The Leader's Ledger

Posted by Brian Patrick on

Good morning,

House Republicans will not support raising taxes on anyone. Too many people remain out of work. The business owners that we need to create jobs face the continued threat of tax increases and new regulations coming from the Obama Administration. That is why we are focused on ending the year by passing measures that have broad bipartisan support. Extending the payroll tax, approving the Keystone pipeline, extending unemployment insurance, and stopping costly new regulations will boost economic growth, create jobs and give families some certainty through holiday season. If the President and Senate Democrats are in favor of creating middle class jobs, and spurring economic growth, they will join us to sign these measures into law.

Today In History: In 1983, Al Pacino stars as a Cuban refugee who becomes a Miami crime boss in Scarface.

Birthdays: Laena Fallon, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, John Malkovich, Judy Dench, Beau Bridges and Reiko Aylesworth

Here is what’s in today’s Ledger ….

State Of Play: House Republicans Unveil Year End Proposal That Prevents A Tax Increase On The Middle Class and Creates Jobs

House GOP Unveils Payroll Proposal. In a sharp answer to several failed bills produced by Senate Democrats that would cut an employee’s share of the payroll tax and impose a new surcharge on income over $1 million, the House Republican bill would pay for the extension through a mix of changes to entitlement programs and a pay freeze for federal workers. The House is expected to vote next week on the Republican bill, which includes a provision to speed construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast — a project the White House has sought to delay. ... The House Republican plan, among other things, would increase premiums for affluent Medicare beneficiaries, end food stamps and unemployment insurance benefits for millionaires, sell some federal assets, freeze the pay of federal employees, including members of Congress, and reduce the number of federal workers by about 10 percent through attrition. In addition, House Republicans said their bill would gradually reduce the maximum duration of jobless benefits, to 59 weeks from the 99 weeks now available in some states. … House Republicans said their bill would protect doctors from a 27 percent cut in their Medicare fees scheduled to occur on Jan. 1. The measure would solve this problem for two years, giving doctors a 1 percent increase in their fees rather than a deep cut. To help offset the cost, lawmakers said, the bill would take some money provided in the new health care law for preventive and public health services. … “It’s a solid plan,” said Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin and chairman of the House Budget Committee. “I like the unemployment reforms quite a bit.” Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, a leader of conservative Republicans in the House, also welcomed the proposals. “The fact that the president doesn’t like it makes me like it even more,” Mr. Jordan said. The New York Times

House Republicans Continue To Focus On Jobs, Keystone Pipeline. "We're sticking to our guns here in the House," said Rep. Lee Terry (R., Neb.). "We want the dang thing built." The Wall Street Journal

House Dem: The President Is Making A Mistake, Keystone Is A Win For Jobs and The Economy. Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas — one of 47 Democrats that supported a House bill this summer to require a decision on the pipeline project by Nov. 1 — counted more than 20 Democrats who would likely support adding the Keystone language to the payroll tax package. And he said he disagreed with Obama's threat. "Look, I think that'd be a mistake on the president's part," Ross said. "That's the kind of economic activity we need. It's a win-win. It reduces our dependence on foreign oil and creates jobs here at home." Politico

Progress? Senate Democrats Are “Seriously Weighing” Ending Their Push To Raise Taxes On Small Businesses. Senate Democrats are seriously weighing scrapping the surtax on millionaires, which Republicans hate, and replacing it with a series of cost-cutting offsets that can win GOP backing, according to people familiar with the talks. Politico

State Of Play (2): House Bipartisan Farm Dust Bill Provides Certainty To Farmers, Ranchers and Small Business Owners

Leader Cantor Calls On Senate Democrats To Hold A Vote To Provide Certainty To Small Businesses. “This bipartisan bill provides much-needed regulatory relief to farmers and small business owners by stopping the Obama Administration’s EPA from piling on new regulations to manage farm dust, particularly where states and local governments already have such rules in place. Business owners continue to say that regulatory uncertainty is preventing them from growing and creating jobs. I thank Chairman Fred Upton, Congresswoman Kristi Noem, and Congressman Robert Hurt for their hard work to reduce regulatory burdens on employers and farmers in rural areas. Although the President and Senate Democrats have ignored many of our common sense efforts to remove burdensome regulations, I hope at the end of this year, they will join us on these bipartisan measures to improve economic certainty and grow jobs in this country.” Release

Rep. Robert Hurt: The House Votes To Provide Certainty For Farmers and Small Business Owners. “The Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act gets to the root of this problem by removing the federal government from the business of over-regulating. This legislation provides us with a step forward to getting our economy back on track by providing immediate relief to farmers and rural areas through preventing more stringent, job-crushing dust standards from being implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). By passing this legislation, the House has taken one more step toward our goal of creating certainty for our job creators, removing the roadblocks posed by excessive regulations, and getting our economy back on track so that our small business owners can get back to creating the jobs that Central and Southside Virginians and all Americans need and deserve.” Release

