The Leader's Ledger

Posted by Jessica Straus on

Good Morning –

Taking to the cameras once again today, President Obama will blame the stalled economy and the uptick in joblessness on “some serious headwinds.” Exactly. The headwinds of ObamaCare, the numerous regulations coming from his Administration and the threat of higher taxes are creating some serious blowback on small businesses struggling to grow and create jobs and adding uncertainty to the economy. House Republicans are working to right the ship and remove the President’s harmful policies so we can get the economy cruising again. Will the President join us on pro-growth measures, or will he keep the compass aimed on the wrong course?

Today In History: In 1968, James Earl Ray, the assassin of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was arrested in London. After the death of King, police quickly honed in on Ray as the primary suspect. After a manhunt was initiated by the FBI, it was discovered that he had escaped to London with a Canadian passport. Ray was taken into custody at a London airport.

Birthdays: Rep. Ken Calvert, Barbara Bush, Gabby Giffords, Joan Rivers, Jerry Stiller, Kanye West, Lindsay Davenport, Kim Clijsters, Nancy Sinatra, Mark Feuerstein, and Dana Wynter

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

1. State Of Play: Leader Cantor: We Will Continue To Fight Hard To Get The Fiscal House In Order, Cut Spending And Boost Economic Growth. “We Republicans in the House stood up last year and said we are elected to reflect the will of the people. What most Americans really are asking is how long can Washington keep spending money it doesn’t have? The other thing most people know at homes and in their businesses, they have got to make ends meet, and have got to begin to live within their means and balance their budgets. And the same should be true in their federal government in Washington. That’s why we’re going to continue to fight hard to reduce spending, and not go about the status quo...It’s been tough, it’s certainly been a rancorous year and a half because the President and Harry Reid have indicated no willingness to go along to solve problems. But we remain committed to being that force that is of common-sense, conservative philosophy that believes in fixing the problem so that we’re not digging the hole deeper, and that people can begin to grow again in terms of their outlook for the economy.” The Hugh Hewitt Show

2. Tax Debate: Speaker Boehner Highlights Upcoming House Vote To Stop Tax Hikes On Small Business Job Creators, Outlines Pro-Growth Tax Reform. “Next month, we will move a bill to extend all of the current tax rates for a year. And we will also work to outline our principles for reforming the tax code. The reason this isn't permanent is that--and only for a year--is that we really do want to fix our tax code, both the corporate code and the personal code, bring down tax rates, get rid of all the excess deductions and credits and all the carve-outs and nonsense that we have in the code today…Because we believe it's the only way we're going to achieve real economic growth is we've got to fix our tax plan.” CNBC

3. Dem Divide: Democrats Remain At Odds On Tax Cuts. Senate Democratic leaders are politically paralyzed on how to proceed on the Bush-era tax rates. With five months to go before the election, President Obama and key congressional Democrats remain at odds on whether the threshold for extending the George W. Bush-era rates for families should be $250,000 per year or $1 million annually. Obama backs the former while most Democratic leaders, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), support the higher threshold. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has no immediate plans to advance a bill allowing Bush-era tax rates for the wealthy to expire, and instead will let House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) move first on the Bush rates. Boehner plans to move a bill before the August recess…The difficulty Senate Democrats now face is maintaining a unified position on the Bush tax rates without having passed a budget and without immediate plans to vote on legislation extending the rates below a certain income level. Senate Republicans have launched a concerted effort to pressure vulnerable Democrats to support a temporary across-the-board extension. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Boehner held a press conference Wednesday calling for a one-year extension of the current tax rates. McConnell said Thursday that this would “provide certainty to families and job creators around the country that their taxes will not be going up on Jan. 1.” The Hill

4. Small Biz: ObamaCare Dumps Additional Costs On Small Business. When Obamacare passed in 2010, one of its essential elements was the “essential health benefit” (EHB) mandate… Because few small businesses are self-insured and thus will not get the benefit of this exemption, it might be expected that they would try to self-insure in order to qualify for special treatment. But the Obama administration recently issued a document that reads like an attempt to block small businesses from obtaining self-funded insurance…It’s hard not to see this as a concerted effort to dump these costs on the shoulders of the smallest businesses - companies already battered hard by the recession - while lifting them from the largest firms. As an issue of fairness, it’s not right. But in our view, there is a larger takeaway - namely, that the initial justification for even having the EHB mandate appears to have evaporated. Indeed, taking all of the exemptions into account, more than 100 million Americans will not be covered by the EHB requirements. Still, massive costs still loom for small businesses and entrepreneurs, constituencies not deemed important enough by the administration for special treatment. But if providing an EHB-mandated standardized benefits package for every American is no longer a “moral imperative,” it should not be an imperative at all. The Washington Times

5. Health Care: House Approves Bill To Repeal Harmful Medical Device Tax. House Republicans, with the help of 37 Democrats, approved the rebuke of Mr. Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment 270-146, with conservative lawmakers using the vote as a chance to paint the health care law as an unpopular job-destroyer. “The president has threatened to veto our bill because the tax will pay for his health care law,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. “We shouldn’t be increasing taxes to pay for a law that a majority of Americans want repealed, a law that even some ardent supporters admit will not work as intended.” Sponsored by Rep. Erik Paulsen, Minnesota Republican, the bill would undo a 2.3 percent tax on the sales of companies that produce medical equipment such as pacemakers and ultrasound machines. Republicans said the tax would force companies to lay off workers, especially in states with strong presences of the industry, including Minnesota, Massachusetts and New Jersey. The Washington Times

6. Obamanomics: Editorial: A Bipartisan Tax Repeal. Bipartisanship arrived in Washington on Thursday, not that many in the media will hail it. That's because the sweet harmony involved a 270-146 House vote to repeal ObamaCare's 2.3% excise tax on medical devices. With 15 Members not voting, that's close to the 290-vote, two-thirds majority necessary to override the veto that President Obama promises. The rout included 37 Democrats who broke with their party to support repeal of the tax on a U.S. industry that drives job creation and innovation… The Beltway wisdom is that the device tax repeal is dead on arrival in the Senate, but don't be so sure. The $30 billion the tax is supposed to steal will create unusual havoc due to its application on sales rather than profits, and even otherwise down-the-line liberals like Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota, again) realize it. In any case, a vote would be instructive, as we wonder how many Senators running for election this year want to go on record in favor of taking from the life sciences to support an entitlement that a large majority of the public wants to repeal in toto. Wall Street Journal

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