The Leader's Ledger

Posted by Brian Patrick on

Good morning,

Welcome back. Going into the second session of the 112th Congress, House Republicans remain committed to making it easier for small businesses to grow, create jobs and hire. In contrast, President Obama has made his New Year’s priorities clear - piling on more government spending, campaign-cycle messaging and working against Congress. With millions of Americans out of work, this is exactly the wrong approach. Small business owners, working families and middle class people need a sense of certainty that Washington is working to boost economic growth and reduce the burdens they face. House Republicans will continue to look for areas of common ground where we can produce results - and we again invite President Obama and Senate Democrats to join us.

Today In History: In 1953, a prototype Chevrolet Corvette sports car made its debut at General Motors' Motorama auto show at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City

Birthdays: Michelle Obama, Kid Rock, Jim Carrey, Muhammad Ali, James Earl Jones, Betty White, and Benjamin Franklin

Here is what’s in today’s Ledger …

State Of Play: 25 Days and Counting – When Will President Obama Make A Decision On The Keystone Pipeline and The Tens Of Thousands Of Jobs It Will Create?

The President’s Jobs Council Comes Out In Support Of The Republican Position On Domestic Energy Production, Calls For “All In” Energy Strategy – Does It Apply To Keystone Too? In a proposal likely to be opposed by environmentalists, the report calls for an "all in" strategy on energy that would seek to further exploit domestic fossil-fuel supplies to reduce reliance on foreign imports. But it also urges development of cleaner energy sources and promotion of energy efficiency. "The Jobs Council recommends expanding and expediting the domestic production of fossil fuels - including allowing more access to oil, gas, and coal opportunities on federal lands - while ensuring safe and responsible development of those sites," the report said. Reuters

Tweetable: .@WhiteHouse 144 days have passed since the State Dept. said building #Keystone was the "preferred" option #WeCantWait

Chairman Upton: Keystone Means Jobs, Energy Security. I have long championed a comprehensive “all of the above” energy strategy to meet our nation’s growing energy needs and reduce our reliance on overseas oil. Whether developing the vast resources we have here at home — such as oil, coal and natural gas — promoting the advancement of safe nuclear, or harnessing alternative energy sources such as wind and solar, we need it all. It is long past time for Washington to say “yes” to more North American energy and “yes” to job creation by putting a premium back on domestic energy production. The Keystone XL energy pipeline project calls for the 1,700-mile expansion of an existing energy pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to refineries in the United States. Construction of the pipeline will directly employ some 20,000 private-sector workers and if spin-off jobs are included, could result in more than 100,000 jobs. … As a private-sector job creator, Keystone enjoys strong support from Democrats and Republicans. The project also has been endorsed by a wide array of groups that recognize the project’s untold benefits, including U.S. manufacturers and labor unions that have been affected adversely in our downturned economy. Mark Ayers, president of the Building and Construction Trades Department at the AFL-CIO, said it best: “For America’s skilled craft construction professionals, any discussion of the Keystone XL project begins and ends with one word: Jobs.” The Kalamazoo Gazette

Keystone Has Widespread Support and Will Create Tens Of Thousands Of Jobs - Approving It Should Be A No Brainer. It's not often that Big Labor's James P. Hoffa and U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue agree on something, but once in a while an issue comes along that unites these two gentlemen. Such an issue is the Keystone XL … Hoffa is not alone among labor leaders. The list of those urging Obama to approve the pipeline reads like a who's who of Big Labor. The AFL-CIO's Mark Ayers told Huffington Post that "it is America's workers who are clamoring for the expedited approval of this important project. As President Obama has rightfully declared when it comes to the creation of jobs, we can't wait." Ayers is president of the AFL-CIO's building and construction trades department. Similarly, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers said in its recent endorsement of the pipeline: "At a time when jobs are the top global priority, the Keystone project will put thousands back to work and have ripple benefits throughout the North American economy. Our members look forward to being part of this historic project and pledge to deliver the highest quality work to make it a success.” … approving Keystone ought to be a no-brainer, immune from political calculations. Support for the project is bipartisan in both the Senate and House, so there is no question that Obama would be cheered on Capitol Hill for making the right decision. So who is more important to you, Mr. President, the working men and women of America, or the high-paid, pin-striped liberal activists running groups like the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council? The Washington Examiner

Both Business and Labor Are Calling On President Obama To Act In The Best Interest Of American Workers and Approve Keystone. "We can put 20,000 Americans to work right away and up to 250,000 over the life of the project," Donohue said. "Labor unions and the business community alike are urging President Obama to act in the best interests of our national security and our workers, and approve the pipeline." It would be in the president's best political interests as well, helping lower energy prices and creating jobs in an economy struggling to do so. Even a number of unions, a major part of the Democratic base, are backing the project. They include the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the International Union of Operating Engineers, the Teamsters, the Laborers' International Union, the Building & Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO and the United Association of Plumbers & Pipe Fitters for the United States & Canada. They want the jobs Keystone XL would bring. Investor’s Business Daily

State Of Play (2): President Obama’s Jobs Council Embraces Core Republican Economic Proposals

President Obama’s Jobs Council Says the Regulatory Process Needs To Be Streamlined and Burdensome Regulations Must Be Removed. In addition, the report called for a series of reforms to streamline government rules and reduce the regulatory burden on businesses, which it said would enhance U.S. competitiveness. Reuters

It’s Time For Senate Democrats To Act On Jobs: The Senate has 27 House-passed bipartisan jobs bills that would boost job creation and reduce the regulatory burden sitting on its door step – When will Senator Reid Act?

