Last night, Leader Cantor issued a statement in support of the STOCK Act saying, “Insider trading by members of Congress is unacceptable, and the public needs to know that the same rules apply to elected officials as everyone else.” Leader Cantor called the current Senate bill a “step in the right direction,” but he noted, “there are other areas where it can be strengthened such as applying disclosure requirements to the Executive Branch and their employees in a position to gain from insider information.” The entire statement is HERE.
Today In History: In 1988, Doug Williams scored four of the Redskins’ five touchdowns in an upset 42-10 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII.
Birthdays: Rep. Bill Huizenga, Ernie Banks, Nolan Ryan, Minnie Driver, Justin Timberlake, and Jackie Robinson
Here is what’s in today’s Ledger …
State Of Play: President Obama’s Policies Have Failed To Create Significant Economic Growth, Lower Unemployment, and Rein In Deficits
The Result Of President Obama’s Failed Economic Policies: CBO Projects Unemployment To Surge Back Above 9%. The Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday predicted the budget deficit will rise to $1.08 trillion in 2012. CBO also projected the jobless rate would rise to 8.9 percent by the end of 2012, and to 9.2 percent in 2013. These are much dimmer forecasts than in CBO's last report in August, when the office projected a $973 billion deficit. The Hill
• Why President Obama Needs To Support The House Republican’s Pro-Growth Plan To Boost Job Creation. Real economic growth is projected to be to 2.1 percent in 2012 and 1.2 percent in 2013 CBO
President Obama’s Decision On Keystone Costs Jobs, Reduces American Energy Security, and Eliminates A Major Export Opportunity For The Country. By summer 2012, with the closing of the ConocoPhillips and Sunoco plants in Pennsylvania, the Northeast will have lost over 700,000 barrels per day of capacity since 2008. The American integrated oil company Hess announced Jan. 18 that it would close its refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands, which provides large volumes of gasoline, heating oil and jet fuel in the Northeast. If the Gulf Coast refineries can expand access to Canadian crudes, the combination of low-cost refinery fuel in the form of natural gas and currently installed processing technologies will yield a world-class refining center with a competitive advantage in the production of refined products. U.S. refiners will be in a strong position to expand their access to markets throughout the Western hemisphere and into Europe. President Obama's jobs council has called for an "all-in approach" to energy policy and expedited permitting for energy projects. Meeting these objectives requires open markets that capitalize on production and transportation efficiencies. Admittedly, the production of refined products doesn't have the politically correct caché of electric cars and the failed, government-sponsored Solyndra solar plant. But the economic value and subsequent employment growth from producing petroleum products is large and long term. We are at the leading edge of an American petroleum renaissance. The combination of lower costs for both crude oil and natural gas provides a great opportunity for U.S. refinery capacity to increase over the next decade. But this will require a predictable and sensible regulatory regime—a regime noticeably lacking during the Obama administration. The Wall Street Journal
• Fallout: President Obama’s Failed Economic Policies and Hostile Energy Agenda Has Cost Democrats. Plains Democrats, like former Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, struggled to sell the state’s remarkable energy-driven recovery to an administration hostile to fossil fuels. Many in his state, and other energy centers like Texas, view the Obama administration’s resistance to oil and gas development as an assault on economies that, over the past decade, have had the highest rates of job creation and per capita income growth in the nation. Dorgan, frustrated with Obama’s economic policy, chose not to run for reelection in 2010. But his House colleague, Earl Pomeroy, as well as Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.) were defeated. Politico
President Obama’s Economic Agenda Has Failed To Foster Substantive Growth. The headline number you saw on the evening news that night and in the newspapers on Saturday was this: the nation’s gross domestic product rose at a 2.8 percent annual rate in the 2011 fourth quarter, which was better than the 1.8 percent growth in the July-September period. In the first place, 2.8 percent isn’t a good rate of growth for any year. Take out your calculator, divide 2.8 percent by the four quarters of the year, and you’ll see that fourth-quarter growth — even if you take these numbers at face value — was just 0.7 percent. … Let me put this another way in case you are missing my outrage. If the inflation figure used in last Friday’s GDP figure had just remained the same as the 2.6 percent rate from the third quarter, Washington would have had to report fourth-quarter annualized growth of just 0.6 percent. (Calculation: Inflation was lowered by 2.2 percentage points. So subtract 2.2 percent from the 2.8 percent growth to get 0.6 percent.) And that’s an annualized rate. So divide the 0.6 percent by four quarters and the economy expanded at an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny 0.15 percent in the fourth quarter. On Friday, the Labor Department will issue its employment report for January. Wall Street had better get out the Depends. The New York Post
State Of Play (2): President Obama Attempts To Play Catch Up With House Republicans On Small Business, Will He Call On Senate Democrats To Act?
