The Leader's Ledger

Posted by Brian Patrick on

Good morning,

Today, the House passed a strengthened and expanded version of the bipartisan STOCK Act to prohibit Members of Congress, federal officials and staff from using nonpublic information for personal gain. As Leader Cantor said on the floor this morning, the STOCK Act “delivers on our promise to uphold the trust of the American people" and he praised Reps. Louise Slaughter and Tim Walz for their hard work to ensure that elected officials abide by the same rules as everyone else. It is now up to the Senate to act quickly to accept this expanded version that received 417 votes in the House and send it to the President for his signature.

Today In History: In 1992, after stunning the world three months earlier with the news he had contracted HIV and was immediately retiring from the Los Angeles Lakers, basketball great Magic Johnson returns to play in the 42nd NBA All-Star game in Orlando, Florida, where the crowd greeted him with a standing ovation and was named the MVP.

Birthdays: Rep Renee Ellmers, Rep. Todd Rokita, Joe Pesci, Carole King, and John Kruk

Here is what’s in today’s Ledger …

State Of Play: House Passes GOP Strengthened STOCK Act 417-2

Leader Cantor Applauds Bipartisan STOCK Act: Our government was founded on a promise. This promise was built on a trust between the people and its elected officials. We all have a duty to honor the trust of the American people and to work faithfully on their behalf. It is unacceptable for anyone, any elected official, or their staff, to profit from information that is not available to the public. People in this country have a right to know and trust that officials at all levels of government are living under the same rules they are. If there is even the slightest appearance of impropriety, we ought to go ahead and prevent that from taking place. It is incumbent upon each of us to start restoring trust between the people and their elected representatives. That’s what the STOCK Act is all about. Members from both sides of the aisle have worked hard on this issue. I would especially like to express my appreciation to Representatives Tim Walz and Louise Slaughter for their years of work on this effort. Congressman Walz has been a leader on the STOCK Act since he took office at the start of 110th Congress and I particularly want to recognize his willingness to reach across the aisle, and keep the lines of communication open as we worked to make clear that elected officials abide by the same rules as the American people. Floor Statement

How House Republicans Strengthened The STOCK Act

• Specifically prohibit Executive and Legislative Branch officials from gaining preferential access to initial public offerings

• Definitively extend the new transaction reporting requirements to all Executive Branch officials who are required to file annual financial disclosures

• Extend the proposed Legislative Branch public disclosure requirements (including making all financial disclosures available online by September 1, 2012) to the Executive Branch

• Extend the current restriction on employment negotiations by senior government officials to the Executive Branch

• Extend the current prohibition on attempting to influence private hiring decisions on the basis of political affiliations to the Executive Branch

• Ensuring the prohibitions on using nonpublic information for private profit extends to all Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branch officers and employees

State Of Play (2): White House Refuses To Call On Senate Democrats To Pass A Budget

Despite It’s Negative Impact On Economic Growth, White House Says It Has No Opinion On Senate Democrats Passing A Budget. TAPPER: The White House has no opinion about whether or not the Senate should pass a budget? The president’s going to introduce one. The Fed chair says not having one is bad for growth. But the White House has no opinion about whether – CARNEY: I have no opinion — the White House has no opinion on Chairman Bernanke’s assessment of how the Senate ought to do its business. ABC News

Flashback: White House In June 2010: No Budget, No Worries

White House Refuses To Say The Senate Should Even Propose A Budget, Let Alone Pass One. Asked yesterday about the lack of a Senate budget, spokesman Jay Carney said that "Well, I don't have an opinion to express on how the Senate does its business with regards to this issue." ABC's Jack Tapper pressed, incredulously, "The White House has no opinion about whether or not the Senate should pass a budget?" Mr. Carney reiterated that President Obama has "no opinion," only that he "looks forward to the Senate acting on the policy initiatives contained within his budget." But Mr. Carney refused to say the Senate should act by even proposing a budget, let alone, you know, actually passing one. The Wall Street Journal

Democrats Want To Pretend The Budgeting Law They Created Doesn’t Even Exist. The running tally of days without a budget has become a Republican talking point, but there's a lesson here about liberal governance and the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. That law, a Democratic creation, mandates that both chambers by April submit a formal budget blueprint that shows how the government will meet its obligations over the coming year, lays out a general fiscal framework for entitlements and sets priorities for spending and taxes. The law was supposed to increase the incentives for fiscal discipline. But now that House Republicans want to take it seriously, Democrats want to pretend it doesn't exist. The Wall Street Journal

Hoyer Takes The White House’s “No Opinion” A Step Further, Declaring Democrats “Don’t Need A Budget.” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that Congress does not need an official federal budget because it can just adopt appropriations bills and authorization policies as needed to keep operating. … Hoyer said: “What does the budget do? The budget does one thing and really only one thing: It sets the parameters of spending and discretionary caps. … He continued: “The fact is, you don’t need a budget.” … The House Republicans passed a budget for fiscal year 2012 back in April 2011 – not one House Democrat supported the bill, and only four House Republicans voted against it. The budget bill went nowhere in the Democrat-controlled Senate. The last time the Senate passed a budget was on Apr. 29, 2009 … Last Friday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), referencing the last debt ceiling deal, said, “We do not need to bring a budget to the floor this year. It’s done, we don’t need to do it.” CNS News

