Overnight House and Senate negotiators took the final steps to prevent a tax increase on 160 million Americans. While this package isn’t our preferred approach, it is a compromise and will prevent taxes from going up on hard working Americans. Additionally, thanks to Chairman Dave Camp’s hard work, it establishes much-needed reforms in the Unemployment Insurance system and ensures payments for Medicare doctors without adding to the debt. But let's not fool ourselves, this is not a substitute for an economic growth package, these are policies that are band aids for the President’s failed economic policies. No American should face a tax increase, but we need to think bigger to boost the economy and get people back to work. Hopefully the President and Congressional Democrats will now stand by their rhetoric and work with us to grow the economy and help small businesses create jobs.
Today In History: In 1923, in Thebes, Egypt, English archaeologist Howard Carter enters the sealed burial chamber of the ancient Egyptian ruler King Tutankhamen.
Birthdays: LeVar Burton, Ice-T, John McEnroe, Andy Taylor and Jennifer Crider
Here is what’s in today’s Ledger …
State Of Play: Negotiators Strike A Deal On Payroll, UI and Doc Fix
House Republicans Bring Democrats To The Table, Prevent A Tax Increase On Hardworking Americans. Under the agreement reached by House and Senate negotiators, the current reduction in the employee’s share of the Social Security payroll tax — to 4.2 percent of wages, from 6.2 percent — would be continued to the end of the year. Revenue lost to the Social Security trust fund would be fully replaced with money from the general fund of the Treasury. For a worker with annual earnings of $50,000, the payroll tax holiday would increase take-home pay by $1,000 over the course of the year. The bipartisan agreement also revamps unemployment insurance, reducing the maximum duration of benefits in states with high unemployment to 73 weeks, from the current 99. Currently, fewer than half of states are eligible for 93 weeks or more of unemployment insurance, with just 18 states getting the full maximum of 99 weeks. The roughly $30 billion price will be picked up by the sale of radio spectrum licenses and the federal worker benefit changes. The New York Times
• Speaker Boehner: Republicans Were Not Going To Allow Democrats To Continue To Play Games and Case A Tax Increase On 160 Million Americans. "We were not going to allow Democrats to continue to play games and cause a tax increase for hardworking Americans," Boehner told reporters on Capitol Hill. "We made a decision to bring them to the table so that the games would stop and we would get this worked out." CNN
State Of Play (2): Editorial Boards, Opinion Leaders Continue To Highlight The President’s Unserious Budget
It’s Math, Not Politics: It’s A Spending Problem. But at some point we wish everyone – the political class, the media, taxpayers of all ideologies – would just accept this as a given: As a nation, we can’t continue spending vastly more than we take in. … the U.S. spending 31 percent more than it receives in revenue. … A household that for years on end spent 31 percent more than it took in would soon be spending more on interest on debt than on most priorities. As a nation, we are already there. In 2010-11, the federal government spent $454 billion in interest on the national debt – 12 percent of the entire budget. That’s only going to go up, up and away unless deficits are finally, substantively addressed. We wish the immensity of this problem would finally sink in – with everyone. The San Diego Union-Tribune
President Obama Offers More Spending, More Debt And More Dodging. At a time when this nation’s future is mortgaged to the hilt, President Barack Obama continues to make things worse. His 2013 budget proposal, released Monday, is larded with $1.3 trillion in deficit spending, unrealistic revenue estimates and phony savings gimmicks. Obama proposes a $3.8 trillion spending plan with a too-rosy $2.5 trillion revenue forecast, hence the $1.3 trillion shortfall that joins Obama’s previous trillion-dollar-plus yearly deficits. America’s biggest spender presides over a national debt that now exceeds $15.3 trillion, $5 trillion of which he will have added in a single presidential term. The Columbus Dispatch
The President’s Budget Rehashes The Same “Tired Old Tax Hikes” That Democrats Couldn’t Pass When They Were In Complete Control Of Washington. The president's budget does nothing to address the crisis of runaway entitlement spending. It rehashes tired old tax hikes even a Democratic Congress could not stomach. And it jacks the national debt up into the mesosphere: By the end of a second Obama term, the red ink would reach nearly $16 trillion, more than double the amount he inherited. Little details can be revealing, and the details of the White House budget proposal show a set of priorities badly out of whack. … today's spending hike becomes tomorrow's "baseline," which makes future spending restraint all the more difficult. Obama knows this, and appears to be consciously pursuing a policy of "stuff the beast" — loading up spending today in order to increase the necessity for tax hikes tomorrow. In the meantime, he is piling up debt at historically unprecedented levels, making his budget not only a tax-and-spend blueprint but a tax-borrow-and-spend one. It's almost a parody of left-wing dogma. But the joke, alas, is on the public. Richmond Times-Dispatch
Another Presidential Punt: President Obama Fails To Lead On The Deficit. This week the administration presented a $3.8 trillion budget. The 2012 fiscal year will close with a $1.3 trillion deficit; the deficit for 2013 is expected to be $900 billion. And that's assuming Obama can push through $1.5 trillion in tax increases, mostly on the rich, over 10 years - which no one expects to happen. … Last year, the Senate rejected the Obama budget in a resounding 97-0 vote. … to cut the deficit in an meaningful way, the president has to lead. … If the president aggressively embraced entitlement reform, there would be a light at the end of the tunnel. But Obama punted. The San Francisco Chronicle
The Road Ahead: Rep. Scott Garrett 1, The Obama Administration 0
White House Budget Director Undercuts The Administration’s Legal Argument On ObamaCare. New Jersey Republican Scott Garrett asked White House budget director Jeff Zients about his claim that no one earning under $250,000 will see a tax increase under his boss: "So if I am part of a family that does not buy health insurance in violation of the President's health-care program and I got to pay because of that, that is not a tax increase—that is not a tax on me?" Mr. Zients replied, "The Affordable Care Act saves money," which is not merely irrelevant but false. Mr. Garrett tried again and Mr. Zients said "I'm not sure I'm following the question." Mr. Garrett once more: "Is that a tax on me or is that not a tax on me?" Mr. Zients: "Well, this is—" Mr. Garrett: "A moment ago you said there's no tax increase." Mr. Zients: "There aren't." Mr. Garrett: "So that's not a tax?" Mr. Zients: "No." Mr. Garrett: "That's not a tax. Okay. I just want to be clear on that because that's not the argument the Administration is making before the Supreme Court." The Wall Street Journal
• Watch The Video HERE
The Administration Prepares To Release Its Last Job-Crushing Regulation With A $9.8 Billion Annual Cost. President Obama will deliver a slew of rhetorical pledges today but he won’t pledge to undo the regulatory damage imposed on the power plant to the north. His greenhouse gas reporting rule costs facilities $290 million and imposed more than 1.2 million annual federal paperwork hours. His new rule on power plants, to be released tomorrow, will cost another $9.8 billion annually. American Action Forum