Majority Leader Eric Cantor sent the following legislative memo to House Republicans today, which discusses the first quarter legislative agenda. Click here for a link to a pdf version of this document.
TO: House Republicans
FR: Eric Cantor
DT: Wednesday, February 1, 2012
RE: First Quarter Legislative Agenda
As House Republicans, we represent one half of one third of the Federal government. It has been our collective goal, therefore, to stop the job-inhibiting policies of the White House and Democratic-controlled Senate from taking place, change the explosive direction of spending in Washington, and find areas of common ground to help create an environment for economic growth.
Have we made a difference since January of 2011? Certainly.
Small business owners no longer need fear the uncertainty cast by Cap and Trade, Card Check, the expansion of Obamacare, or another round of Stimulus that is fueled by more debt and higher taxes. Long-stalled trade agreements were finally broken free this past fall and American entrepreneurs have an expedited patent and trademark system now in place.
Hard-working taxpayers can rest assured that their money will not be spent on earmarks, increased pay for Members of Congress, or political cronyism. We’ve banned earmarks, frozen government salaries, and shown a bright light on the Administration’s wasteful loan to Solyndra – all factors in our ability to reduce discretionary spending for two years in a row.
Finally, Americans have a right to know when it comes to their government and we have created new opportunities for them to do so by enabling electronic formatting of documents and guaranteeing the three-day availability of legislation. For the first time in the history of the Congress, the public can link to a statement of constitutional authority for each House-introduced bill.
Is that enough? Absolutely not.
Americans know the President’s policies have not made the economy better and they’re ready to try something new. As we enter February, I have outlined the first quarter of our 2012 legislative agenda below, which is an extension of The House Republican Plan for America’s Job Creators that we released last May.
Our plan, which we will continue to build on throughout the year, is focused on helping small businesses grow and giving all hardworking taxpayers a fair shot and an opportunity to succeed.
Fix the Tax Code to Help Job Creators
Republicans will always be the party of small business, whether it’s through reducing regulatory red tape and burdens, opening avenues to capital, or providing incentivizes to help job creators hire and grow.
In that same vein, we will introduce a small business tax cut this March. Our pro-growth proposal will provide every small business that employs fewer than 500 people with a 20% deduction, helping them retain and create new jobs. I hope every Democrat will join us in passing the small business tax cut by April 15.
Maximize American Energy Production
Today and for the remainder of this week, chairmen John Mica, Doc Hastings, and Dave Camp will begin the formal legislative process for the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act. Chairman Mica’s five-year authorization will keep highway, transit, and safety programs funded near current levels by reforming and sustaining the Highway Trust Fund without raising taxes or including earmarks.
In addition, Chairman Hastings will add provisions boosting domestic energy production and American jobs both offshore and on, highlighting innovative new technologies that will unlock our vast oil shale resources and reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil.
Finally, our bill will reform and streamline the Federal review process, eliminating red tape and consolidating 70 government programs, while promoting private sector participation and handing more control and decision-making back to the states where it rightfully belongs.
The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act is scheduled for floor consideration the week of February 13 and I encourage the Senate to act well before the impending March 31 deadline.
Pay Down America’s Unsustainable Debt Burden and Start Living Within Our Means
Over the next two weeks, Chairman Paul Ryan and the Budget Committee will bring a series of bills to the floor that fundamentally change score-keeping in Washington. Only in Washington is a reduction in an increase considered a cut in spending. This week and next, we will consider the following four bills that help change the Federal government’s propensity for spending gimmicks:
H.R. 3582, the Pro-Growth Budgeting Act
Sponsored by Rep. Tom Price
H.R. 3578, the Baseline Reform Act
Sponsored by Rep. Rob Woodall
H.R. 3521, the Expedited Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act
Sponsored by Rep. Paul Ryan
H.R. 3581, the Budget and Accounting Transparency Act
Sponsored by Rep. Scott Garrett
We have also scheduled House action this week, and throughout February, on legislation to eliminate some of the wasteful abuses of taxpayer money promoted by Washington. Among those items will be:
H.R. 3835, the Pay Limitation for Members of Congress and Federal Employees Act
Sponsored by Rep. Sean Duffy
H.R. 3567, the Welfare Integrity Now for Children and Families Act
Sponsored by Rep. Charles Boustany
H.Res. 496, Reducing the amount of taxpayer money provided for the expenses of House committees in the 112th Congress
Sponsored by Rep. Dan Lungren
H.R. 1734, the Civilian Property Realignment Act
Sponsored by Rep. Jeff Denham
But most importantly, Republicans will do something for the second time in as many years that Democrats have failed to do for over 1,000 days – propose and pass a budget. Hardworking taxpayers do this every day and so will we at the end of March. Chairman Ryan is preparing to put forward a fiscally responsible blueprint that builds upon last year’s budget and honestly addresses the government’s 15 trillion dollar plus debt.
As we continue through the year, we will be discussing many of the bold, growth-oriented ideas our Conference has proposed, like fundamental tax reform and a moratorium on regulations and red tape.
President Obama has had three years to try and fix the economy and create jobs. Unfortunately, his polices haven’t worked. It’s time for something new and I look forward to proposing our vision with you that cuts taxes and regulations on small businesses and gives every hardworking taxpayer a fair shot at success.