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This Week in Washington: ObamaCare Repeal and Tax Cuts on Agenda


This week will be highlighted by a House vote to repeal ObamaCare and a renewed debate on extending existing tax rates on all Americans. Expect the rhetoric to heat up from both sides on health care, taxes and a number of other issues in anticipation of the August recess in Congress.

The House has a series of votes scheduled under the Suspension of the Rules tonight including: Veterans Skills to Jobs Act (H.R. 4155); Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act (H.R. 4114); a ATM fee disclosure bill (H.R. 4367); the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act (H.R. 5892); the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant Reauthorization and the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Act (H.R. 6019); the Haqqani Network Terrorist Designation Act (S. 1959); and, a Charleston S.C. Naval Base land bill (S. 2061). The so called “Bullying Prevention” bill is clearly some feel good politics, because it is doubtful that this legislation will prevent one act of bullying.

The House voted on January 19, 2011, on a 245 to 189 vote, for a full repeal of ObamaCare. Starting on Tuesday, the House will consider a new unnumbered bill to repeal ObamaCare (H.R. _ ).  This repeal bill has a series of findings including one that states “despite projected spending of more than two trillion dollars over the next 10 years, cutting Medicare by more than one-half trillion dollars over that period, and increasing taxes by over $800 billion dollars over that period, the law does not lower health care costs. In fact, the law actually makes coverage more expensive for millions of Americans.”

The House committees will also make this ObamaCare repeal week with a series of hearings.  House Ways and Means Committee will have a hearing on the “Tax Ramifications of the Supreme Court’s Ruling on the Democrats’ Health Care Law” and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will have a hearing on “Examining the Impact of ObamaCare on Job Creators and the Economy.”

Ironically, the Obama Administration is planning a messaging blitz to extend tax cuts to the middle class while pressing House Democrats to take one for the team. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) cited a Congressional Budget Office study that “at least 75 percent of the penalties or ‘taxes’ imposed by the individual mandate will fall on hard-working Americans who make less than $250,000.”  The House vote on full repeal of ObamaCare will end up being a referendum on middle class taxes.

The House also has a vote tentatively scheduled for H.R. 4402, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act.

The Senate has a vote scheduled on Tuesday on the nomination of John Thomas Fowlkes to be District Court Judge for the Western District of Tennessee. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) filed cloture on S.2237, the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relieve Act and a vote is scheduled for Thursday.  It is still true that the Constitution in Article I, Sec. 7 states that all revenue measures should start in the House, but that has not stopped Reid in the past when he wants to schedule purely procedural vote on tax measures.

According to POLITICO, House Republicans are scheduling a vote later this month on a one year extension of all of the Bush Tax Cuts.  The Wall Street Journal reported that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stated on CNN that “we need to extend current tax rates for another year.”  House Republicans plan on forcing many votes this month highlighting the tax policy differences between the parties and a full extension of all tax cuts for one year will be one of those messaging votes.

Also yesterday, Robert Gibbs, longtime Obama advisor previewed the President’s pitch to extend tax cuts for those making under $250,000 a year on CNN. Gibbs argued that Congress should “make some progress on our spending by doing away with tax cuts for people who quite frankly don’t need them – tax cuts that haven’t worked.”  The conflicting positions between the parties sets up a battle this summer between the House and Senate.

The House will send a one year extension of all the Bush Tax Cuts to the Senate and a full repeal of a health care bill declared a constitutional tax by the Supreme Court. The Senate will force a vote on the Obama position of hiking taxes on the “rich” families making over $250,000 a year and some other tax measures to hike taxes on job creators. Nothing will get done and the American people will be empowered to decide this fall when they choose a new President, Senators and Representatives.

Expect heated rhetoric and not much getting done over the next month.



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