending cuts for conservatives. If the Reid Amendment fails, expect a short term extension to pass so congress can have a few more months to work through a bill.
On Friday, two votes were scheduled on two federal district court judges: Mary E. Phillips of Missouri; and Thomas O. Rice of Washington. This will be another test of Republicans to see if they are going to join Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) to fight President Obama’s unconstitutional recess appointments from January.
The defense industry and labor unions have joined together to fight for a strong national defense that will aid national security. Cuts to defense programs will harm long term efforts to protect America. The Obama Administration wants to gut our national defense and conservatives in Congress are putting up a strong fight to retain the idea of “Peace through Strength.”
Labor unions and the defense industry are fighting to fully fund national defense. This is necessary because the deal Republicans and Democrats struck to pass the debt limit increase imposed an automatic across the board cut to defense spending (the Sequester). The group Second to None will be having a press conference this Wednesday to discuss the harm the defense sequester will impose on our national defense.
The Aerospace Industries Association and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers will release a report on the threat to defense as a result of cuts to defense. It is important to understand how cuts to troop levels and proposed cuts to projects that make our nation safer are the wrong place to find money to balance the budget.