Congress Watch this week so far. (see bottom of post) BB
Posted October 13, 2011on:
Dear Lord but one can not take one’s eye off of Congress for one day and I have been remiss lately. Sorry! You may want to become familiar with some of the recent happening. senate Democrats are following their leader and doing all they can to stall any activity even to get the economy moving so Obama can blame the Republicans for “doing nothing”. There is only one thing wrong with this tactic: THE AMERICAN PUBLIC ARE NOT FOOLS!! I think perhaps I need to amend this to exclude the fools who are now using a park in Manhattan as a toilet. The stuff coming out of their mouths very much resembles that coming from their nether regions! BB
Supercommittee: The deficit supercommittee is running out of time — it is at the halfway point between the first post-Labor Day meetings and the Nov. 23 deadline for a report. Sources say the group is still debating fundamentals such as which budget baseline to use and whether to tackle fundamental tax code reform. With colleagues itching for information, details could start to emerge at party meetings on Wednesday. (The President called a Deficit Committee that did an excellent job of making suggestions to save our economy, our entitlements and our country. Obama ignored them and now Congress is totally ignoring them. BB)
This week other committees will have a chance to weigh in by Friday. Don’t expect any assistance from the House Appropriations or Budget committee, though, aides say — Budget Republicans believe they have already laid out their vision in the House-passed budget. and appropriators see little chance the supercommittee will re-open the debate on discretionary spending, their bailiwick.
So far Senate Finance Republicans have been clear they are looking to make recommendations, and the House Armed Services Committee will submit recommendations. Defense hawks have a lot riding on the supercommittee’s success, since a failure to make $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts by Nov. 23 would result in automatic Defense cuts in 2013 and beyond.
And, as The Hill’s Healthwatch, E2 Wire and Hillicon Valley reported Tuesday, Energy and Commerce ranking member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) has gone forward with his recommendations, including that the administration ramp up spectrum sales. House Financial Services is still mulling making its views known, while Senate Banking is unlikely to make a report.
Volcker rule: The Securities and Exchange Commission will follow the lead set by the Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) and sign off on proposed rules implementing the Volcker Rule — a major component of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law intended at keeping banks from engaging in potentially risky practices. The Fed and FDIC rolled out a roughly 300-page proposal Tuesday, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission will soon offer up its own take. (Dodd-Frank is a diasater of a bill and this Volcker Rule is one of the worst aspects of this legislation. BB)
Capital in the Capitol: The House Financial Services Committee will spend part of Wednesday discussing a bill offered by House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) that is intended to make it easier for small businesses to access capital. Currently, companies looking to sell securities to raise cash either have to register with the government or must qualify to be exempted from registration. Companies exempt from registration cannot engage in “general solicitation” of their securities, and can only tap investors they already know. McCarthy wants to scrap that requirement, opening the door for companies to look far and wide for potential investors. (This is great but like all else coming from the House it is dead on arrival in the Dem. Senate. Government needs to get its fingers out of the business of businesses! BB)
Prior to that subcommittee hearing, another FinServ panel will discuss the stability of the Federal Home Loan Bank System. Those 12 government-sponsored banks were created by Congress in the 1930s, and exist to help ensure access to housing and community lending.
Fed time: On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve will pull back the curtain on “Operation Twist,” as it releases the details from the meeting that set the new policy. The minutes of the most recent meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee will shine a light on the central bank’s latest bid to boost the economy by buying up long-term bonds while selling shorter securities.
GOP lawmakers explicitly asked the Fed before it announced its decision not to interfere in the economy. However, three committee members dissented from that decision, and tomorrow’s minutes could help flesh out some of those concerns, as well as other Fed thinking.
Budget process reform: The Senate Budget Committee is preparing to recommend budget process changes to the supercommittee, including a switch to two-year budgets. Some members of the committee want also to recommend that the president be required to sign the annual budget resolution (he or she currently only signs the appropriations bills developed according to the budget framework). Members also want to beef up consequences for failure to pass a budget, something the Senate has not done in about 900 days. The committee will hold a hearing on possible changes.
Disaster relief redux: Senate Appropriations will revisit the controversial issue of federal disaster-relief assistance in a hearing featuring Craig Fugate, the Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee’s Homeland Security subpanel, is pushing for about $5 billion more disaster relief funding for FEMA for 2012 than was approved in the last temporary spending bill. A fight over offsetting disaster relief in that bill almost shut down the government at the beginning of the month.
The GOP is less likely to insist on offsets going forward since the August debt-ceiling deal allows up to $11 billion in extra disaster funding in 2012 without offsets.
More Obama jobs-bashing: The House Transportation Committee will hold a hearing to blast President Obama for calling for a national infrastructure bank. The idea has support from labor unions and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, but the opposing view will get a full hearing on Wednesday.
Dodd-Frank do-over: The House Agriculture Committee will continue poking and prodding the Dodd-Frank financial reform law Wednesday, specifically the portion that affects commodities and financial derivatives. A number of financial market gurus will be on hand to offer their take as lawmakers debate seven different bills that would make various changes to the Wall Street overhaul.
WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:
— Cantor urges White House to weigh in on China currency bill
— Waxman’s draft of supercommittee recommendations includes spectrum auctions
— Waxman urges supercommittee to leave Medicaid and Medicare alone, extend drug rebates
— Chamber to score vote on Obama jobs bill
— Shaheen likely to miss Jobs Act vote
— Levin: Repatriation helps few corporations at expense of many
— Economist Zandi: Recession odds high even with jobs bill
— Obama’s jobs council gives cautious endorsement to Keystone pipeline (We are now getting a large portion of of imported oil from our northern neighbor Canada. This may save us from the rape we have suffered at the hands of the Middle Eastern countries. BUT, why in Hell are we not drilling for and pumping our own oil? I have screamed for months that the one act by the government to get the economy moving and create millions of jobs is simply to take the handcuffs (regulations) off of our oil, natural gas and coal industries. These industries offer high paying jobs themselves and the side effects from all this money entering the economy will kick start a whole host of supporting and supplying and just plain entertainment businesses. BB
— Obama jobs council offers up proposals appealing to GOP
— Regulators roll out Volcker Rule regulations