President Obama Now Promotes A Small Business Policy House Republicans Have Passed. White House officials say President Barack Obama will call on Congress on Tuesday to pass legislation that, among other measures, would eliminate tax rates on capital gains for investments in small businesses and extend for a year the ability of all businesses to immediately deduct all of the costs of equipment and software purchases. The Associated Press
• House Republicans Already Addressed Businesses Expenses In December In The Middle Class Tax Relief & Job Creation Act.
President Obama To Promote Another House-Passed Bipartisan Jobs Bill – Crowdfunding. Besides the tax breaks, a central element of the Obama package is to assist new entrepreneurs by making it easier for them to raise money, reducing taxes on their startup expenses and removing securities barriers for new companies that have gone public. "Our small business agenda has a specific focus on removing the barriers that have for too long blocked startups and entrepreneurs from getting the financing they need to accelerate their growth and hiring," Sperling said. The Associated Press
• The House Has Sent 27 Bipartisan Jobs Bills To the Senate. Even President Obama Is Pushing Measures Similar To The House-Passed Bills. When Will Senator Reid and Senator Schumer Deem Job Creation A Priority and Hold Votes On These Bipartisan Bills?
On The Floor: House To Vote On Federal Employee Pay Freeze Tomorrow
House To Vote Tomorrow On A Federal Employee Payroll Freeze. The House is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a new bill that would freeze the salaries of federal employees, lawmakers and congressional staffers for another year. The vote comes as a new government report shows that federal employees on average earn about 2 percent more than private sector employees in a comparable profession. When pension and health benefits are factored in, federal employees earn about 16 percent more in total compensation than private sector workers, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The bill, introduced Friday by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), goes against the wishes of the White House, which hopes to increase federal civilian worker salaries by 0.5 percent next year, but is consistent with congressional Republican efforts to curtail government spending in part by freezing or reducing government salaries. The Washington Post
• The Average Benefits Package For Federal Employees Is 48% Higher Than Private-Sector Employees In Comparable Jobs. “While millions of Americans continue to struggle with stagnant wages and high unemployment, government bureaucrats in Washington continue to enjoy significant advantages over those whose tax dollars finance their compensation,” read a statement by the office of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., chairman of the House Budget Committee. The average benefits package for federal workers, including health insurance and a defined benefit pension plan, costs the government about 48 percent more than for private sector workers in comparable jobs. The Associated Press
• Rep. Sean Duffy: Congress Must Be Willing To Make The Same Sacrifices American Families and Small Businesses Have. “As American families and businesses have been forced to tighten their belts, Washington has refused to do the same,” Duffy said in a statement Monday. “Congress must be willing to make the same sacrifices we’re asking of others, that’s why I introduced this bill. We must act now to extend the pay freeze on federal workers and on members’ salaries until Washington finally gets its finances under control.” The Washington Post
On The Floor (2): House To Vote On Repealing An Entitlement Program Created By ObamaCare Tomorrow
Repeal Of ObamaCare's CLASS Act Is Essential. The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote this week on a bill that would repeal the CLASS Act – the part of ObamaCare that creates a new government entitlement program for long-term care payments. The program was doomed before it began. Sen. Kent Conrad, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, called the CLASS Act “a Ponzi scheme of the first order, the kind of thing Bernie Madoff would be proud of.” … The Obama administration concluded in October that it saw “no viable path forward” to implementing the new entitlement program. Since participation is voluntary, it could not figure out a way to guarantee the program would be fiscally sound for 75 years without taxpayer bailouts, a requirement that Sen. Judd Gregg managed to get into the health law. … Speaker John Boehner is right to bring Rep. Charles Boustany’s CLASS repeal bill for a vote before the full House. Tom Miller of the American Institute advises repeal because Congress “should never leave a partly loaded gun on the table.” … Budget expert Jim Capretta concludes “there was never any shred of evidence that CLASS could ever be made sustainable. Not before enactment, and not since. Indeed, any fair reading of the analyses that were done on the concept prior to its passage would conclude that CLASS was hopeless. And it wasn’t a close call. … “CLASS’s enactment was no accident of a chaotic and uncontrolled legislative process. It was a deliberate and cynical ploy to put a phony veneer of fiscal restraint on top of a massive tax-and-spend program,” Capretta writes. CLASS must be repealed in this Congress. This is about even more than creating a new unsustainable entitlement program. This is about the future of freedom itself and what the government can command us to purchase with our private money. It is a microcosm of the problems with ObamaCare. Forbes
Obama Green Jobs Program Faces Further Investigation. House Republicans are expanding their probe into the Obama administration's energy programs, investigating $500 million in green job training grants that placed just 10% of trainees in jobs, according to a government report. The program's goal was to train 124,893 people and put 79,854 in jobs. But 17 months later, 52,762 were trained and 8,035, or roughly 1 in 10, had jobs. Those numbers come from an audit by the Department of Labor's inspector general, which recommended that the administration end the program and return unspent money. … Citing what he calls "abysmal results" in the job training program, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., is demanding answers about how the Department of Labor awarded the grants, which were funded out of the 2009 stimulus bill. USA Today