Obama and his minions have always and ever used distraction to push their more horrific project, and this debt ceiling distraction is a real winner for them. See what has been going on in the background while we and TV news has been watching elsewhere. Or maybe you have been like me and tuning it all out! BB
On the floor: Meanwhile, the full House continues to debate the 2012 Interior and Environment appropriations bill, which Democrats say is the worst environmental bill to come before the House — ever. The bill contains 39 riders limiting the ability of the EPA to regulate; Democrats are attempting to strip out as many as possible.
Reviewing regulators: The Senate Banking Committee will be getting its vet on tomorrow, welcoming three nominees the White House wants to put at the center of the government’s financial regulation.
The trio scheduled to be on hand are: Martin Gruenberg, tapped to replace Sheila Bair at the top of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Thomas Curry, the choice for next comptroller of the currency; and Roy Woodall, the pick for insurance expert on the new Financial Stability Oversight Council. Financial regulatory nominees have had a rocky road in confirmation battles lately — here’s looking at you, Peter Diamond and Richard Cordray — so keep an eye open to see if these three fare better.
Consumption!: Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential candidate, is one of a deep bench — nine witnesses overall — talking consumption taxes at House Ways and Means tomorrow.
Huckabee and two others will discuss the Fair Tax, the idea of replacing federal taxes with a sizable national sales tax. The rest of the panelists will discuss the Value Added Tax, a consumption tax that has sparked skepticism from both the right and the left in this country. All that said, the VAT is quite popular in much of the rest of the industrialized world — where, perhaps not coincidentally, most countries also have a lower corporate tax rate.
If at first you don’t succeed … Senate Finance is going back to the well for a hearing on deficit reduction, three weeks or so after the debate over the pending trade deals caused the postponement of a previously scheduled discussion. Peter Orszag, the former White House budget director, is not scheduled to testify this time around, but Finance will hear from liberal and conservative experts.
Speaking of which: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is taking its case on those trade deals — with South Korea, Panama and Colombia — to Capitol Hill, holding a rally to help push for their passage. The agreements remained stalled due to disagreements over whether they should be linked to the Trade Adjustment Assistance program.
The briefing room: A more conservative group of congressional Republicans will be gathering tomorrow to unveil legislation that would tell the president what bills to pay if the government hits the debt ceiling. Under the bill, the administration would have to prioritize payments for debt service, Social Security and military pay before attending to other obligations. The RSC’s Jordan, Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and others will be on hand to roll out EFFCUSPASSA — that’s the Ensuring the Full Faith and Credit of the United States and Protecting America’s Soldiers and Seniors Act, for those of you scoring at home.
Fed fulminating: Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) will return to the fertile grounds of Federal Reserve bashing on Tuesday, with his House Financial Services subcommittee exploring how the central bank’s monetary policy affects the economy.
Specifically, the panel will discuss inflation, unemployment and the potential for a third round of “quantitative easing.” The Fed has said it is prepared to pump more stimulus into the economy if needed, but Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, has emphasized that nothing is in the works immediately. Thomas Hoenig, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and no fan of the last QE experience, will be on hand to testify.
Risky renting: A second House Financial Services subcommittee will train its sights on the rent-to-own industry Tuesday, as lawmakers explore what regulators should or shouldn’t be doing as they monitor the agency.
Preparing for the floor: The House Rules Committee will meet to set up a bill that wades in to the spat between Boeing and the National Labor Relations Board over whether the aerospace giant shifted work to a South Carolina plant to punish union action in Washington state.
Last week, the House Education and the Workforce Committee marked up legislation sponsored by Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) that not only bars the NLRB from shifting Boeing work back to Washington, but prohibits “ordering any employer to close, relocate or transfer employment under any circumstance.”
— Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) has a briefing of his own planned, titled “Eliminating the Debt and Creating Jobs without Raising Taxes.”
— Christine Lagarde, the new IMF chief, headlines an early morning Council on Foreign Relations conference call on the world economy.
— A Senate Judiciary subcommittee looks at the economic case for and against immigration reform.
— And dozens of religious figures head to the Hill for a prayer vigil on ensuring the poor don’t have to shoulder the burden of a debt deal.
— Standard & Poor’s is scheduled to release its Case–Shiller 20-city home price index for May.
— The Commerce Department is slated to circulate its report on new privately owned one-family houses sold and for sale in June, as the housing market struggles to show any improvement.
— And the Conference Board is set to drop its consumer confidence index for July, a way to examine potential spending habits of consumers, which represents 70 percent of the economy.
It’s not just in Washington: Concern about debt is everywhere. A new Associated Press/GfK poll found that one in five are worried about debt practically all the time, and more than one in three say they won’t be able to pay off their credit card bill.
And a break from the debt ceiling: Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), Ways and Means member and Senate candidate, has introduced her own bill to allow U.S. multinationals to bring offshore profits home at a reduced tax rate, Bloomberg reports.
The lowest possible rate in the bill, 5.25 percent, matches the rate in a previous holiday and the one called for in another House proposal in this area. But a company’s rate could be as high as 25 percent under the plan, depending on its hiring practices.
WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:
On the Money’s Monday:
— Jim DeMint on Reid/Boehner plans: They’re both no good.
— IMF: The debt ceiling must be raised.
— The White House turns its head toward criminal syndicates.
— The IRS reverses course on its innocent-spouse policy.
— Joint Economic Committee: 32 states added private-sector jobs in June.
— House Oversight set to take a look at excess federal property.
— And audit finds the IRS needs to tighten up on homebuyer credit.
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