In the latest sign of election year posturing, Senator Reid is playing politics with the overwhelmingly bipartisan JOBS Act. While the Senate appears set to act on the House-passed JOBS Act this week, Senator Reid is threatening its passage by attaching unrelated partisan amendments. The JOBS Act passed the House with strong bipartisan support last week, and President Obama has asked for the bill as soon as possible. At a time of high unemployment, slow economic growth and rising gas prices, Senator Reid needs stop playing politics and move forward with the House version of the JOBS Act to get small businesses growing and hiring again.
Today In History: In 1950, the Federal Bureau of Investigation instituted the "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" list in an effort to publicize particularly dangerous fugitives.
Birthdays: Senator Tom Coburn, Quincy Jones, Mercedes McNab, Michael Cane, Laura Leighton, Kirby Puckett, Albert Einstein and Team Cantor’s own Lloyd Lenhart
Here is what’s in today’s Ledger …
State Of Play: Reid Stalls JOBS Act, Puts Politics Before Job Creation, Economic Growth
Senator Reid Chooses To Be An Obstructionist, Stalls Action On Bipartisan JOBS Act. Sen. Harry Reid puts politics before jobs for 13 million out-of-work Americans. Look no further than his decision this week to put off a vote that would help small businesses grow and create jobs. Instead, the Nevada Democrat is wasting time looking for lifetime employment for 17 well-paid judges. The Democratic Senate needs to stop obstructing and start prioritizing. … The bill to give business startups easier access to capital and lessen the costs and regulations for initial public offerings sailed through the House on Thursday, 390 to 23. Conflicted Democrats didn’t want to give the GOP a win on economic issues, but this was an idea they had previously supported. After the White House released a statement giving President Obama’s endorsement, they rushed to hit the green “yea” button on the voting machines. The Washington Times
FLASHBACK: Leader Cantor On February 21st – It’s up to Harry Reid if he wants to be an obstructionist or an ally in the bipartisan effort to boost small business.
• Senate Shell Games: Reid Says The Senate Never Received The JOBS Act. Mr. Reid ended the bipartisanship Monday, saying on the floor that he couldn’t move quickly on the House-passed bill “because we don’t have the bill yet from the House.” The document actually had been received in the Senate five days earlier, immediately after it passed the House. Claiming legislation got lost in the 230 yards or so between the two chambers in the Capitol is just one of Mr. Reid’s stalling tactics. The Washington Times
Steve Case: Passing the JOBS Act Is The Single Most Important Step The Senate Could Take To Help Entrepreneurs. Besides keeping up with industry trends, Case adds that certain structural changes could aid U.S. entrepreneurs. The single most important action right now, that will change the way entrepreneurship is done, is the passing of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups, or JOBS, Act, says Case. That legislation, which the House passed last week, is sprawling, but there is one critical piece that will dramatically affect entrepreneurship on its passing -- that is, access to capital will be improved. The legislation would legalize aspects of crowdfunding for companies. Entrepreneur
Senator Kyl: If Senate Democrats Stopped Stalling, The JOBS Act Could Be On The President’s Desk By Friday. The No. 2-ranked Senate Republican Leader, Minority Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.), said that if Democrats acted on the House-passed JOBS Act, the bill could be on Obama’s desk before the week’s end. Kyl told reporters “many in the leadership of the other party said that jobs is their No. 1 focus. We have an opportunity to get a bill to the president’s desk perhaps by this Friday, this week, that deals directly with jobs in a way that apparently a majority of Democrats in both bodies agree with and the president agrees with — why wouldn’t we want to do that?” The Hill
State Of Play (2): Cost Of ObamaCare Nearly Doubles, While Fewer and Fewer Americans Will Be Able To Keep Their Current Coverage
Cost Of ObamaCare Soars To $1.76 Trillion. President Obama's national health care law will cost $1.76 trillion over a decade, according to a new projection released today by the Congressional Budget Office, rather than the $940 billion forecast when it was signed into law. Today, the CBO released new projections from 2013 extending through 2022, and the results are as critics expected: the ten-year cost of the law's core provisions to expand health insurance coverage has now ballooned to $1.76 trillion. That's because we now have estimates for Obamacare's first nine years of full implementation, rather than the mere six when it was signed into law. Only next year will we get a true ten-year cost estimate, if the law isn't overturned by the Supreme Court or repealed by then. The Washington Examiner
