Tag Archives: House

BEAKING: House Promises to Return if Senate Will Negotiate Tax Cuts

United States Senate Seal

Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

After votes Tuesday, the House will go into recess but return if the Senate agrees to come back into session and work out differences in extending the payroll tax cuts.

The Democratic-controlled Senate on Saturday passed a two-month extension of the tax cuts, which amount to $1,000 for the average American, and sent it to the Republican-controlled House for approval. Congressional and White House negotiators tried to work out a one-year extension, but the Senate fell back to the two-month extension to buy more time for more negotiations without the cuts expiring on December 31.

The House scheduled votes to reaffirm that it favors a yearlong extension, and that it wants the Senate to return. A vote scheduled for Monday night on the Senate’s plan was canceled.

Democratic leadership aides in the Senate insist they won’t negotiate until the House passes the two-month extension that the Senate passed with bipartisan support.

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Harry Reid Refuses to Negotiate on BIll Already Passed

English: English: Harry Reid (D-NV), United St...

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said today he will not reopen negotiations on a payroll tax cut until the House passes the extension already approved by the Senate.


Earlier, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said he expected the House to reject the tax cut bill that the Senate approved Saturday.


Speaker Boehner said that he expected the House to pass legislation reinforcing the need for a one-year extension, and that he wanted a House-Senate conference committee.


Reid said in a statement that


My House colleagues should be clear on what their vote means today. If Republicans vote down the bipartisan compromise negotiated by Republican and Democratic leaders, and passed by 89 senators including 39 Republicans, their intransigence will mean that in ten days, 160 million middle class Americans will see a tax increase, over two million Americans will begin losing their unemployment benefits, and millions of senior citizens on Medicare could find it harder to receive treatment from physicians.


The payroll tax cut extension expires at the end of the year and is worth roughly $1,000 a year for an average family.



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Boehner Says House Will Reject Senate’s Tax Cut

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Speaker John Boehner said Monday morning that he expects the House to reject the two-month extension of the payroll tax cut bill that the Senate approved on Saturday.

Speaker Boehner also said he expects the House to pass legislation reinforcing the need for an extension and wants the matter taken up by a House-Senate conference committee.

A Senate Democratic aide told CNN that the chances were “zero” that the Senate would return to Washington from its holiday recess to continue negotiating with the House.

The payroll tax cut extension expires at the end of the year and is worth roughly $1,000 a year for an average family.

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Six Presidential Hopefuls Faced Tough Questions at Saturday’s Forum

Six Republican Presidential candidates faced questions on their ideological bona fides during a policy-heavy forum on Fox News Channel on Saturday night.

Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker, was pressed on how conservatives can “trust that a President Gingrich will not advance these sorts of big government approaches” that he advocated in the past, including his support for a mandate that citizens get health insurance.

Representative Michele Bachmann was asked how she would carry out her call to remove all illegal immigrants in the United States or pay the $135 billion to do so.

Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, was asked questions about his health care overhaul there, and what he would say to President Obama if the President were to note during a general election debate its similarities to the federal health care law.

The candidates faced these questions from a roster of attorneys general who filed legal cases against the 2009 health care law: Pam Bondi of Florida, who brought the suit the Supreme Court agreed to hear; Ken Cuccinelli of Virginia, a spokesman for legal action against the law; and Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma. They were gathered by the Fox News host Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas.

It was one of the more substantive events in the Republican contest. The candidates faced the panel solo and did not interact, leaving intraparty politics largely out of it, except for Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, who urged the audience to give him “a second look,” a tacit acknowledgment of his drop in polls and a new opportunity after Herman Cain’s decision to suspend his campaign.

The attorneys general, new to Presidential politics, did not let their own general ideological agreement with the candidates get in the way of tough questions about how they would carry out their proposals.

They seemed to give Mr. Gingrich the hardest time. He was grilled on calls he has made to abolish federal courts whose rulings he disagrees with. It is a position that invariably wins applause from conservative audiences, but the attorneys general, conservative Republicans all, seemed to raise a collective eyebrow.

Mr. Cuccinelli had big disagreements with Mr. Gingrich, asking him how he would assure conservatives that his less ideologically pure positions would not trickle into his White House. Mr. Gingrich said he would introduce a “very clearly philosophically driven program” that would train his appointees and tell them “this is where this administration is going.”

