On Friday, July 5, 2013, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor sent the following memo to members of the House Republican Conference outlining the Legislative Agenda for the month of July:
TO: House Republicans
FR: Eric Cantor
DT: Friday, July 5th
RE: July Legislative Agenda
The Fourth of July is always a special day in America. Families gather across this great nation to celebrate the birth of our republic and the ideals that our forefathers enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. The notion that the American colonies would no longer abide under an overreaching and heavy-handed government sparked a revolution based on the notion that every person had certain unalienable Rights - the rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
The House Republican agenda for the month of July is a reflection upon those rights encapsulated by the likes of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. We will stop an over-intrusive government from standing in the way of job creation. We will remind the federal government that it works for the people and not the other way around. We will consider a number of energy bills to produce a climate of economic growth and prosperity for all Americans while lowering the price of energy for families. We will streamline education law to empower the next generation of great leaders. And we will continue to conduct our constitutional oversight role of the executive branch.
This month will show the American people that our agenda is about making life work, stopping government abuse, and providing opportunities to every citizen through a quality education and better job prospects. Please find below a brief sketch of the legislation expected in the House this month.
Domestic Energy for Economic Growth
In his latest speech on the energy future of America, President Obama's plan clearly does not emphasis economic growth through domestic production. Instead of limiting options, we must produce an energy plan which will lower the price of gas for working families, strengthen our national security, boost manufacturing, and create jobs here in America. House Republicans have such a plan. We will continue to pass our energy strategy in the House which encourages the development of all resources and removes the federal government from restricting our economic potential. Listed below are a few of the energy bills we will consider this month:
• Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act (H.R. 2218): With the administration’s stated “war on coal,” the House will once again vote on David McKinley’s Coal Ash bill which would create an enforceable minimum standard for the regulation of coal ash by the states, allowing their use in a safe manner that protects jobs. The regulations offered by President Obama on coal-powered power plants are job killers and will add to the cost of energy - we cannot sit by and watch.
• Energy Consumers Relief Act (H.R. 1582): Higher energy prices “will necessarily skyrocket” unless we are able to stop job destroying regulations. Bill Cassidy’s legislation would require the EPA, before finalizing any energy-related rule costing more than $1 billion, to report to Congress on specific energy price and job impacts. The bill also would prevent the EPA from finalizing a rule if the Secretary of Energy determines the economic impact is too harmful.
• Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act (H.R. 1900): A study done by the GAO earlier this year found the permitting process for a natural gas pipeline to be “complex.” To simplify the confusion, Mike Pompeo’s bill would modernize the review process and impose clear timelines for approval. As the demand for natural gas grows, this is an important step to keep our energy prices low.
Stop Government Abuse
With too much frequency, we all are hearing from our constituents about the abuse of power the government is wielding: from government officials exploiting their power for personal or political gain, to agencies regulating all forms of activity and destroying jobs, to average citizens having no recourse against abusive officials. Yet when government officials are exposed abusing their powers, they are not held accountable and remain on the federal payroll. And, to top it off, Obamacare is going to make all of this much worse. We will work with members to develop an appropriate legislative and oversight response this month to make Washington accountable to its citizens once again.
Student Success Act for a Better Future
Education is vital for any child to achieve success. By providing a better education to all of our children, we empower a brighter future for them and our economy. Current education law, while well intentioned, isn’t unleashing the potential of our schoolchildren. Chairman John Kline and his committee members have worked diligently to reform our education laws by focusing on providing every child the opportunity to receive a quality education. H.R. 5, The Student Success Act, represents a solid conservative approach to education: it reduces the federal intrusion by giving autonomy to states and local school districts; it restores control to state and local leaders; it emphasizes the importance of effective teachers; and finally it gives power back to the parents. We will provide our next generation with the education they need to keep America competitive in the world economy.
Chairman Hal Rogers and his committee members are working hard to produce twelve Appropriation bills which reflect judicious spending of the public’s money. They are funding those programs that we support while getting rid of dysfunctional and duplicative programs Congress never should have funded in the first place. Below is a list of bills which may see floor action this month:
• Energy and Water (subcommittee chair Rodney Frelinghuysen)
• Defense (subcommittee chair Bill Young)
• Financial Services (subcommittee chair Ander Crenshaw)
• Transportation, HUD (subcommittee chair Tom Latham)
• Agriculture (subcommittee chair Robert Aderholt)
Consistent with our desire to proceed through regular order by passing individual appropriations bills through the House, we can fund our priorities, eliminate wasteful federal spending, and enact policy change through funding limitations.
Kids First Research Act
H.R. 2019, The Kids First Research Act, introduced by Gregg Harper, Tom Cole, and Peter Welch clearly reflects Congressional priorities in funding: medical research before political parties and conventions. In the era of limited federal resources, it is critical that we set the right priorities and now more than ever our priority should be medical breakthroughs that help children who are suffering from diseases and disorders like autism, juvenile diabetes, Down syndrome, and cancer. This bipartisan bill eliminates the Presidential Election Campaign Fund and diverts the remaining money, approximately $130 million, to expand pediatric research at the National Institutes of Health. Autism Speaks, Children's Hospital Association, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society are among the more than three dozen groups which support passage of this bill.
As the last few months have demonstrated, congressional oversight is not only a constitutional duty, but also a vitally important check and balance to the Obama administration. More than 90 oversight hearings were held in June and I am proud of the work each of our committees put into these hearings. We will continue our work to determine who directed IRS employees to target conservative groups, why it was done, and who knew about it. We will follow the facts and continue in our efforts to uncover the truth behind the attacks in Benghazi. We will also continue our oversight of the implementation of Obamacare and the Administration's energy policy. Most importantly, we will not sit by as unelected bureaucrats misuse their positions against the people they serve. Our oversight of agencies will inform the American people of just how bad things have gotten and certainly lead to positive reforms.
In addition to the items listed above, we expect to consider a few additional items. As you know, the House has passed a bill to prevent the student loan rates from doubling while the Senate has yet to pass a bill. Members should be prepared to act on a revised farm bill. The House may begin consideration of the border security measures that have been passed by the Homeland Security and Judiciary Committees and begin reviewing other immigration proposals. I look forward to our special conference on July 10th on how to fix broken our broken immigration system. We will also consider options moving forward on Obamacare now that the administration delayed the employer mandate.
July will be another heavy legislative month and we will remain steadfast towards our goals to make life work for American families, stop government abuse and remain focused on job creation and economic growth. We must restore trust in our government and faith in our economy.
Happy Fourth of July! Thank you for all the hard work you do on behalf of your constituents and all Americans.