Rep. Kristi Noem: If EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson Is Serious About Bringing Regulatory Certainty To Farmers and Ranchers, She Should Call On Senator Reid To Hold A Vote On The Farm Dust Bill. Noem still called it a victory and said she hopes the Senate follows the House’s lead and passes it with bipartisan support. “The regulation of farm dust is not a partisan issue,” she said in a press release. “It is a rural issue. And it’s a real issue.” If The EPA Is Truthful It Should Call On The EPA has repeatedly said it has no intention of regulating the coarse particulate matter that has been labeled “farm dust.” But Noem said those pledges ring hollow. “If administrator Lisa Jackson is serious about bringing regulatory certainty to farmers and ranchers, she should help us in this effort,” she said. “She should endorse the bill and encourage (Nevada) Senator (Harry) Reid to bring it up in the Senate and President Obama to sign it.” The Dickinson Press

Reminder: This Week Republicans Sent 2 More Bipartisan Jobs Bills To The Senate, Bringing The Total Number Of Bipartisan Jobs Bills Stuck In The Senate To 25 – With Unemployment Above 8.5% For The Past 33 Months, When Will Senator Reid Start Holding Votes?

The Economy: Senators Unveil Start-Up Proposal Similar To House GOP Jobs Plan

Sen. Warner, Sen. Moran Unveil Bipartisan Start-Up Legislation Echoing Leader Cantor, House Republicans Jobs Plan. Warner, along with Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., rolled out legislation Thursday to update regulatory and tax policies to encourage entrepreneurs and innovators to launch companies. … The proposals have not only bipartisan support, but bicameral as well: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's jobs plan released in May contains many similar proposals. "These are things we can agree on and work together on to improve the economy and grow jobs in Virginia," said Cantor spokeswoman Megan Whittemore. Richmond Times -Dispatch

Nearly Half of U.S. Small Businesses Say The Economy Has Worsened Over The Past Six Months. MerchantCircle, the largest social network of local business owners in the nation, today issued the results of its seventh Merchant Confidence Index, a survey of local business owners across the country sharing their confidence levels in the current economy, and their expectations of future revenue, marketing spend and hiring. The results of the 2011 Q4 survey of more than 2,500 local merchants indicate that business optimism has decreased over the past six months. The current MCI score is 59.4 out of 100, down 6 percent from the score of 63.2 in June 2011. MarketWatch

Keeping Tabs

WaPo Editorial: The Obama Administration Continues To Send The Wrong Signals On Iran. What doesn’t make sense is a public spelling out of reasons against military action — like that delivered by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last Friday before a U.S.-Israeli conference in Washington. Mr. Panetta said that a strike would “at best” slow down Iran’s program for “maybe one, possibly two years”; that “some of those targets are very difficult to get at”; that a now-isolated regime would be able to “reestablish itself” in the region; that the United States would be the target of Iranian retaliation; and that the global economy would be damaged. … But even if every point were true, there is no reason for the defense secretary to spell out such views in public. No doubt President Obama and the Israeli defense ministry are well aware of the Pentagon’s views, but alarmed Iranian leaders could well conclude that they have no reason for concern after all. … The public disparaging of the force option is not the administration’s only waffling signal to Tehran. Though Mr. Obama boasted Thursday that his administration has orchestrated “the toughest sanctions that Iran has ever experienced,” he is resisting pressure from allies such as France and from Congress to sanction the Iranian central bank. Last week the Senate passed 100-0 an amendment to the defense authorization bill that would sanction foreign banks that conduct transactions with the Iranian central bank, with an option for a postponement if the White House determines that the effect on the oil market would be too severe. The administration opposed the measure and is trying to narrow its scope in a conference committee. … While these are not unreasonable concerns, the administration’s stance resembles Mr. Panetta’s message. In effect, it is signaling that it is determined to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon — unless it means taking military or diplomatic risks, or paying an economic price. The Washington Post

Krauthammer: President Obama’s Campaign For Class Resentment. In the first month of his presidency, Barack Obama averred that if in three years he hadn’t alleviated the nation’s economic pain, he’d be a “one-term proposition.” … with high unemployment, economic stagnation, and unprecedented deficits, what else can Obama say? He can’t run on stewardship. He can’t run on policy. His signature initiatives — the stimulus, Obamacare, and the failed cap-and-trade — will go unmentioned in his campaign ads. … What’s left? Class resentment. National Review

GOP Health Care Reforms