Rather than acting on the bipartisan House bill to prevent a tax increase on millions of Americans, President Obama and Senator Reid are holding up the government funding bill and threatening to shut down the government. As POLITICO pointed out, the “disconnected” White House claimed it doesn’t know what is in the bipartisan funding agreement “when in fact most of its content is supported by leading Democrats on the House and Senate Appropriations Committee.”
As we approach the holidays, the American people are looking for some certainty at the end of year, not more gridlock and shut down threats. Senator Harry Reid and the President need to stop holding hostages. It is time to produce results by moving forward on the bipartisan measure to fund the government responsibly and passing the Middle class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act.
Today In History: In 1791, Virginia’s ratification of the Bill of Rights created the three-fourths majority necessary for the ten amendments to become law and completing the revolutionary reforms begun by the Declaration of Independence.
Birthdays: Sen. Mark Warner, Don Johnson, Adam Brody, Stuart Townsend, and Emily Pierce
Here is what’s in today’s Ledger …
State Of Play: Senator Reid & President Obama’s Political Maneuvering Threatens To Shut Down The Government
President Obama and Senator Reid’s Credibility Wanes As Their Political Motives, Not Genuine Policy Concerns, Threaten To Shutdown The Government. … Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) seemed to give into their anger this week and launched their own assault: putting the brakes on the final House-Senate spending talks in an effort to ensure that Republicans stay in town to deal with the payroll tax issue. As a result, the draft conference report—largely completed over the weekend—has been left in limbo for days even as the government steams toward a funding deadline of Friday night, when the latest in a series of stop gap bills is due to expire. … The White House has hurt itself here by been remarkably vague as to what it wants—and many Democrats would say that it has lacked a strong presence in the talks. This hurts Obama’s credibility now, and makes it harder to make the case that the president wants the changes in the bill for genuine policy reasons—or more to stall because of the payroll tax fight. Politico
• Hmmm, The White House Doesn’t Know What’s In the Agreement? And this was followed by a longer White House statement Wednesday night that appeared even more disconnected from what has been transpiring in the House-Senate tales over recent weeks. For example, the draft conference report is described as “the Republican agreement” when in fact most of its content is supported by leading Democrats on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. Moreover the statement seems to suggest that even now the administration legislative operation doesn’t know what is in the agreement and is only speaking to provisions “reported to be” in the package. Politico
Speaker Boehner: It’s Clear That President Obama & Majority Leader Reid Are Threatening A Shutdown As An Attempt To Gain Leverage. A bipartisan spending bill has been negotiated by House and Senate Appropriations Committee leaders, but Democrats have held back on formally embracing the compromise, which would finance the government after current funding expires Friday. … Republicans, accusing Democrats of holding the spending bill hostage, Wednesday met behind closed doors to strategize how to allow Congress to adjourn without risking a shutdown. "It's very clear to all of us that President Obama and Sen. Reid want to threaten a government shutdown so they can get leverage" on the payroll tax bill, House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) said late Wednesday. The Wall Street Journal
Leader Cantor On Senator Reid’s Threat Of A Government Shutdown and Inability To Get Anything Done. “As you rightly point out we have a midnight deadline tomorrow night. The House will act and be sure that we don’t bring about a government shutdown. Again, the challenge is for Harry Reid to begin to act. What’s interesting is throughout the year what we have seen is a real inability for the Senate to do anything. The House has passed more than 20 jobs bills focused on affording some regulatory relief for small businesses and startups, bills that can really bring about job creation in the private sector. Harry Reid just hasn’t been able to see a way clear to getting the job done. This is another example where it will come down to the wire and we are all watching the Senate to see if the Majority Leader over there and his party can come together and meet us to compromise to get this thing done.” WRVA
President Obama & Majority Leader Reid’s Political Maneuvering Makes The Threat Of A Government Shutdown “Very Real.” A government shutdown is a very real threat, ever since President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., agreed to tie the Omnibus appropriations bill to an agreement on extending the payroll tax holiday. As the clock strikes midnight Friday night, funding for the government will run out unless there is some sort of deal. On Sunday, it seemed as if there would be a way to avoid this. Though there were some outstanding issues, there had been a general agreement on a compromise for the Omnibus spending bill, which needs to pass for the government to continue operating. That process is held up because Obama and Reid don’t believe that a payroll tax cut holiday will be extended unless they force Congress to do so. ABC News