• Flashback: President Obama On The Cost Of ObamaCare – “Now, add it all up, and the plan I'm proposing will cost around $900 billion over 10 years … “
If You Like It, You Won’t Be Able To Keep It – New Study Highlights Fewer Employers Will Offer The Current Coverage Employees Have. Moreover, fewer than 30% of employers say they were able to maintain grandfathered status of their healthcare plans. This rapid loss of grandfathered status far outpaces Obamacare’s original estimates of what would happen. The preamble to the June 2010 regulations noted that by the end of 2011, the Obama administration expected 78% of employers would retain grandfathered status. By the end of 2012, they forecast that 62% would still be grandfathered, and by the end of 2013, 49% would retain their grandfathered status. The new report states: “The accelerated loss of grandfathered status suggests that employers have had to make many plan changes to offset cost increases, and perhaps employers have been more willing to give up grandfathered status in order to take other steps to control costs.” The American
• CBO Agrees, Says 4 Million More Americans Will Lose Their Employee-Based Insurance. According to CBO, four million fewer Americans will receive employer-based insurance, leading “to an increase in estimated revenues because a larger share of total compensation will take the form of taxable wages and salaries and a smaller share will be in the form of nontaxable health benefits.” Press Release
The Obama Premium: Gas Prices Are Unacceptably High, President Obama’s Policies Will Drive Them Even Higher
Editorial: President Obama’s Energy Policies, Push To Raise Taxes Will Lead To Higher Gas Prices. Why he would still want to do this amid the political panic over $4 per gallon gasoline is a mystery. Even Mr. Obama now claims to want lower gas prices, commenting recently that "Do you think the President of the United States going into re-election wants gas prices to go up higher?" Too bad his every policy choice, and especially his tax agenda, would lead to higher prices. The Wall Street Journal
The Congressional Research Service Says The President’s Plan To Increase Taxes Will “Make Oil and Natural Gas More Expensive For U.S. Consumers and Likely Increase Foreign Dependence.”
• President Obama Continues To Slow Walk Drilling Permits, Threaten Domestic Energy Production With Higher Taxes. The boom in oil production has taken place almost entirely on private and state lands, while on federal lands it’s dropped (11 percent from 2010 to 2011 alone). The administration has also slowed the permitting of offshore oil-and-gas development to a trickle. Another major factor is the development of new technologies that make it possible to extract ever more fuel from domestic sources. Instead of words of support, Obama keeps telling those companies they need to be taxed more and have their subsidies yanked, and he’s touting the wonder-working power of algae (a possibly valuable fuel source by the middle of the century). National Review
Sinking In The Polls, No Solutions At Hand – Chu Runs Away From Higher Gas Prices Comment. But with rising gas prices sinking the president's approval rating in some new national polls, Chu says he has had a change of heart. "Are you saying that you no longer share the view that we need to figure out how to boost gasoline prices in America?" Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, asked Chu. "I no longer share that view," the energy secretary said. "But you did then, but you don't now?" pressed Lee. Chu noted that he had made the comments before he was in government, just a couple of months before Obama won election and Chu was nominated to his current post. Fox News
President Obama’s Vision For America – A Nation Of Loafers. The Obama administration has achieved a feat no President, recession or war has been able to achieve during the past 70 years: since January 2009, the American labor force has stopped growing. … The labor numbers released Friday tell the tale. For the first time since World War II, the civilian labor force has shown no growth during a president's term. In every single year since the Truman administration, the growth in population has been matched with a growth in labor force; that is, the number of people who are working or say they would like to be working. … The Obama administration has surprisingly succeeded in turning Americans away from valuing work in a way no other president has sought to achieve. An administration that disparages and demeans successful people, that disapproves and devalues the private sector, that demands handouts and delivers on threats, will discourage productive work. … Indeed, the O economy is revealed as the O-fer economy -- O-fer on jobs, O-fer on workforce growth, O-fer on increasing the employment rate. Yet our real concern should be with what a second term would bring, because the O-fer vision of America is to turn us into a nation of loafers -- dependent and dependable clients -- as ever more of our fellow citizens are pushed out of work, encouraged to forsake productive activity, and forced to sit on the bench watching life pass by. Real Clear Markets