The Leader's Ledger

Posted by Brian Patrick on

Good morning, 

Today, the House has the opportunity to move forward on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution that will begin to manage down our nation’s $15 trillion debt. To ensure the long-term health of the economy, we need to address the mounting debt that is burdening taxpayers and hindering economic growth and job creation. Two years ago, President Obama’s proposed a budget bearing the ironic title “A New Era of Responsibility,” and since that time this Administration’s spending policies have added $4.4 trillion to the debt. With total national debt nearing total GDP, now is the time to act on the balanced budget amendment to ensure this generation, and the next, have the opportunity to achieve prosperity.

Today In History: In 1978, Billy Joel earned his first #1 album when his sixth release, 52nd Street, hit the top of the Billboard pop chart. 52nd Street was the highly anticipated follow-up to Joel's 1977 breakthrough album The Stranger, which had achieved Platinum status and made Joel a household name.

Birthdays: Rep. Tom Reed, Owen Wilson, Sinbad, Chloë Sevigny and Megyn Kelly

Here is what’s in today’s Ledger ...

State Of Play: House Set To Vote On Bipartisan BBA To Help Get The Nation’s Finances In Order

The Goodlatte BBA Is A Bipartisan Solution To Get The Nation’s Fiscal House In Order. Conservatives are rallying in support of a balanced-budget amendment in the run-up to a Friday vote, warning fellow lawmakers that it's just about the only way to ensure Congress follows through on vows to cut spending. The debate comes the same week the national debt crossed the $15 trillion mark. The milestone was a timely reminder of Washington's hard-to-break habit of spending way more than it takes in. ... The amendment, requiring that spending not exceed revenues in any given fiscal year, is essentially the same as one proposed the last time Republicans regained control of the House, in 1995. At that time it passed, with 72 Democrats joining 228 Republicans in voting yes. The measure fell just one vote short of getting the needed two-thirds majority in the Senate. ... The amendment has the overall support of the so-called Blue Dogs, a 25-member group of fiscally conservative Democrats. "I think this is long overdue," Rep. Jason Altmire, D-Pa., told Fox News. Fox News

Chief Deputy Whip Roskam Encourages Democrats To Listen To Peter DeFazio and Choose Policy Over Politics. This is the historic balanced budget amendment. Now there was a version that was presented earlier that Democrats didn’t like. We’ve now removed their objections –every stated objection from the debate several months ago – and now we’ve brought this version that came within one vote of passage. So we don’t need the majority of Democrats, we don’t even need half of the Democrats, we just need enough to shrug off really bad advice coming from their leadership. Bloomberg

The Roskam Reminder: Both Hoyer and Clyburn Voted In Favor Of The BBA In The Past. Well look, it was good enough for Steny Hoyer in the mid-nineties to vote in favor of it, it was good enough for Jim Clyburn, the number three Democrat in the House, to vote in favor of it back then.

The Road Ahead: GOP Jobs Proposal To Link New Energy Revenue From Domestic Production To The Highway Trust Fund

From Speaker Boehner’s Office: The American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act. In the coming weeks, House Republicans will formally introduce the American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act (set to be H.R. 7), which would link new American energy production to high-priority infrastructure projects. Instead of more ‘stimulus’ spending or wasteful earmarks, the bill would permanently remove government barriers to American energy production and use the revenues to repair and improve America’s roads and bridges – both of which support long-term job growth. ... The American Energy Infrastructure Jobs Act is the latest measure in the House GOP American Energy Initiative, an ongoing effort to support job creation and lower energy prices for families and businesses by allowing increased production of American-made energy. This measure would help create millions of new American jobs by eliminating some of the unnecessary government barriers that prevent our country from utilizing its vast energy resources, and also provide a new revenue stream for infrastructure repair and improvement. ... Rather than relying on ‘stimulus’ spending, higher taxes and short-term gimmicks, the American Energy Infrastructure Jobs Act would build on the natural link between energy production and infrastructure. The measure provides responsible infrastructure funding for the next five years, and links new energy revenue from production of American energy to the Highway Trust Fund. Press Release

Leader Cantor Announces His Support For The American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act. Today, I am proud to support the American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act which will help create new jobs, expand domestic energy production and improve our nation’s infrastructure. We know our roads, bridges and highways are in need of repair and there are certain areas of the country that need additional roads. While the President continues to push for more failed stimulus spending to solve the problem, I remain focused on creating a better environment for economic growth. This measure will streamline the process for transportation projects by removing unnecessary red tape, provide states and local governments with more flexibility on how to spend federal dollars, and help leverage private capital to build better infrastructure and get more people back to work. Additionally, it will help reduce our reliance on imported oil while creating high quality jobs in the domestic energy sector. I want to thank Speaker John Boehner, Chairman John Mica and Chairman Doc Hastings for their work on this effort and look forward to introducing this jobs bill in the coming weeks. Press Release

ObamaCare: Nancy Pelosi Wasn’t Kidding ...

