The Leader's Ledger

Posted by Brian Patrick on

Good morning

Vacation can wait. Over the weekend, the Senate passed a bill that only extends the payroll tax cut for 60 days, piling more uncertainty on middle class Americans. This short-term punt is unacceptable. The House already passed a year-long extension and will continue to work to extend the payroll tax cut for a full year to provide certainty to working Americans, doctors, families and employers. The President said it would be “inexcusable” for Congress not to extend the payroll tax cut, and House Republicans agree. Senate Democrats need to return to Washington and work with us to ensure the middle class won't face a tax hike in the coming year.

Today In History: In 1777, commander of the Continental Army George Washington, the future first president of the United States, leads his beleaguered troops into winter quarters at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Birthdays: Rep. Adrian Smith Kristanna Loken, Alyssa Milano, Al Kaline, and Shannon Flaherty Yesterday: Stone Cold Steve Austin, Keith Richards, Betty Grable, and Katie Holmes

Here is what’s in today’s Ledger …

State Of Play: A 60 Day Punt Is Unacceptable

Speaker Boehner: Stop Kicking The Can Down – It’s Time To Be Responsible, It’s Time To Pass A Year Long Extension. In an interview on “Meet The Press” on NBC, Speaker John A. Boehner said his members broadly opposed the two-month extension that passed the Senate 89 to 10, believing that it would be “just kicking the can down the road.” “It’s time to just stop, do our work, resolve the differences and extend this for one year,” Mr. Boehner said. “How can you have tax policy for two months?” The New York Times

GOP Aide: It’s Time For Congress To Be Responsible, Do Its Work and Pass A Year Long Extension, No More Punting. Americans are tired of Washington's short-term fixes and gimmicks, which are creating uncertainty for job creators at a time when millions are already out of work. House Republicans oppose the Senate short-term payroll bill because the country needs certainty and this bill doesn't provide it. Democrats and Republicans agree the payroll tax cut must be extended for a full year to provide relief for Americans struggling in President Obama's economy. The House last week passed a bill to do just that -- but instead of passing the House bill or any other full-year extension, the Senate Democratic leader passed a two-month extension and then went on vacation. The country is tired of Congress lurching from crisis to crisis. It's time for Congress to do its work. No more punting. ... The President has said repeatedly that no one should be going on vacation until the work is done. Republicans agree. Playbook

Yesterday, The White House Confirmed President Obama Supported A Year Long Extension. White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer acknowledged Sunday the president asked for a yearlong extension … The Hill

Senator Reid Also Supports A Year Long Extension. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said he favored a yearlong extension of the tax cut—the same as Mr. Boehner (R., Ohio). The Wall Street Journal

Regulatory Row: New EPA Regulations Will Cause Higher Rates On Consumers and Cost Jobs

The Increase In Regulations Coming Out Of Washington Continues To Create Uncertainty and Costing Jobs. The right to rise does not require a libertarian utopia to exist. Rather, it requires fewer, simpler and more outcome-oriented rules. Rules for which an honest cost-benefit analysis is done before their imposition. Rules that sunset so they can be eliminated or adjusted as conditions change. Rules that have disputes resolved faster and less expensively through arbitration than litigation. In Washington, D.C., rules are going in the opposite direction. They are exploding in reach and complexity. They are created under a cloud of uncertainty, and years after their passage nobody really knows how they will work. The Wall Street Journal

New EPA Regs Will Close Over 32 Power Plants, Costing Jobs, Risk Grid Instability. More than 32 mostly coal-fired power plants in a dozen states will be forced to shut down and an additional 36 might have to close because of new federal air pollution regulations … Combined, the rules could do away with more than 8 percent of the coal-fired generation nationwide, the AP found. … In addition to anticipated retirements, about 500 or more units will need to be idled temporarily in the next few years to install pollution controls. Some of those units are at critical junctions on the grid and are essential to restarting the electrical network in case of a blackout, or making sure voltage doesn't drain completely from electrical lines, like a hose that's lost its water pressure. … Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said in a letter to the White House this month that the EPA mercury rule could "unintentionally jeopardize the reliability of our electric grid." The Associated Press

Fewer Jobs: EPA Regulations Will Devastate Jobs In The Midwest, Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia. "The EPA regulation became a game changer and a deal changer for some of these units," said Ryan Stensland, a spokesman for Alliant Energy, which has three units in Iowa and one in Minnesota that will be retired, and four in Iowa that are at risk of shutting down, depending on how the final rules look. "Absent the EPA regulations, I don't think we would be seeing the transition that we are seeing today. It became a situation where EPA broke the back of coal." … The impact is greatest in the Midwest and in the coal belt - Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia - where dozens of units probably will be retired. Coal "is the fuel that is local to this area," said Leonard Hopkins, the fuel and compliance manager for the Southern Illinois Power Cooperative, which serves rural electric customers in 25 counties in the state. "We are scrambling to find ways to comply." The Associated Press

Higher Costs: Increased Regulations May Lead To Double Digit Rate Increases For Consumers. Kentucky Utilities expects its customers to see as much as a 14 percent rate increase to make up for the $800 million it is spending to replace what will be retired, and the $1.1 billion it plans to spend on anti-pollution upgrades. Other power companies have applied to recoup the cost of retrofits or of building new gas-fired power plants. The EPA estimates that industry will spend $11 billion complying with the two rules by 2016. The Associated Press

New Regulations Coming Out Of Washington Are Stifling Economic Growth. New rules and regulations from state and federal agencies cost millions of dollars in compliance alone for small and large business. This is stifling investment that could otherwise be used to foster business opportunities. After all, it is business and economic growth that creates jobs, not the other way around. As we continued to face economic uncertainty, our policy makers need to step-up and enact pro-business legislation aimed at improving our competitive standing. In the face of increasing global competition, creating a playing field that allows our companies to be the most productive and innovative will unleash our greatest potential to spur job growth. The result will tell us a lot of our prospects to grow, invest and create jobs for people that need them. The Oshkosh Northwestern

Keeping Tabs

Obama Supporters Question The President’s Ability To “Seal The Deal.” “President Obama put two conditions in end-game talks on extending the payroll tax holiday. He wanted to pay for the extension with a surtax on millionaires, and he made clear that the Keystone XL oil pipeline should be kept out of the legislation. “Any effort to try to tie Keystone to the payroll tax cut I will reject,” the president said. “So everybody should be on notice.” In the end, Obama got neither demand. Just a week after saying he would reject a payroll tax cut extension that included Keystone language, Obama backpedaled on both issues … While it’s unclear how Obama will emerge from this latest debate politically, some say the latest outcome is reflective of the president’s limited negotiating skills. While the president can seem convincing when selling a plan in town halls across the country, supporters and observers question his ability to seal the deal at crunch time. The Hill

Nancy Pelosi’s Bad Math. Pelosi cited two key figures — how much money the tax cut would bring to working Americans and how many jobs would be created from extending unemployment insurance. She managed to mangle both. In the case of the payroll tax cut, it is incorrect to suggest that every working American — 160 million people — will get $1,500 back in payroll taxes. The amount depends on how much money a person earns. …. Pelosi also exaggerates (600,000 jobs) the impact of an extension of unemployment insurance. She cites Macroeconomic Advisers, an economic forecasting firm, but its report predicted a gain of only 200,000 jobs from giving more aid to the uninsured. … As we mentioned, we try not to play “gotcha” with politicians who slip up. But she made two major errors in a row. Moreover, in what seems to be a pattern we have noticed this year, whenever she “misspeaks,” she tends to make the numbers look even better for her side of the argument. The Washington Post

GOP Health Care Reforms