The Leader's Ledger

Posted by Brian Patrick on

Good morning,

Today, House Majority Leader Cantor will address AIPAC, where he will reiterate the strong bond between the U.S. and Israel, and will call for increased U.S. leadership in the Middle East saying “America needs to be a compass- not a weathervane-in the Middle East” as Iran moves closer to attaining nuclear weapons capability. On FOX News this morning, Leader Cantor said, “There is bipartisan support in Washington on Capitol Hill supporting Israel’s right to defend itself. And I know that has always been the policy of this country and I’m hopeful that this President will communicate to our ally and Prime Minister Netanyahu, that we intend to continue to support Israel’s ability to secure itself as well as obviously look out for U.S. interests as they play out in the region.”

Today In History: In 1946, in one of the most famous orations of the Cold War period, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill condemns the Soviet Union's policies in Europe and declares, "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent."

Birthdays: Rep. Todd Platts, Eva Mendes, Dean Stockwell, and Niki Taylor Yesterday: Rep. Chris Smith and Rep. James Lankford

Here is what’s in today’s Ledger …

State Of Play: Leader Cantor To Speak At AIPAC

PREVIEW: Leader Cantor’s Address To AIPAC: “We have to transition from confusion to clarity in the Middle East. A major source of confusion is: Where is the leadership? Who is leading from the front–with a finger pointing in the right direction rather than a finger pointing in the wind? America needs to be a compass–not a weathervane–in the Middle East. … The time for illusions is over. The reality is that Iran is moving closer and closer to attaining a nuclear weapons capability. Neither Israel nor America can afford to be nuclear re-actors. Leadership requires action, not re-action! … We must stop following mirages in the Middle East and start following through on this reality: our mission in the Middle East is to drive our stake in the sand with our values -- to proclaim our values rather than apologize for them.” Politico’s Playbook

Cantor: The World Has Questions About The President’s Resolve In Preventing A Nuclear Iran. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Monday questioned President Obama’s “resolve” in his commitment to keeping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and protecting Israel. “What I think is going on right now is, not only some of us here in this country are questioning where the resolve is,” Cantor said on MSNBC. “I’ve spoken with many allies in the region, and that includes many Arab governments, and it is they that are also questioning where the resolve is. If you look at what is going on in the region, the question of American influence and leadership is a real one.” The Hill

State Of Play (2): House To Vote On JOBS Act To Boost Small Biz This Week

Leader Cantor: The JOBS Act Will Boost Small Business Job Growth. “I think the numbers actually contradict the assertion that entrepreneurs are really back in the game widespread right now, because over the last three years what we've seen is a 23% decline in the number of small business startups. … In fact, in the House this week we are going to take up the JOBS Act. This is a bill that even the President has said that he's supportive of. We have Republicans and Democrats alike dedicated to actually helping small businesses and entrepreneurs grow again. We're going to follow up on that in another couple of weeks with a small business tax cut. These are the kinds of things that we can come together on.” CNBC’s Squawk Box

Editorial: Cantor’s Bipartisan JOBS Act Is The Right Approach To Boost Small Business. While introducing legislation to help small businesses create jobs, Cantor explained that some of the package's components came from the administration's jobs council. The White House similarly praised the essentials in the House majority leader's plans. … Cantor's jobs initiative does not propose to bail out small businesses. Rather, it stresses tax cuts. A 20 percent reduction would keep capital in the hands of business owners, thereby allowing them to increase their investments and expand their hiring. Legislators from both parties have expressed their enthusiasm. Richmond Times-Dispatch

The Road Ahead: President Obama’s Failure To Put Forward A Comprehensive Energy Strategy Threatens Economic Growth

Leader Cantor: President Obama’s Energy Strategy Is Anything But “All Of The Above,” The President Has Been Down Right Hostile Toward Traditional Energy Production. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., attacked President Obama on Sunday as being "hostile to fossil fuels," arguing that his policies were what's causing pain at the gas pump for many Americans. "He's hostile to fossil fuels, he’s hostile to coal, he's hostile to oil, he's hostile, frankly, to gas," Cantor said on NBC's Meet the Press, calling for a clearer energy policy from Obama. … While he acknowledged the need to search for new technology to reduce reliance on gas, Cantor said … "The reality is, we are going to be a nation dependent upon fossil fuels for the foreseeable future," he said. National Journal

Chairman Graves: Rising Gas Prices Are One Of The Biggest Threats To Small Business and Economic Growth. One of the biggest threats now to our recovery is gas prices, which have consistently increased over several weeks. The nationwide average jumped to roughly $3.76 a gallon, according to the motorist group AAA. It was $3.46 a gallon only a month ago. This presents a significant burden for small businesses, already struggling to make payroll, deal with regulations and figure out how to comply with the health care law. Energy is a major cost for a substantial share of small businesses, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. One in 10, or 10 percent, of small-business owners claim that energy is their single biggest cost — greater than wages and salaries, materials and supplies. A further 25 percent say energy is their second- or third-largest business cost. … Michael Gray, owner of Gray & Associates in Springfield, Mo., expressed the same sentiment. “The high cost of gasoline, natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas and petrochemicals,” Gray said, “is sucking any money consumers and small business have that could help stimulate the economy from the bottom up. What can Congress do to lower the high cost of energy, which drives up the cost of everything manufactured and transported, to help save our economy?” … “The impact that these price spikes have on the small-business trucker is devastating,” Dick Pingel, the operator of Finally Trucking in Wisconsin, said during a hearing last year, “halting investment and potentially forcing drivers to default on the loans that finance their trucks.” Politico

