The Leader's Ledger

Posted by Brian Patrick on

Good morning,

When President Obama delivers his annual State of the Union address tomorrow, he is expected to offer more-of-the-same failed economic policies rather than pursuing bipartisan policies to spur job growth and help small businesses. The President hasn't moved the dial on the range of promises he offered last year – from growing the economy and adding more jobs to the private sector, to meeting with Congressional leadership on a monthly basis to find common ground. In contrast, over the past year, House Republicans have been squarely focused on economic growth and job creation. We've passed 27 bipartisan jobs bills that would make it easier for small businesses to expand and create new jobs. We hope President Obama will call on Leader Reid to act on our bipartisan legislation so we can help small businesses, put more Americans back to work, and get the economy going again.

Today In History: In 1983, The A-Team premiered on NBC. George Peppard, played the A-Team’s leader, John “Hannibal” Smith. The show also featured Dirk Benedict as Templeton “Faceman” Peck and Dwight Schultz as H.M. (Howling Mad) Murdock, but its breakout star was the mohawked, gold-bedecked Mr. T. who played the surly A-Team mechanic B.A. (Bad Attitude) Baracus. Mr. T uttered some of the show’s most memorable catchphrases, including “You better watch out, sucker” and “Pity the fool.”

Birthdays: Rep. Bobby Schilling, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Norah O'Donnell, Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, Mariska Hargitay, Brendan Shanahan and Happy 5th Birthday to Politico

Here is what’s in today’s Ledger …

State Of Play: President Obama’s Prepares To Deliver His State Of The Union?

President Obama's State Of The Campaign Speech: The most important 2012 campaign event so far — and almost certainly the most important until the parties’ national conventions this summer — will take place Tuesday night under the guise of a governing ritual. …It is a strategy of necessity, Obama believes. He ran for president in 2008 decrying Washington’s climate of hyperpartisanship. … The dangers of appearing too political are especially acute for this president. Obama, who ran on a platform of transcending politics as usual, must at least appear committed to finding bipartisan solutions within the current system, even though his actions signal he’s mostly given that up. Politico

President Obama’s State Of The Union Track Record – Lofty Goals, Little Progress. As President Barack Obama prepares to deliver his annual address to Congress, many goals he outlined in previous State of the Union speeches remain unfulfilled. From reforming immigration laws to meeting monthly with congressional leaders of both parties, the promises fell victim to congressional opposition or faded in face of other priorities as the unruly realities of governing set in. For Obama, like presidents before him, the State of the Union is an opportunity like no other to state his case on a grand stage, before both houses of Congress and a prime-time television audience. But as with other presidents, the aspirations he's laid out have often turned out to be ephemeral, unable to secure the needed congressional consent or requiring follow-through that's not been forthcoming. … rarely has Obama's rhetoric as president reached as high as the lofty promises of his campaign, when he pledged to change the very way Washington does business and remake politics itself. It's a far cry from those promises of change to the ambition of meeting monthly with Democratic and Republican congressional leaders - but even that relatively modest goal, from Obama's 2010 State of the Union, went unfulfilled. The Associated Press

The Result Of President Obama’s Never-Ending Campaign: Only 13% Of Americans Are Satisfied With The Economy. Of As President Barack Obama prepares his annual address to Congress, Americans are broadly dissatisfied with the state of the nation in several specific issue areas, with satisfaction down sharply in some cases since January 2008. However, three issues -- the nation's economy, the size and power of the federal government, and the moral and ethical climate in the country -- fit both of these unwelcome criteria. Americans' satisfaction with the state of the nation's economy has dropped by 23 percentage points since January 2008 to 13%, according to a Jan. 5-8 Gallup poll. These figures represent both the lowest rate of satisfaction and the biggest decline seen for any of 24 issues measured in the survey. Attitudes toward the moral and ethical climate and the size and power of the federal government are similar to each other. Slightly fewer than 3 in 10 Americans are satisfied with each, down from about 4 in 10 in 2008, the last presidential election year and the last time Gallup measured satisfaction on all 24 items. Gallup

State Of Play (2): The Only Thing That Comes Close To The President’s Endless Campaign Is The Time That Has Passed Since Senate Democrats Passed A Budget

VIDEO: From Speaker Boehner’s Office - SOTU Promo Trailer: 1,000 Days Without a Budget … watch it HERE

