Folks – The Washington establishment might want a deal, but Americans want a solution. And there is only one solution out there: Cut, Cap, and Balance. Today’s actions in the Senate reveal two facts loud and clear: we are winning and they are scared. Harry Reid might have found a procedural trick to give Senate liberals a time out from reality, but we are only 4 Democrat votes away from ending the debt crisis, and keeping our AAA rating. Americans should put tremendous pressure on the House to stay strong and hold the line, and on Senate Democrats to have the courage to have a full debate and fair vote. Cut, Cap, and Balance is the only solution, it is bipartisan, it is the compromise, and—with your help—we are truly on the cusp of victory. The fight continues!
Weekly Wrap Up
*Some information provided courtesy of the House Republican Conference
Cut, Cap, and Balance — On Tuesday, the House passed H.R. 2560 by a bipartisan vote of 234-190. The Cut, Cap, and Balance Act limits discretionary budget authority to $1.019 trillion in FY 2012, a reduction of $30.38 billion below the FY 2011 amount. The bill limits total FY 2012 outlays to $1.224 trillion. Excluding funding for Defense, Homeland Security, and Military Construction/Veterans Affairs, discretionary budget authority for FY 2012 is reduced below FY 2008 levels. However, these levels serve as discretionary spending ceilings, not floors. Thus, Congress would still have the authority to lower discretionary spending further. H.R. 2560 provides for discretionary budget authority to be adjusted by $126 billion in FY 2012 for spending related to the global war on terrorism. The bill also places caps on total spending after FY 2012 as a percentage of GDP, as estimated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), reaching 19.9 percent by fiscal year 2021. Lastly, the bill prohibits the Secretary of Treasury from increasing the debt limit until the Archivist of the United States transmits to the states a qualifying Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) to the Constitution that has been approved in both chambers of Congress and is ready to be presented to the states for ratification. Under the legislation, a qualifying BBA would include a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, contain a spending limitation as a percentage of GDP, and require that tax increases be approved by a two-thirds vote by both chambers of Congress.
FAA Reauthorization — On Wednesday, July 20, the House approved H.R. 2553 by a vote of 243-177. The Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2011 Part IV extends, through September 16, 2011, the authorities of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which are currently set to expire on July 22, 2011. The bill extends the authority to expend funds from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund through September 17, 2011. The bill also extends taxes on aviation fuel, domestic and international ticket taxes, and taxes on cargo shipped by air. Currently, these taxes are set to expire July 22, 2011. Additionally, the bill would authorize to be appropriated $3.38 billion for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) for the period beginning on October 1, 2010, and ending September 16, 2011. On an annualized basis, the bill would authorize approximately $3.5 billion in AIP contract authority for FY 2011. The House recently approved H.R. 2279, a short-term extension of FAA authorization, by unanimous consent on June 24, 2011. On February 27, 2011, the Senate approved S.232, a full FAA authorization bill by a vote of 87-8. The House approved an alternative version, H.R. 658, FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011, by a vote of 223-196 on April 1, 2011. A conference committee is expected to report a final agreement soon.
Consumer Financial Protection Reforms — Yesterday, the House approved H.R. 1315 by a vote of 241-173. The Consumer Financial Safety and Soundness Improvement Act establishes a bi-partisan, five-member Commission (consisting of a Chairman and four additional members) to carry out all of the duties that would otherwise fall to the Director of the CFPB. The bill makes structural changes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and improves the Financial Stability Oversight Council review process of the CFPB’s rulemaking. The bill also amends Section 1062 of the Dodd-Frank Act to delay any further transfer of powers to the CFPB until the date on which the Chair of the Commission of the Bureau is confirmed by the Senate. The CFPB was created by the Dodd-Frank Act as an independent agency within the Federal Reserve but was designed in a way to escape oversight and accountability. The CFPB will be a large and powerful agency with more than 1,000 federal employees. Under current law, the Bureau’s Director will have the sole authority to spend hundreds of millions of dollars without Congressional approval, and the ability to decide which financial products and services are available to American consumers. Conservatives must continue to call for the FULL REPEAL of Dodd-Frank.
FY2012 Legislative Branch Appropriations — Today, the House passed H.R. 2551 by a vote of 252-159. The Legislative Branch Appropriations Act of FY 2012 provides a total of $3.32 billion in discretionary budget authority for all non-Senate Legislative Branch activities, which is $227 million or 6.4 percent below FY 2011 levels and $471.7 million or 12.4 percent below the president’s requested level. The House and Senate traditionally determine their own funding separately and concur with each other’s bill in a conference committee. According to House Report 112-148, which accompanies the legislation, the Senate appropriations estimate is $1.058 billion. Thus, when the Senate portion of the appropriation of the bill is included, the total amount of discretionary budget authority for all Legislative Branch activity would be approximately $4.38 billion in FY 2012. The bill would cut the spending in this title by 9 percent from FY 2010 spending levels, returning this Subcommittee’s spending levels to $111 million below FY09 levels. This marks the largest-ever, two-year reduction for this bill, $329 million in total.
The Week Ahead
FY 2012 Department of Interior Appropriations – Next week, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 2584, the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2012. The bill includes a total of $19.9 billion in funding for the agencies, which is nearly $2 billion or 9 percent below last year’s level, nearly $6 billion below the President’s fiscal year 2012 request, and more than $700 million below the level enacted in 2008. The bill provides funding for a number of agencies, including the Department of Interior (DOI), the EPA, the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Indian Health Service, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Smithsonian. The RSC is very likely to offer an amendment that would reduce spending by an additional $2.73 billion to reflect the RSC Balanced Budget levels. This would represent a further cut of 9.93% from the base bill. We ask that you support and score this amendment.
Energy Security – We will also vote on H.R. 1938, the North American-Made Energy Security Act. The bill would expedite a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, a project that would allow millions of barrels of Canadian oil supplies to flow into U.S. markets. Specifically, the legislation would require the President to issue a final Presidential Permit decision by November 1, 2011. Completion of the pipeline extension would increase America’s access to safe and secure energy supplies. The project would more than double the current pipeline’s capacity, bringing more than 1.2 million barrels per day into U.S. markets and creating more than 100,000 American jobs.
NLRB Bill, Protecting Jobs from Government – Also next week, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 2587, the Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act, offered by RSC freshman Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC). The bill would prohibit the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from ordering an employer to restore or reinstate any work or employee, or from requiring investment in a particular plant or facility. The bill is in response to a complaint filed in April of this year by the NLRB against the Boeing corporation for its decision to locate a production facility in South Carolina, a “right-to-work” state. The NLRB is seeking to force the company to keep its production in Washington, where the workforce is unionized. Regarding the bill, House Education and Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) said “Republicans refuse to allow federal bureaucrats to reverse the business decisions of employers. The Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act takes a critical step to provide employers with the certainty they need to put Americans back to work, right here at home.”
(Provided by the RSC)
Next week is a good time to reach your Senator in your home State. Reach out or drop by and ask them to bring the "Cut, Cap and Balance Act" to the floor to debate and vote.
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