Leader Cantor issued a statement this morning on last night’s bipartisan vote to freeze pay for federal employees and members of Congress. He said, “This common sense measure was used to offset a portion of the cost of House Republicans’ payroll bill in December, and given its strong bipartisan support, should be included in the final conference report to extend the payroll tax cut.” Read his statement HERE.
Today In History: In 1876, the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, which came to be more commonly known as the National League (NL), is formed. The American League (AL) was established in 1901 and in 1903, the first World Series was held.
Birthdays: Sen. John Cornyn, Farrah Fawcett, Ayn Rand, James Joyce, Paul Bedard, Reid Wilson and Kelly Williams
Here is what’s in today’s Ledger …
State Of Play: House Republicans Moves To Cut Taxes For Small Business
Leader Cantor, House GOP Plan Small Business Tax Cut. House Republicans plan legislation granting small businesses a 20 percent tax deduction, a GOP leader said Wednesday, as the party stepped up its election-year competition with President Barack Obama over who is doing the most to create jobs. The tax cut would apply to every business with fewer than 500 employees, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said in a memo released to reporters. … Cantor emphasized that the GOP proposal would help small businesses "retain and create new jobs" and set a symbolic goal of approving the bill by mid-April, when federal income taxes are due."I hope every Democrat will join us in passing the small business tax cut by April 15," he said. The Associated Press
• Cantor: President Obama’s Policies Have Failed To Fix The Economy – The Republican Path Forward Is To Help America’s Small Business By Cutting Taxes and The Red Tape Preventing Them From Expanding. In a memo sent by Majority Leader Eric Cantor to GOP lawmakers Wednesday morning, the Virginia Republican laid out several measures that he hopes will make up the first quarter of 2012. The plan, he wrote, “is focused on helping small businesses grow and giving all hardworking taxpayers a fair shot and an opportunity to succeed.” … “President Obama has had three years to try and fix the economy and create jobs,” Cantor wrote in the memo. “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.” Politico
State Of Play (2): House Votes To Extend Pay Freeze For Federal Employees and Members Of Congress
House Extends Pay Freeze For Members of Congress and Washington Bureaucrats. House lawmakers voted Wednesday night to freeze their pay and the salaries of congressional staffers and civilian federal employees, scoring a symbolic victory for congressional Republicans who have targeted government compensation as an example of excessive federal spending. On a vote of 309 to 117, GOP supporters scored the two-thirds majority needed to approve the measure under a suspension of normal procedural roles. The bill, introduced by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), would extend the current two-year freeze on federal cost-of-living raises for an additional year starting next January. Lawmakers haven’t raised congressional pay in four of the last six years. The Washington Post
• Leader Cantor: Given It’s Strong Bipartisan Support and It’s Prior Inclusion In The GOP’s Year-Long Payroll Tax Extension, The Pay Freeze Should Be Included In The Final Conference Report To Extend The Payroll Tax Cut. “Last night, over 300 members of the House, including 72 Democrats, supported a measure to freeze pay for all federal workers, including members of Congress. … This common sense measure was used to offset a portion of the cost of House Republicans’ payroll bill in December, and given its strong bipartisan support, should be included in the final conference report to extend the payroll tax cut.” Press Release
The Road Ahead: Manufacturers Call For Adoption Of House-Passed Jobs Bill, Say Over 200,000 Jobs At Risk Without It
Over 300 Business Groups and Manufacturers Call For Inclusion Of House-Passed Boiler MACT Legislation. We write to urge you to support the inclusion of the EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011 as part of the conference agreement on the payroll tax-cut extension legislation (H.R. 3630). The EPA Regulatory Relief Act, otherwise known as the Boiler MACT legislation, is critical to preserving jobs in many manufacturing industries, and we urge you to help pass this important legislation. As you know, the House included H.R. 2250 in its payroll tax package on December 13, 2011 … The overall capital cost of the Boiler MACT rule remains over $14 billion for manufacturers. In the re-proposed rules, some standards became more stringent, and some limits may not be achievable, especially within the current three year compliance timeframe. This jeopardizes over 200,000 critically needed jobs. … Enactment of the EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011 is the best way to provide the time needed for the development and implementation of achievable Boiler MACT rules that will deliver the intended benefits. View The Letter HERE
• Reminder: Back In October, H.R. 2250 Enjoyed Strong Bipartisan Support With 41 Democrats Joining A United Republican Conference In Favor Of The Bill.
o Boiler MACT Is Also One Of The 27 Bipartisan House-Passed Jobs Bills Languishing In The Senate Because Senator Reid Refuses To Hold A Vote.
