Following votes, the House will debate bills listed for consideration under suspension of the Rules. Any recorded votes requested on these bills will be postponed until later in the week.
H.Res. 491 – Rule providing for consideration of H.R. 3630 – “Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011” (Rep. Camp - Ways and Means/ Energy and Commerce)
The Rules Committee has recommended a closed Rule that provides for 90 minutes of general debate equally divided between the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Ways and Means. The Rule allows no amendments and one motion to recommit, with or without instructions. It also waives all points of order against the legislation. Despite this bill being referred to over half of the standing committees of the House, and having seen no committee action, the Rules committee rejected all attempts to allow any amendments on the Floor. The Rules Committee even rejected a motion by Ms. Slaughter to provide for more general debate time. Members are urged to VOTE NO on H.Res. 491.
H.R. 3630 – “Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011” (Rep. Camp - Ways and Means/ Energy and Commerce)
H.R. 3630 extends the current 2% Payroll Tax Cut for one year and addresses the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) for two years, providing a 1% update for both 2012 and 2013 and resulting in a scheduled 37% cut in 2014. It extends the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program until January, 2013, but lowers the maximum amount of time benefits are provided from 99 weeks currently to 59 weeks. It also includes permanent provisions allowing drug testing of applicants and would allow states to require a high school diploma or being enrolled in classes for a GED to be eligible for benefits.
The bill offsets the costs of these extensions by significantly increasing both the amount of Medicare premiums paid by high-income beneficiaries and the number of beneficiaries required to pay these higher premiums, and by cutting Medicare provider rates. The bill also prohibits immigrants without social security numbers from receiving the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit. It further offsets the bill by freezing federal employee pay for an additional year through 2013, and increases fees charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to lenders. It also includes frequency Spectrum sales to help offset the cost of the bill, but with provisions related to net neutrality included in the language.
H.R. 3630 also makes large cuts to healthcare programs. It cuts over $21 billion from Affordable Care Act programs, which will increase the ranks of the uninsured by 170,000 Americans. The bill cuts $8 billion from the Prevention and Public Health Trust Fund. In addition, the bill cuts over $21 billion from Medicare provider rates, over 50% of which fall solely on hospitals. And it cuts $31 billion in Medicare benefits by imposing harsher means-testing on beneficiaries.
The bill also includes completely unrelated provisions, including requiring a decision by the Administration on the Keystone XL pipeline and on regulations related to the Boiler MACT. The provisions in the bill relating to the Keystone XL pipeline are different from the bill passed by the House, in that it requires the Secretary of State to issue a Keystone approval within 60 days of enactment, unless the President publicly determines the project to not be in the national interest.
This bill is another example of the Republican Majority being more interested in politics than finding solutions. This bill has little chance of passing the Senate, and faces a Presidential veto threat. In the face of a middle class tax increase, and hundreds of thousands of Americans losing unemployment benefits during the Holiday Season, the Republicans continue to show that pursuing an ideological agenda is more important than helping Americans. The bill is also fiscally irresponsible, increasing the deficit by an estimated $25.3 billion over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Members are urged to VOTE NO on H.R. 3630.
Suspensions (7 bills)
1) H.R. 3421
- Fallen Heroes of 9/11 Act (Rep. Shuster - Financial Services)
2) H.R. 886
- United States Marshals Service 225th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act (Rep. Womack - Financial Services)
3) H.R. 313
- Drug Trafficking Safe Harbor Elimination Act of 2011 (Rep. Smith (TX) - Judiciary)
4) H.R. 1905
- Iran Threat Reduction Act of 2011 (Rep. Ros-Lehtinen - Foreign Affairs)
5) H.R. 2105
- Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Reform and Modernization Act of 2011(Rep. Ros-Lehtinen - Foreign Affairs)
6) H.Res. 306
- Urging the Republic of Turkey to Safeguard Its Christian Heritage and to Return Confiscated Church Properties (Rep. Royce - Foreign Affairs)
7) H.Res. 376
- Calling for the repatriation of POW/MIAs and abductees from the Korean War (Rep. Rangel - Foreign Affairs)
Postponed Suspension Votes (5 bills)
1) S. 384
- A bill to amend title 39, United States Code, to extend the authority of the United States Postal Service to issue a semipostal to raise funds for breast cancer research (Sen. Feinstein - Oversight and Government Reform)
2) H.R. 3246
- To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 15455 Manchester Road in Ballwin, Missouri, as the “Specialist Peter J. Navarro Post Office Building” (Rep. Akin - Oversight and Government Reform)
3) H.R. 2767
- To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 8 West Silver Street in Westfield, Massachusetts, as the “William T. Trant Post Office Building” (Rep. Olver - Oversight and Government Reform)
4) H.R. 2668
- A bill to designate the station of the United States Border Patrol located at 2136 South Naco Highway in Bisbee, Arizona, as the “Brian A. Terry Border Patrol Station'” (Rep. Issa - Transportation and Infrastructure)
5) H.R. 1264
- To designate the property between the United States Federal Courthouse and the Ed Jones Building located at 109 South Highland Avenue in Jackson, Tennessee, as the "M.D. Anderson Plaza" and to authorize the placement of a historical/identification marker on the grounds recognizing the achievements and philanthropy of M.D. Anderson, as amended (Rep. Fincher - Transportation and Infrastructure)
The GOP Leadership has announced the following schedule for Wednesday, December 14: The House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for legislative business. The House is expected to consider The Conference Report to H.R. 1540
– National Defense Authorization Act, FY2012 (Rep. McKeon – Armed Services) (Subject to a Rule). The House is also expected to consider bills listed for consideration under suspension of the Rules.