Job Council Joins Republican Call For Tax Reform To Help Make American Companies More Competitive. Among the steps the council sees as urgently needed is long-delayed reform of the corporate tax system, which it says is outdated and "hurts both business competitiveness and American workers." "The council urges Congress and the administration to begin work on tax reform immediately," the report says. The panel calls for lowering corporate tax rates to "internationally competitive levels" while broadening the corporate tax base by eliminating deductions and loopholes. Reuters

GOP Jobs Plan: View The House Republican Plan For America’s Job Creators HERE

State Of Play (3): House To Hold Vote On President Obama’s Debt Limit Increase Tomorrow

House To Vote On A Resolution Of Disapproval Regarding President Obama’s Debt Limit Increase. House Republicans plan to adopt a resolution tomorrow rejecting Obama’s Jan. 12 request to raise the debt limit by $1.2 trillion, though the measure will die either in the Senate or by presidential veto. That will allow Obama to lift the cap on his own after Republicans have gone on record against it. Bloomberg

Rep. Garrett: New Year, Same President, Same Story – Surging Debt and Failed Leadership. Congress must vote in coming days on whether to block Mr. Obama's request to raise the debt ceiling by $1.2 trillion. Republicans … have already begun using the issue to highlight what they call Democrats' fiscal recklessness. "New year, same president, same story—zero fiscal discipline, surging debt and failed leadership," Rep. Scott Garrett (R., N.J.) said last week after Mr. Obama transmitted his request. The Wall Street Journal

Rep. Hultgren: It’s Time To Send The Message That Republicans Do Not Support The President’s Wasteful Fiscal Policies. "The president has come to Congress once again asking us to raise the nation's debt ceiling, his administration's reckless spending having made that necessary," said Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), who planned to oppose the increase. He intended to "send a clear message that we do not condone the president's wasteful fiscal policies of so-called stimulus, bailouts and ever-larger government." The Los Angeles Times

The Road Ahead: President Obama’s Budget Will Be A Campaign Document, Not A Document For Governance

Obama's 2013 Budget Will Be A Campaign Document, Not A Real Budget. When President Barack Obama unveils his annual budget next month, the blueprint will reveal a lot about his re-election strategy but probably little about the spending and tax policies the Congress will adopt in the coming year. … "What the president will be providing in his budget will be more of a campaign document than it will be a real budget," said Stan Collender, a former congressional budget aide who is now a partner at Qorvis Communications. Reuters

Of Course This Is No Surprise … The President Has Been In Campaign Mode For A Long Time


December 1, 2011: President Obama’s “Blistering Pace” – In 2011, President Obama Averaged More Than One Fundraiser Every Five Days. Sixty-nine fundraisers this year by December 1. That's an average of more than one fundraiser every five days. (Though, as Obama's latest New York trip shows, these events are often clustered together on a single day.) This is a blistering pace of rainmaking for the 44th president in 2011. Mother Jones

September 27, 2011: By The End Of September, President Obama Had Already Held More Fundraisers “Than The Last Five Presidents Did The Year Before They Sought Re-Election.” USA Today

President Obama’s Constant Campaign Has Fostered The Very Environment He Once Campaigned Against. To The Candidate Barack Obama promised to transcend Washington partisanship. President Obama plummeted into it. As the House returns Tuesday for the final session of his first term, Obama’s failure to fulfill this central claim of his 2008 campaign has never been more glaringly obvious. The hard truth is that Washington next year will look indistinguishable from the one Obama warned against during his election-night victory speech, when he called on Republicans and Democrats to “resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.” Politico

President Obama’s Constant Campaign Has Had A Negative Effect On His Approval Ratings. President Obama kicks off 2012 even-up on job approval in the new Washington Post-ABC News poll: 48 percent of Americans approve of the job he’s doing; 48 percent disapprove. … The data in this chart should set off a few warning signals for Obama. His approval rating among independents — at 43 percent — is on the low side. Only Lyndon Johnson had a numerically lower rating among independents at the outset of 1968, before opting out of a re-election bid. The Washington Post

Keeping Tabs

Rep. Lankford Op-Ed: It’s Time For Democrats To Join Republicans In Addressing The Debt In A Serious Manner. It’s very difficult to find the real number for anything in Washington. Each statistic has its own version, and every figure has its counter figure. But we can all agree there has been a dramatic increase in federal spending and the size of federal deficits in the past three years. Since 2008, deficit spending has increased from $400 billion a year to well more than $1 trillion a year. … Even the low threshold of cutting $1.2 trillion over 10 years was considered too drastic by Democrats on the failed deficit-reduction supercommittee. It’s a sad day when Republicans and Democrats cannot agree on even 20 percent of the possible cuts to begin the process of avoiding future austerity measures. … Last year, we had seven near government shutdowns, which left the nation frustrated and eager to resolve the budget process. In the first two months of this year, the Budget Committee will put nine structural reforms on the table. The 1974 Budget Act is essentially dead since the Senate has not crafted a budget for nearly 1,000 days. One of the long overdue reforms is the Government Shutdown Prevention Act, which automatically would kick in a continuing spending resolution with 1 percent across-the-board cuts every three months until a budget is approved by the House and Senate. Politico

GOP Health Care Reforms