The Leader's Ledger

Posted by Jessica Straus on

Good morning,

Both parties agree that we must take action to prevent devastating cuts to our military that would be enacted next year under the sequester. Today, the House will take action and pass our responsible bill to fund our troops and implement common sense savings for American taxpayers. Despite clear statements from the Obama Administration that they believe “the sequester is not good policy,” Harry Reid has chosen to accept the sequester as, “the only path forward.” The American people expect Congress to work together for the good of our country. House Republicans continue to lead and pass common-sense solutions to take our country forward, maintain a strong national defense and address our fiscal challenges. Senate Democrats need to join us.

Today In History: In 1869, the presidents of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads met in Promontory, Utah, and drove a ceremonial last spike into a rail line that connects their railroads. This made transcontinental railroad travel possible for the first time in U.S. history.

Birthdays: Rep. Mike Kelly, Rick Santorum, Andrew Card, Bryant Avondoglio, Meghan Condon, Bono, Fred Astaire, Max Steiner, Sid Vicious

Here are the Top 6 things you need to know today…

1. State of Play: House Will Vote Today To Prevent Harmful Cuts To Our Military, Protect Our Troops & Bring Down The Debt. This week, the House is taking action to avoid these dire results by replacing the sequester with common-sense spending reductions that members of both parties should be able to support. For instance, we propose to stop waste in the food-stamp program by ensuring that individuals are actually eligible for the taxpayer benefits they receive. That shouldn't be a partisan issue. That's common sense…The reforms we're advancing this week will also save billions of taxpayer dollars by prohibiting future bailouts for "too big to fail" institutions. We need to be ending the concept of "too big to fail," not enshrining it with a permanent bailout fund. These savings will replace the arbitrary sequester cuts and lay the groundwork for further efforts to avert the spending-driven economic crisis before us. Unless we act, the sequester will take effect. We do not believe this is in the national interest, and the President claims that he agrees. There is no reason why we cannot work together. House Republicans are bringing specific proposals to the table. If the Democrats mean what they say, it is time for them to work with us to spare our troops from the consequences of Washington's failures. Chairmen Ryan & McKeon, Real Clear Politics

2. Pro-Growth: President Obama Distances Himself From Failed Economic Policies & ObamaCare, Only Way Forward Is Through Private Sector Job Creation. The only way out of this abyss is, of course, private-sector economic growth. In the aftermath of the recession of the early 1980s, for example, President Reagan's economic strategy was exactly the opposite of Mr. Obama's: lower taxes, lower spending as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), reduced regulations and strong-dollar monetary policy. That produced an average GDP growth rate of 7.1 percent. Now, three years into Obamanomics, America's GDP growth rate has slowed to a crawl: 2.2 percent…As if the quagmire that is Obamanomics weren't enough, the president dropped an anchor that not only sabotages his own recovery but threatens our nation's long-term economic survival: Obamacare…The Obamacare house of cards is collapsing. Its price tag has doubled. Americans remain adamantly opposed to it. And the unkeepable promises have vanished like vapor on the wind: It would allow you to keep your current insurance and doctor and lower your monthly health insurance premiums. It would reduce the deficit and create millions of jobs. Washington Times

3. The Economy: Government Expansion & Stimulus Spending Keeps Failing. For the U.S., my view is that the large fiscal deficits had a moderately positive effect on GDP growth in 2009, but this effect faded quickly and most likely became negative for 2011 and 2012. Yet many Keynesian economists look at the weak U.S. recovery and conclude that the problem was that the government lacked sufficient commitment to fiscal expansion; it should have been even larger and pursued over an extended period. This viewpoint is dangerously unstable. Every time heightened fiscal deficits fail to produce desirable outcomes, the policy advice is to choose still larger deficits. If, as I believe to be true, fiscal deficits have only a short-run expansionary impact on growth and then become negative, the results from following this policy advice are persistently low economic growth and an exploding ratio of public debt to GDP. The last conclusion is not just academic, because it fits with the behavior of Japan over the past two decades. Once a comparatively low public-debt nation, Japan apparently bought the Keynesian message many years ago. The consequence for today is a ratio of government debt to GDP around 210%—the largest in the world. This vast fiscal expansion didn't avoid two decades of sluggish GDP growth, which averaged less than 1% per year from 1991 to 2011. No doubt, a committed Keynesian would say that Japanese growth would have been even lower without the extraordinary fiscal stimulus—but a little evidence would be nice. Wall Street Journal

4. Foreign Policy: Leader Cantor & Whip Hoyer Lead Bipartisan Effort On Enhanced Israel Cooperation. The United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, which was sponsored by House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), passed by a vote of 411-2. The legislation garnered bipartisan support from 294 co-sponsors prior to passage…“This bill re-affirms Israel’s right to defend itself against threats and puts Congress on the record about America's long-standing commitment to the U.S.-Israel strategic relationship, a unique and special relationship founded on shared interests and shared democratic values,” Cantor said during his floor remarks. “This bill recognizes the profound threats the US and Israel face in the region and reiterates our commitment to standing side by side with Israel during this pivotal and dangerous period of transition and instability.” JTA

5. Energy Focus: President Obama's Not So "All Of The Above" Energy Plan. Energy and Commerce leaders today called attention to two glaring omissions in President Obama’s so-called “all of the above” energy plan. A new infographic features his vision for an energy future that excludes coal and hydropower. Coal and hydropower are critical American energy resources that together currently provide for over half the country’s electricity. Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) criticized the president for his continued crusade against coal. “This administration has been openly in the business of putting coal out of business,” said Whitfield. “And for the president to run around talking about an ‘all of the above’ energy policy, even on his campaign website, and to not even mention coal as an important energy sector is unbelievable to me.” Energy & Commerce Committee

6. Keeping Tabs: House Passes Bipartisan Measure Achieving Major Reforms To Export-Import Bank. “Make no mistake, I'm no fan of government subsidies,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who negotiated the bill with Hoyer for several months. “Export subsidies distort the free market and global trade. And in a perfect world, the Ex-Im Bank along with its counterparts in Europe, Asia and elsewhere would not exist.” Hoyer and Cantor, who have engaged in sharp exchanges on the floor this Congress, worked together to craft the Ex-Im legislation. The bipartisan effort is extremely rare in the House, though Cantor has been working with Democrats in recent weeks. Other than Ex-Im, Cantor has recently crafted bipartisan bills on the STOCK Act and the JOBS Act, which were both signed into law by President Obama. The Hill

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