Hoyer, Dem Leaders Double Down On Their Anti-Budget Stance, Reject Bipartisan Line-Item Veto Bill. Four House Democratic leaders broke with the White House and their top budget chief to oppose a bill on Wednesday that would grant the president a modified line-item veto authority. Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.), Assistant Leader James Clyburn (S.C.), Caucus Chairman John Larson (Conn.) and Vice Chairman Xavier Becerra (Calif.) all voted against bipartisan legislation jointly authored by GOP budget architect Paul Ryan (Wis.) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) initially voted "no" on the bill before switching to "yes." … The House overwhelmingly approved the legislation, known as the Expedited Legislative Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act, on a vote of 254-173. The bill would allow the president to make specific rescission recommendations to legislation passed by Congress. Those cuts would then have to be approved by Congress. The Hill

The Economy: President Obama’s Efforts To Raise Taxes With Lower Investment and Cripple Already Slow Growth

If You Want An Economy Built To Last, You Don’t Raise Taxes On Capital. As a new study from Ernst and Young shows, taking into account both the corporate and investor level taxes on corporate profits and state level taxes, the United States has among the highest integrated tax rates among developed countries. And under President Obama’s current tax plan of letting the Bush tax cuts on capital expire — not even counting Obama’s Buffett rule — here is what happens next year: The current top US integrated dividend tax rate of 50.8 percent will rise to 68.6 percent in 2013, significantly higher than in all other OECD and BRIC countries. The current top US integrated capital gains tax rate of 50.8 percent will rise to 56.7 percent in 2013, the second highest among OECD and BRIC countries. And why is this is a bad thing? Pay attention Obama White House … Most developed countries provide relief from the double tax on corporate profits because it distorts important economic decisions that waste economic resources and adversely affect economic performance. It discourages capital investment, particularly in the corporate sector, reducing capital formation and, ultimately, living standards. It favors debt over equity financing, which may result in greater reliance on debt financing and leave certain sectors and companies more at risk during periods of economic weakness. A tax policy that discourages the payment of dividends can impact corporate governance as investors’ decisions about how to allocate capital are disrupted by the absence of signals dividend payments would normally provide. … More investment, less debt. That is how an economy is built to last. The Enterprise Blog

Chief Deputy Whip Roskam: A Higher Taxes Is Going To Have A Negative Impact On Growth, Capital Is Going To Go Where It’s Treated Best. The group, the Alliance for Savings & Investment, will release a study today showing that the U.S. has the world’s fourth-highest integrated tax rate on dividends and capital gains -- 50.8 percent including the effect of the corporate income tax and state taxes. Only France and Denmark have higher tax rates than the U.S. on both capital gains and dividends, according to the study. “The international comparisons are very helpful because they frame the entire debate,” Representative Peter Roskam, an Illinois Republican who has introduced legislation to make the current rates permanent, said in an interview. “It’s a zero-sum game. Capital is fungible and capital is going to go where it’s treated best.” Bloomberg

The Road Ahead: House Republicans Prepare To Bring An Earmark Free, Job Creating Transportation Bill To The Floor

Speaker Boehner: The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act Will Boost Domestic Energy Production and Create Jobs. This week, the House will continue to advance pro-growth legislation by passing the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act (H.R. 7). This legislation will help to create good, private-sector jobs, ease rising gas prices and promote stable, long-term economic growth. It represents not only a 180-degree turn from the failed stimulus approach of President Obama, but also a genuine departure from the misguided way Washington has been abusing hardworking taxpayers for years. H.R. 7 begins by breaking down government barriers to allow for responsible exploration of energy resources here at home. Producing more American-made resources will bolster our energy security, help ease prices at the pump and create more than one million new American jobs. The bill will also override the President on the Keystone pipeline so that it can move forward. While President Obama has destroyed energy jobs by implementing a drilling moratorium and rejecting the Keystone project, Republicans want to tap American resources to create new jobs. … The new Republican majority was sent to Washington to end the status quo, and with the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, we are fixing the mistakes of the past—completely overhauling the way taxpayer dollars are spent. For starters, pulling from new energy exploration, this infrastructure jobs bill doesn't add a dime to the deficit. And it will have no earmarks—none. The last highway bill was stuffed with more than 6,300 earmarks. But gone are the days when powerful chairmen and the most senior members of Congress steer your money to their most-favored pet projects. Human Events

Chairman Hastings: President Obama’s Actions On Energy Speak Louder Than Words When It Comes To His Energy Policies. The Obama administration has spent the last three years enacting policies that make energy more expensive for American families by restricting access to our own vast energy resources. For example, in 2008, when Obama was elected, nearly all of our offshore areas were open for energy production, thanks to the actions of Congress and the Bush administration. Almost immediately after being sworn in, the president closed off newly opened offshore areas, placing the entire Atlantic and Pacific coasts, as well as portions of the Arctic, off-limits to new American energy production. Whether it’s canceling more than 1 million acres of promising oil shale development in the West, slow-walking offshore permits, canceling lease sales or making plans to impose new regulations on hydraulic fracturing on federal land, this administration has been anything but helpful to the production of more American energy and more American jobs. Obama might like to talk about energy production increasing and oil imports decreasing during his term in office, but the truth is that he’s taking credit for the work of past administrations. The Hill


Wine Industry Fueling Economic Growth In Virginia. Virginia's growing wine industry seems to be bearing fruit, according to an economic impact study released by Gov. Bob McDonnell's office Thursday. Between 2005 and 2010, the wine industry's economic impact has more than doubled to nearly $750 million in contributions to the state's economy every year. During that time, the number of wineries has increased from about 130 to nearly 200 and the number of full-time jobs at wineries and vineyards rose from about 3,160 in 2005 to more than 4,750 in 2010. "The Virginia wine industry has seen tremendous growth over last few years," McDonnell said in a statement. The Associated Press

GOP Health Care Reforms