Jobs & The Economy: House Republicans Continue To Move Forward On The American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act
Natural Resources Passes Key Portions Of The American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act Out Of Committee. A House committee Wednesday passed three measures to boost domestic energy output, and Republicans prepared to attach them to a $260 billion transportation package … The GOP bills would jumpstart offshore oil production, open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling and promote more exploration for oil shale, an expensive but potentially big source of American crude. … Mr. Obama, in his State of the Union address last week, took what he described as an "all of the above" approach, backing environmentally safe oil and gas production while vowing to double down on federal support for wind power and solar energy. … The energy bills are the House GOP's solution for a looming funding gap in the highway and transportation legislation. Maintenance for highways and bridges in the U.S. is paid for via the 18-cents-per-gallon federal gasoline tax. But highway spending outstrips tax revenue, leaving a shortfall the Congressional Budget Office estimates at $10 billion. The bills could create more revenue for the federal government by making more leases available for oil and gas exploration, including in the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and the Arctic refuge. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R., Colo.), the chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee, said drilling in a small part of the Arctic refuge could bring in up to $150 billion in new revenue and help produce more than 1.4 million barrels of oil a day. The Wall Street Journal
President Obama’s Energy Policy Is Anything But “All Of The Above.” President Obama’s ambiguous call to “open” 75 percent of the country’s potential offshore oil and natural gas resources to exploration may sound generous, but the truth is, the areas containing those resources are technically already included in the upcoming 2012 to 2017 offshore leasing plan, and they are virtually the same areas where exploration and production have been allowed for decades. Look beyond the president’s rhetoric to his record and it becomes clear that jobs and energy security are not high priorities for this administration. … There are also considerable resources off the coast of Virginia, where residents and state leadership support exploration. Unfortunately, the Department of the Interior has yet to allow the industry to move forward there. In addition to denying Virginia’s desire for an offshore lease sale, the department’s 2012 to 2017 proposed oil and gas leasing program keeps the eastern Gulf and the Atlantic and Pacific coasts off-limits to exploration and delays development in Alaska. This sends job creation elsewhere, and closes the door on economic growth. Despite the vital revenue generated, jobs created, wages paid and increased energy security, less than 3 percent of the federal outer continental shelf is leased, leaving more than 97 percent of these resource-rich areas devoid of any permits. The Washington Times
• Leader Cantor Renews Call For Offshore Energy Production Through The American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act. “Developing Virginia’s offshore energy resources will both create high-quality private sector jobs and help reduce our dependence on foreign oil. The American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act removes government red tape preventing domestic energy development and ensures Virginia receives a fair share of the revenues without interrupting military operations along our coast. Despite President Obama’s claims of an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy approach, his policies have halted new energy exploration off the coast of Virginia.” Press Release
Freezing Pay Wasn’t The Only Bill Passed Last Night … The House voted Wednesday to freeze federal workers' pay until the end of 2013. … It was one of several victories Wednesday on the House floor. The House also easily approved another bill aimed at cutting welfare fraud by preventing recipients from accessing money in strip clubs, casinos and liquor stores. Only a few dozen Democrats opposed that bill. Republicans passed a third bill, a resolution chopping most committee budgets by 6.4 percent or more for 2012. Democrats put up token resistance to that proposal, but it was approved quickly on a voice vote. And finally, the House approved legislation to repeal a piece of the 2010 healthcare law setting up a voluntary long-term health insurance program that even the Obama administration found to be financially untenable. More than two dozen Democrats joined Republicans in that 267-159 vote. The Hill
The Class Act – The House Votes To Repeal The Entitlement Program Created By ObamaCare. The Republican-led House on Wednesday voted to repeal a financially troubled part of the 2010 health care law that was designed to provide affordable long-term care insurance. The House vote comes months after the Obama administration suspended the Community Living Assistance Services and Support program, known as the CLASS Act. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in October said she was unable to find a way to make the program financially solvent. … The House vote was 267-159, with 28 Democrats joining all 239 voting Republicans in support. The Associated Press