Senate Dems Admit ObamaCare May Cost Farmers Their Insurance Coverage. The healthcare reform law could threaten farmers’ insurance coverage, a group of Senate Democrats said. The law could undermine farmers’ cooperatives, which provide coverage for thousands of farmers and their families. That threat is an “unintended, and unwanted” side effect of the law’s tax credits, Democrats said. Sens. Herb Kohl (Wis.), Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Bob Casey (Pa.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) raised the issue in a letter to Medicare Administrator Don Berwick. The Hill

IRS Warned ObamaCare Could Leave Millions Without Insurance. President Obama's healthcare law will leave millions of families without affordable coverage unless tax officials rewrite the rules on who gets subsidies, advocates warned Thursday. A dozen consumer advocacy groups urged the Internal Revenue Service to allow workers' spouses and dependents to qualify for tax credits if employer-sponsored family plans are unaffordable. The Treasury Department in August released proposed regulations that grant subsidies to workers and their families in cases when employer coverage costs too much for the employee only, but not when family coverage is out of reach. The Hill

Video Flashback: Nancy Pelosi – We have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it ... watch the memorable moment HERE

Secretary Chu On The Hill

Chu Wishes He Had Time Machine On Solyndra. If he had to do it over again, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Thursday that he wouldn’t give Solyndra a $535 million loan guarantee. “Certainly knowing what I know now, we’d say no,” Chu said during a hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. “But you don’t make decisions [by] fast-forwarding two years in the future and then go back. I wish I could do that.” Chu was responding to Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.), who had asked, “Knowing what you know today, would you approve that loan?” Politico

More Fuzzy Math From The Obama Administration: Chu’s “Green” Jobs Numbers Don’t Add Up. As it happens, Carol D. Leonnig and Steven Mufson of The Washington Post examined the job-claim figure two months ago and found it wanting. “The program — designed to jump-start the nation’s clean technology industry by giving energy companies access to low-cost, government-backed loans — has directly created 3,545 new, permanent jobs after giving out almost half the allocated amount, according to Energy Department tallies,” ... The Energy Department disputed that analysis as “incomplete and inaccurate,” as evidenced by the fact that Chu repeated the claim in sworn testimony before Congress. But if you dig deeper into the 60,000 number, you find that more than half of it comes from a single program — 33,000 jobs at Ford that were supposedly converted to green technology because of a $5.9 billion loan. The Energy Department translated those as “saved” jobs, even though the number amounts to nearly half of Ford’s total workforce. ... Given the high stakes involved in Chu’s testimony, it seems strange he would repeat talking points about the jobs that had already been called into question by a major news organization. Granted, DOE disputed that article, but we don’t think their rebuttal makes much sense. In any case, the job number and the fuel number are greatly inflated by the inclusion of the loan to Ford. As we have demonstrated, these are not new jobs or even saved jobs — just people who might, just maybe, have a little more job security, in part because of the loan. The Washington Post

Picking Winners and Losers: Chu’s Testimony Provides The Clearest View Of The President’s Belief In Government Intervention In The Economy. But perhaps the greater merit of the testimony was to provide Americans the clearest view yet of the Obama philosophy of government in action. To watch Mr. Chu was to glimpse a day in the life of a political appointee destined for so much more than dusty energy policy. Boring! In Obamaland, department secretaries run the economy, baby! They swim in a pile of balance sheets—creating, funding and managing America's future, one company at a time. As Gordon might say, Mr. Chu "makes the rules, pal!" The Wall Street Journal

Keeping Tabs

Mark Your Calendar: Cantor, Hoyer Team Up To Put On The First-Ever Congressional Facebook Developer Hackathon. The first-ever Congressional Facebook Developer Hackathon will take place Dec. 7 at the Capitol, bringing together lawmakers, academics and developers to find ways to make Congress more transparent and accessible. A hackathon, a term coined by computer programmers over a decade ago, generally refers to a meeting where new programs and applications are collaboratively developed. With the growing influence social media like Facebook and Twitter has in people’s everyday lives, “it is essential that Congress fully incorporate these platforms into its daily operations,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said. Cantor will host the event along with Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer. “Americans have a right to petition government, and new online technologies are giving that right exciting new possibilities,” Hoyer said in a statement. Reuters

Krauthammer On President Obama’s Keystone Pipeline Decision: “It’s Hard To Think Of A More Clear-Cut Case Of Putting Politics Over Nation.” ”We can’t wait. Except for certain exceptions, such as the 1,700-mile trans-USA Keystone XL pipeline, carrying Alberta oil to Texas refineries, that would have created thousands of American jobs and increased our energy independence. For that, we can wait, it seems. President Obama decreed that any decision must wait 12 to 18 months — postponed, by amazing coincidence, until after next year’s election. Why? Because the pipeline angered Obama’s environmental constituency. But their complaints are risible. Global warming from the extraction of the Alberta tar sands? Canada will extract the oil anyway. If it doesn’t go to us, it will go to China. ... the State Department had subjected Keystone to three years of review — the most exhaustive study of any oil pipeline in U.S. history — and twice concluded in voluminous studies that there would be no significant environmental harm. ... It’s hard to think of a more clear-cut case of putting politics over nation. This from a president whose central campaign theme is that Republicans put party over nation, sacrificing country to crass political ends. The Washington Post

GOP Health Care Reforms