The House Has Done Its Job, The Threat Of A Shutdown Falls Squarely On Senate Democrats. Taxes for everyone are set to go up on New Year's Day, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid won’t allow a vote to keep this from happening. Nine of the 12 annual appropriations bills expire on Friday night, and the Nevada Democrat refuses to bring them up for a vote, leaving open the possibility of a partial government shutdown. Mr. Reid wants Republicans to look like obstructionists, but he’s the one saying “no” to everything. … Democrats are tripping all over themselves because they don’t want Republicans taking full credit for extending the tax holiday that President Obama requested, and they’re split on the job-creating pipeline project. … The House has done its job, so the blame for an impasse ought to fall on the Democratic Senate. The Washington Times
Regulatory Row: President Obama’s Regulatory Agenda Is Costing Jobs & Preventing New Jobs From Being Created
President Obama’s Regulatory Policies Hurt Manufacturers, Cost Jobs. Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce appreciates the president's recognition that manufacturing is a foundational business sector in that it not only creates jobs in factories but also in other industries such as banking, transportation, energy, health care, education, retail and government. But if the president truly wants to grow manufacturing, he also needs to recognize that many of his administration's policies are harming the sector. In fact, federal laws, policies and proposals are by far the biggest cause of uncertainty for manufacturers. … Pending new or expanded EPA rules include Industrial Boiler MACT rule, Cross State Air Pollution rule, Utility MACT rule, proposed new ozone standard and greenhouse gas regulations. The Boiler MACT rule alone could lead to the closing of 11 paper mills in Wisconsin and the loss of up to 7,500 jobs by forcing companies to pay more than $400 million to meet new emissions standards. … The bottom line is that this new pronouncement is politically driven rather than policy driven. If the president really wants to get the manufacturing sector churning, he needs to remove the uncertainty his administration is creating. The Journal Sentinel
Chairman Upton: President Obama’s Regulatory Burden and How The House Has Acted To Fix It. According to data available from the Office of Management and Budget, President Obama has issued 50 percent more “economically significant regulations” (those with an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more) per year than President Clinton and 44 percent more than George W. Bush. Unfortunately, when it comes to regulations, it’s not just that there are more of them: The Obama administration’s regulatory actions are also more expensive. The average annual cost of major regulations under the Bush administration was $4.9 billion. Under Obama, the average cost has ballooned to $12.5 billion — that’s a cost increase of more than 150 percent to American businesses and consumers. … Over the past year, the House has approved numerous bills compelling the Obama administration to take a more commonsense approach to regulations: bills that would continue to protect the public and the environment while also protecting the economy. These measures would shield as many as 2 million or more American jobs put at risk by regulatory overreach, and they would remove the uncertainty that is such a powerful deterrent to economic recovery. … Overly aggressive and costly regulations will always slow economic growth and stall job creation. … even when the dire economic situation became clear, the regulatory juggernaut did not cease. This monument of misreadings stands today. It’s why our bipartisan efforts to find common ground and protect jobs will continue. National Review Online
• Reminder: Take a look at the lengthy list of House-passed bipartisan bills that protect current jobs, create new jobs and call for sensible regulations. Also note the overwhelming majority of the bills remain stuck in the Senate because Senator Reid refuses to act.
Leader Cantor: The Latest Measures Passed By The House Will Dramatically Strengthen The Existing Sanctions Against Iran. The House today approved two measures to tighten sanctions on Iran, partly by targeting its energy and banking sectors. One bill, passed on a vote of 410 to 11, would penalize companies and individuals that do business with Iran’s energy industry and central bank. The legislation also would deny U.S. entry visas to Iranian officials and impose property and financial sanctions on those individuals. … The second bill, which passed on a 418-2 vote, would impose new sanctions on individuals and countries that conduct transactions benefiting the development of weapons by Iran, North Korea and Syria. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican, said the two measures would “dramatically strengthen existing sanctions against Iran, giving the president unprecedented authorities to impose crippling sanctions on Iran’s economy.” Bloomberg
In Congress, Less Can Be More: The Republican-run House Has Focused On Economic Growth & Job Creation. The current Congress has passed even fewer bills and could set a record before the session ends. President Obama puts that down to Republican obstruction, a theme he has reprised this week during the ongoing partisan fight over how to extend the Social Security payroll tax reduction. But it would be misleading to conclude that the Republican-run House has been sitting on its hands. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., lists more than two dozen major House initiatives that are stuck in the Democratic-controlled Senate with little hope of emerging. The House produced a federal budget proposal; the Senate did not. The House passed bills that would require federal regulatory agencies to justify the economic costs of regulation, help small businesses, increase energy production and repeal Obamacare. The consistent theme of these bills is to reduce the burdens of government by cutting red tape and deficit spending. Rep. Cantor has also eliminated a lot of busy work that used to fill the House calendar. … So statistics on congressional productivity can be misleading. And despite what the president says, in Congress less is often more. The Post and Courier