Oil and Gas Production On Federal Land Has DROPPED During The Obama Administration. While lamenting the bumper-sticker simplicities of his opponents, the president of nuance neglected to mention a few details. On federal lands, oil production declined 11 percent from 2010 to 2011, according to the pro-drilling Institute for Energy Research. On state and private lands, production increased 14 percent. Natural-gas production on federal lands dropped 27 percent from 2009, and increased 28 percent on state and private lands. The president took credit for a trend with which he had nothing to do and which he has tried to obstruct. Leases for onshore exploration under the Obama administration are down roughly 35 percent from the Bush administration and 70 percent from the Clinton administration. National Review

The Obama Administration Has Made It A Priority To “Choke Off” Domestic Energy Production. Contrary to what it would now have you believe, choking off production under federal leases was quite clearly a priority of this administration from the start. When gas prices reached $4 per gallon in the summer of 2008, the Bush administration reached a bipartisan agreement to open virtually all of the OCS to oil production, ending a thirty-year moratorium. In its first weeks, the Obama administration shelved the plan. Last year, Obama announced a new five-year plan effectively closing all of America’s OCS until 2017, leaving only northern Alaska and the central and western Gulf of Mexico open to drilling. Now the Obama administration claims that it has actually opened more of the OCS to exploration than before. But that is true only in the sense that he first closed off all of what he could close, then opened up a small fraction of that. But the net effect has been to close nearly all of the OCS that was open when he assumed office. … Even in the few areas of the OCS that remain open, the administration is seeking to strangle production. As a result of the various deep-water drilling moratoriums, a third of the Gulf’s deep-water drilling rigs have left for other shores, dissuaded by the regulatory uncertainty. … On federal lands the story has been the same. Just as technological breakthroughs have paved the way for tapping into the vast oil reserves of the Rocky Mountain states, the administration cut the number of new leases by 50 percent in 2010 alone. The Weekly Standard

Regulatory Row

The EPA Continues Its Regulatory Onslaught, Creating More Uncertainty and Costing More Americans Their Jobs. Unfortunately, the tendency in Washington, D.C., for regulatory overreach is making it increasingly difficult for us to do so, here and across the country. Last March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was rushed to issue rules setting emission limits for boilers used in manufacturing facilities, municipal power plants, hospitals, universities and other facilities. … The methodology the EPA is using to set emission limits is extremely stringent. Some limits approach levels that can barely be detected, and are unachievable. The costs to achieve these limits are estimated at $6 billion to $7 billion for the forest products industry alone. These are multibillion-dollar decisions that cannot be made overnight. Businesses need to know when investments are made that their facilities will meet compliance standards. The back-and-forth of the EPA proposing and the courts intervening in regulations has left us in a regulatory limbo. Enactment of legislation pending before Congress, the EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011, is the best way to provide the time needed for the development of achievable rules governing boiler emissions. … To be clear, I support clean air and realistic air quality standards. The legislation does not exempt boiler owners from regulation; it simply provides for more affordable, achievable regulations and reasonable compliance timelines. The EPA has a choice – it can regulate in a way that protects both jobs and the environment, or it can regulate in a way that sacrifices jobs. The Spokesman-Review

REMINDER: The House passed the EPA Regulatory Relief Act Of 2011 In A Strong Bipartisan Vote. When will Senator Reid and Senator Schumer Take Up The Bill?

o The House has passed nearly 30 bipartisan jobs bills that are stuck in the Senate because Senator Reid refuses to act on them. View the list bills being BLOCKED by Senator Reid HERE

Keeping Tabs

FOIA Lawyer: The Obama Administration’s Record On Transparency Is “The Worst.” President Barack Obama set a high bar for open government, and he set it quickly. A minute after he took office, the White House website declared his administration would become “the most open and transparent in history.” By the end of his first full day on the job, Obama had issued high-profile orders pledging “a new era” and “an unprecedented level of openness” across the massive federal government. But three years into his presidency, critics say Obama’s administration has failed to deliver the refreshing blast of transparency that the president promised. “Obama is the sixth administration that’s been in office since I’ve been doing Freedom of Information Act work. … It’s kind of shocking to me to say this, but of the six, this administration is the worst on FOIA issues. The worst. There’s just no question about it,” said Katherine Meyer, a Washington lawyer who’s been filing FOIA cases since 1978. “This administration is raising one barrier after another. … It’s gotten to the point where I’m stunned — I’m really stunned.” Politico

GOP Health Care Reforms