House of Representatives
Update 09-30-10: The Senate passed the CR last night on a 69-30 vote. The House soon followed with a successful 228-194 vote. An amendment from Senator John Thune (R-SD) to cut non-security spending by 5% failed on a 48-51 vote. An amendment from Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) to extend the CR until February 4 also failed, 39-60.
Today the Republican caucus of the House of Representatives released an agenda-setting document as a part of its strategy to take control of the House in November. The “Pledge to America” covers five broad topics: jobs and the economy; reducing federal spending and the size of government; repealing and replacing the health care reform law; congressional reform; and homeland and national security.
Falling Into Pieces – Fall officially begins this week. A short congressional calendar and the quickly-approaching elections mean that the legislative agenda will largely fall by the wayside. Only a few bills will get passed this month, with a post-election lame duck session set to rake up with the rest.
Kick-off Time – Football season got underway this weekend, and the final legislative drive before the mid-term elections also commences this week. The elections will loom over the work of lawmakers as they return to work for a short period before adjourning in October, making major breakthroughs unlikely. But stranger things have happened (like the Redskins winning).
From Red Carpet to Red Ink – The Emmy Awards last night celebrated the best in TV. In Washington, the plotlines are still being written for this fall, but fiscal issues are sure to get star treatment.
An op-ed in the New York Times yesterday featured Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and his unorthodox approach to fiscal sustainability. Unlike many of his peers on the Hill, Rep. Blumenauer does not believe in extensive federal program cuts to balance the budget—but he has advocated extensively for the need to balance the budget, somehow, and soon. Pushing aside the traditional conservative vs.
House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) gave an economic speech today that was billed as setting the policy table if Republicans gain control of the House in November. If so, the table needs some more place settings.
Washington Empties Out – With both houses of Congress in recess and the president traveling, Washington feels deserted. The biggest news in DC is whether the Nats will sign Bryce Harper. Congress will return after Labor Day.
They’re Here (for a day) – The House did return briefly on Tuesday to approve $26.1 billion in state aid. The president signed the bill, which is fully offset, shortly afterwards.
CRFB has been calling for policymakers to set fiscal targets for some time. Apparently we haven’t been clear enough on what that means.
Unfortunately, some in Congress have put a bullseye on the few legislators courageous enough to offer ideas to reduce our mounting debt. The Hill today reports on leaders within the House Democratic caucus tearing into four junior members who were naïve enough to offer a measure to moderately reduce spending.