The AWOL Democrat Senate: 1,000 Days Without A Budget – Refusal To Pass The Nearly 30 House Republican Jobs Bills. What’s neglected in all this is the Senate’s insistence on ignoring or killing legislation passed by the House. As far as Republicans are concerned, we have a do-nothing Democratic Senate. For instance, the Senate hasn’t passed a budget in 1,000 days. In 2011, it voted against the House-passed budget, then declined to offer one of its own. Faced with Republican threats to disrupt the Senate, Reid allowed a vote on Obama’s budget. The Senate rejected it 97-0. The stack of bills the House dispatched to the Senate last year is large. It includes 16 measures to reduce the regulatory burden on various industries, 5 to spur entrepreneurship, and 5 to “maximize” domestic energy production. For those bills, the Senate is a morgue. The Weekly Standard

State Of Play (3): Experts Predict President Obama Will Merely Pay Lip Service To Small Businesses

President Obama Won’t Address Small Businesses Concerns: Experts Say Tax Reform Will Take A Backseat In The President’s State Of The Union Address. President Obama made some glancing nods toward tax reform in his State of the Union address in 2011. And a year later, tax observers from both sides of the aisle say not to expect much more this time around. … But with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle laying the groundwork for reform, some tax analysts say they expect the idea of a broad overhaul of the tax code to get at most a passage or two in Tuesday’s State of the Union. The Hill

Leader Cantor: Small Business Job Creation Is What Will Benefit Americans The Most. “We really have to be much better at laying out a vision of what we stand for,” Cantor said in an interview. “And that means we have to have a message that sort of reflects in a very simple way, and to me, small-business job creation is what the taxpayers of this country can benefit most by.” Politico

What Do Small Businesses Say They Need To Grow? They Need Federal Government To Get Out Of The Way and Roll Back Costly Regulations. What do small-business owners want from the government? The short answer: Move out of the way. Eight out of 10 small-business owners say they want the government to stay out of the way instead of providing a “helping hand,” according to a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey. Eighty-six percent said they would rather have more certainty than more assistance. … It would be music to every small-business owner’s ears to hear the president call on his agencies to roll back costly regulations. Small firms bear a regulatory cost of $10,585 per employee, 36 percent higher than the cost of regulatory compliance for large businesses. In fact, small-business owners say the cost of regulatory compliance is the most important problem they face today, according to a recent Gallup Poll. Politico

Small Businesses Also Need Tax Reform That Makes The System Simpler, More Fair and Promotes Economic Growth. This includes lowering taxes and simplifying the Tax Code. Small-business owners spend too much money and time filling out government forms just to pay their taxes. The more time and resources spent on tax compliance, the less an entrepreneur has to hire employees and grow. Four of the top 10 small-business problems are tax-related, according to a recent National Federation of Independent Business study. With the U.S. Tax Code now nearly 70,000 pages and roughly 3.8 million words, we need a Tax Code that is simple and fair, and that promotes economic growth. Politico

Keeping Tabs

Does President Obama’s Rejection Of Keystone and Tens Of Thousands Of Jobs Obey The Letter and Spirit Of The Law? Out of options, Mr. Obama concluded last week that it is not in the national interest to grant the permit because of the State Department's view that further environmental studies are required due to the Nebraska rerouting. It's a nice try. But it directly contravenes the rider, which specifically states that the one thing Mr. Obama need not concern himself about—indeed could not consider—is any new environmental impact studies. The three bullet points that cover this point in the rider couldn't be much clearer: First, "the final environmental impact statement issued by the Secretary of State on August 26, 2011, satisfies all requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 . . . and section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act." Second, "any [my emphasis] modification" to the route "shall not require supplementation of the final environmental impact statement . . ." Third, "no further Federal environmental review shall be required." Congress anticipated that Mr. Obama would try to use the complex process of environmental study as a fig leaf for further delaying the pipeline. But if the law is to be followed, since the president failed to make a national interest determination as specified in the rider, it means that "the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline . . . shall be in effect by operation of law." The only question is whether Mr. Obama can be made to obey the letter and the spirit of that law … The Wall Street Journal

CRS Report: Congress Can Require Keystone Oil Pipeline Approval. Capitol Hill lawmakers probably have the Constitution at their back if they require a permit for the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline that President Obama rejected days ago, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. Republicans are mulling bills that require approval of Keystone XL, which would bring oil sands crude from Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries. The Jan. 20 CRS legal analysis notes that while the executive branch has historically handled the approval of border-crossing facilities, it doesn’t have to be that way. “[I]f Congress chose to assert its authority in the area of border crossing facilities, this would likely be considered within its Constitutionally enumerated authority to regulate foreign commerce,” the analysis states. The Hill

Unemployment Has Soared Under President Obama’s Failed Economic Policies. The unemployment rate when Mr. Obama was elected was 6.8 percent; today it is 8.5 percent — at least that’s the official number. In reality, the Financial Times writes, “if the same number of people were seeking work today as in 2007, the jobless rate would be 11 percent.” The Washington Times


GOP Health Care Reforms