This Week in Washington – September 27, 2010
The House has no votes scheduled for Monday and 63 suspension votes scheduled for Tuesday. On Wednesday and Thursday the House is expected to consider H.R. 847, the James Zagroda 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, H.R. 2378, the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act, and the Senate Amendment to H.R. 3081, the State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Act. The Senate Amendment will be a continuing resolution to keep the government running past October 1st.
The Senate will debate on the motion to proceed to S.3816, “a bill to create American jobs and to prevent the offshoring of such jobs.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has scheduled a live quorum call for 7pm tonight and this will necessitate all members being in the chamber. The Senate is expected to work on the Continuing Resolution for a good portion of this week. It does not look probable that there will be a vote on extending any tax cuts before the recess, but it is still possible.
Two big issues to watch for this week are taxes and the Continuing Resolution. The New York Daily News reports that “Top Democrats Pelosi, Axelrod, Durbin offer differing takes on when tax-cut vote will be scheduled.” If the Democrat Leadership can’t agree, then there is no way to know if a vote on keeping taxes low is going to happen before the election, after the election or next year. The smart money is that Democrats will not schedule a vote before the recess.
According to Daily News Republicans are pushing for a vote to extend all of the tax cuts and, as of last week, a vote on extending some or all of the tax cuts seemed possible:
“The Congress has an opportunity this week to end some of the uncertainty by allowing the American people to know what the tax rates are going to be at the end of the year,” House Minority leader John Boehner said on “Fox News Sunday.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had hinted last week that Democrats might vote on extending tax cuts for both the middle class and the wealthiest Americans before the election.
Then the confusing message got more confusing when Democrat leadership types went on the Sunday talk shows with differing messages. Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) was quoted on NBC saying:
We are absolutely gonna get this done before the end of the year. We may well take it up before the midterms.
House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) was quoted on Fox News Sunday saying (as quoted in Daily News):
“I doubt that we will” vote before the election.
Others added to the confusion. David Alexrod, President Obama’s Sunday spinner, appeared on “This Week” claiming that Rs were holding up tax cuts for middle class, notwithstanding the fact that the President’s minions in the House and Senate have yet to schedule a vote. I am shocked that Axelrod didn’t stammer into his usual blame Bush talking points. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Majority Whip, told CNN that the Senate would take up the issue before the end of the year. This disjointed message is clear evidence that Democrats message on tax cuts is to blame Republicans then go home. Don’t expect a vote on tax cuts this week.
The real fight this week will be over the Continuing Resolution (CR) that has to be passed by Congress and signed into law before October 1st. A Continuing Resolution is an appropriations measure that continues funding for the federal government and the current appropriations authority for the federal government expires on October 1st. The text of the CR has yet to be released to the public and it will be interesting to see of Congressional Democrats load it up with funding requests or if it comes in clean. A “Clean CR” would be a bill to extend funding for the government at last years levels into December and if the two parties can agree to a “Clean CR,” expect the Congress to adjourn quietly later this week until after the November Elections.
Congressman Tom Price (R-GA), Chairman of the Republican Study Committee, has crafted a conservative CR that would save the taxpayers billions. As I described it in Human Events today:
Price’s plan would cut back spending to fiscal 2008 levels, an amount that would end the Obama spending spree. The plan holds non-security discretionary spending down at 2008 levels, would defund Obamacare and end earmarks. Furthermore, the plan would protect defense spending and protect pro-life values measures that would not allow federal funds to pay for abortions. This plan is in stark contrast to the pork-filled Continuing Resolution that Speaker Pelosi and Senate Leader Reid are expected to roll out this week.
Price’s plan is excellent and bold. Let’s hope that little mischief is done by liberals in the waning days of this Congress and the last days many of the lefties in Congress have a job.