Mr. Romney parried questions about the Massachusetts health care law, repeating that his policy was less ambitious and did not seek to upend the health care system the way he said Pres. Obama had hoped the federal law would.

Mr. Cuccinelli stayed with his line of questioning. “You would agree, wouldn’t you,” he said, “what you did in that bill in Massachusetts in 2006 affected the entire industry. Correct?”

Mr. Romney said that “for the 92% of us that were already insured, nothing changed.”

Mr. Cuccinelli asked Rep. Bachmann how she would handle environmental disagreements across state lines if she were to end the Environmental Protection Agency. When Ms. Bachmann answered that “a lot of these cases would be negotiated,” he pressed, “You cannot just negotiate without a legal foundation and thereby compel both sides to participate.”

Ms. Bondi asked former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania which environmental regulations he would allow. Mr. Santorum said the problem was that environmental laws that have been on the books for decades were overly broad, allowing regulators to craft many rules. He promised to have Congress rewrite the laws to be much narrower.

Mr. Pruitt asked Representative Ron Paul of Texas about his opposition to the PATRIOT Act. Mr. Paul responded by saying, “Are you going to put cameras in every household or whatever? I don’t think it’s a lack of laws that are our problem.”

Via The New York Times.

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Congress to Debate Bill Preventing Medically-Necessary Abortions

Cliff Stearns

Representative Cliff Stearns does not have a uterus. Image via Wikipedia

You may want to sit down for this one. Congress is going to start debating HR 358, the “Protect Life Act.” Sounds good, right?

HR 358 has been nicknamed the “Let Women Die” Act, as it would allow hospitals that receive federal funds to turn away women seeking abortions to save their lives.

The bill also proposes outlawing federal funds from going to health plans that cover abortion services. It would also make it impossible to stop federal funds from going to health organizations that don’t support abortion rights.

HR 358 was penned Representative Joe Pitts, a Pennsylvania Republican and member of the House’s Pro-Life Caucus.

When it was introduced in February, Rep. Pitts’s spokesperson told Talking Points Memo that the bill isn’t newly killing women; it reinforces hospitals’ already-existing rights to refuse to save them.

Since the 1970s, existing law affirmed the right to refuse involvement in abortion in all circumstances.

The Protect Life Act simply extends these provisions to the new law by inserting a provision that mirrors Hyde-Weldon. In other words, this bill is only preserving the same rights that medical professionals have had for decades.

I’d just like to take this opportunity to point out that the “Protect Life” designation does not, in fact, protect life; if a woman’s life-saving abortion is denied, guess what? The fetus does not survive, either.

This debate will likely be the first of many over the coming months. Next on the agenda is Florida Republican Cliff Stearns‘s request for an in-depth probe of the financial records of Planned Parenthood, to make sure they’re not trying to use taxpayer money to fund abortions for poor people. If there’s anyone who should be forced to carry pregnancies to term, it’s a woman too poor to go anywhere but Planned Parenthood for an abortion, and if there’s anything that will save the American taxpayer money, it’s making sure that as many babies as possible are born into poverty.

Votes on abortion funding earlier this year split down party lines in both the House and the Senate, which means the Republican-controlled House will probably pass this one, too.

Via Jezebel.


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Gabrielle Giffords Attends Husband’s Retirement Party

In a rare public appearance on Thursday, Representative Gabrielle Giffords attended an event to mark the retirement of her husband Mark Kelly. She pinned a medal on Kelly’s jacket and, while she didn’t make a statement, offered plenty of smiles.

Of Rep. Giffords and her astronaut husband, Vice President Joe Biden offered the following:

It’s not every day you encounter examples of sheer, sheer courage and selflessness and dedication like you see in this couple.

In his remarks to the audience, Kelly said of his wife, “Gabby, you remind me every day to deny the acceptance of failure. I look forward to the next phase of our life together and watching all of your future achievements.”

The next phase includes plans to release a memoir together next month.

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House Republicans Want to Defund NPR, Education Program

On Thursday, House Appropriators released a draft spending bill that ends funding for NPR, President Obama’s “Race to the Top” education program, healthcare reform, and Planned Parenthood.

The bill also has a number of anti-union policy riders.

The $153.4 billion Labor, Health and Human Services bill reflects the August debt ceiling agreement. It is greater than the bill House Republicans sought to craft. Two fiscal conservatives have held up the bill because they want a lower figure.

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