Editorial March 27, 2015

TheWeekinCongress.com

Editorial

Deja vu all over again with this fiscal year budget proposals which bear a striking resemblance to the deal cut between Rep. Paul Ryan and Senator Patty Murray two years ago. We can only hope the run up to resolving this budget impasse won’t lead to a government shutdown.

In the mean time a flicker of hope; HR 2, quite out of nowhere, showed what the parties can do when they work together, The bill funds CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program providing for the next two years much needed medical coverage for some 8 million kids.

The bill contained the CHIP extension and after 14 years of delays ended the sustainable growth rate that would have cut payments to Medicare providers by 21%, The bill also provides over $7 billion for community health centers and aims to base providers’ payments on improving and maintaining the health of the patient.

This bill represents the ‘Sausage Factory’ at its best; As Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) put it, ““This is, of course, as I said, not a perfect bill. No compromise is ever perfect from everybody’s perspective. There are some parts I and other Democrats would have liked to see improved, just there are some parts my colleagues on the other side of the aisle would change. But this compromise will provide much needed relief and certainty to seniors, children, and families.”

This is a good bill. And as Hoyer remarked on the bill’s potential passage, “It will be a good day for the Congress of the United States, and it will be a good day for America.”

Hamilton on Congress

 

With the Budget, the President Calls the Shots

By Lee H. Hamilton

Hamilton

Hamilton

It may not be obvious from the news coverage, but a good bit of Congress’s 2015 agenda just landed on Capitol Hill with a thud. I mean this literally. The federal budget that President Obama recently submitted runs to 2,000 pages.

This is the most important government document produced each year, so its heft is more than physical. The budget is how we decide what share of this country’s economic resources we should devote to government—and how we should spend them. It’s where we set out our national priorities, sorting out how to allocate money among defense, the environment, education, medical research, food safety, public works… You get the idea.
Which is why you saw the political maneuvering begin the moment it arrived. More…
Quotes on the Issues

Con Budget

 “As we have heard from our Republican colleagues, their theory of the economy is top down, trickle down. They want to cut the top tax rates for folks at the very top, the millionaires, on the hope that the benefits will trickle down and lift everybody up. We tried that under President Bush. It lifted up folks who were already at the top of the ladder. Everybody else was running in place or falling behind….he Democratic budget is in stark contrast to the Republican budget, which actually increases the costs on working families. They get rid of the college tax deduction; they get rid of the step-up on the child tax credit; they get rid of the step-up on the Making Work Pay earned income tax credit; and of course they wipe out the Affordable Care tax credits that help millions of Americans have affordable health care. So their budget is squeezing folks in the middle and working toward the middle.”

Rep Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee

Foreign Affairs

 

Allen on ISIS Fight: ‘We’ll Do Mosul When We’re Ready’

By: John Grady

March 3, 2015

John Grady. US Naval Institute

John Grady. US Naval Institute

Quoting the Iraqi prime minister that “we’ll do Mosul when we’re ready,” the special presidential envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL said, “We’ve got to resist putting a timeline on it.”

Speaking on Tuesday at the Atlantic Council in Washington, retired Marine Gen. John Allen said the emphasis in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) should be “less on the taking” and more on what happens after territory is re-taken. “We need to define success at the outset.”

Allen — the U.S. special envoy to the global collation to counter ISIS — noted that since the coalition was formed less than six months ago, “we’ve blunted” ISIS. More…

Quotes on the Issues

 Pro budget

“The Democratic budget rhetoric claims to raise an additional $1.9 trillion by “rejecting tax breaks for the wealthy and closing special interest loopholes… Look out, ladies and gentlemen. What that clever rhetoric really means is that they are going to hit small businesses with even more taxes. Why? Why is that? Because the majority of small businesses, non-C corp businesses, the majority of those businesses that create jobs around this country pay taxes under the individual income system. That is how they do it. That is who those folks want to punish–the job creators.

   These tax hike ideas end up impacting successful small businesses all across this country. As I mentioned, they represent the job creation engine of our economy, over 60 percent of the jobs being created–two-thirds of the jobs being created–for all private sector jobs generated by small businesses.

So, despite the facts that we present, the Democrat budget would continue the failed policy of Washington picking winners and losers, rewarding their friends, punishing their political enemies, distorting the free market, further distorting an already overly complex Tax Code, all of which would have disastrous results of subsidizing private investors’ profits and socializing what should be private investors’ losses. So, more taxes.”

Rep. Tom Price (R-) Chair, House Budget Committee