House Republican Conference Passes Earmark Ban
Yesterday, my colleagues and I passed a ban on earmarks in the 112th Congress. This continues the moratorium that we put in place at the beginning of this year. I'm extremely proud that our conference has taken this small but significant step toward restoring fiscal responsibility in Washington. Earmark spending may only make up a relatively small part of the federal budget, but it has played a big role in getting individual Members to support big-spending appropriations bills. Republicans will focus on reducing the federal government to a sensible and sustainable level.
Freshmen Join Republican Leadership Team
The House Republican Conference also elected a new leadership team for the next Congress which includes two members of the new class of lawmakers. Rep.-elect Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Rep.-elect Tim Scott (R-SC) were elected by their peers to serve alongside Speaker-elect John Boehner, Majority Leader-elect Eric Cantor, and other Republican leaders. These are new positions created because of the historical size of the incoming class. Over 80 new Members will serve in the next Congress, five from Pennsylvania alone.
Debate Over Extending Tax Rates Pushed Back Again
Congress returned to Washington for the first week of the lame duck session. With the biggest tax hike in American history looming, there remains a great deal of uncertainty about whether Congress will vote to extend current rates. Democrat leaders in the House and Senate have not introduced legislation, and liberal commentators have been calling on the President to raise taxes on higher earners. The President has indicated that he may support a plan that extends all the current rates for a limited time, but has not clearly stated how long an extension he would support. I believe that uncertainty over where tax rates will fall next year continues to hold back job growth.
YouCut Program Starts Back Up, Measure to Defund NPR Rejected
With Congress back in session, the YouCut website is once again asking Americans what cuts the federal government should make. This week, the House voted on a motion to terminate taxpayer funding of NPR. NPR receives tens of millions of dollars from the federal government through direct grants and indirectly through public radio stations that purchase NPR's programming. The motion failed 239-171, with three Democrats joining all Republicans in voting to cut funding. Republican Whip Eric Cantor has stated that YouCut will continue in the next Congress. Look for a new poll next week and another vote when Congress returns after Thanksgiving.
Op-ed of the Week: Federalism Can Make the Presidency Possible
The November 22 cover of Newsweek depicts President Obama as a many-armed Hindu deity holding up items representing his Administration's many priorities. The article, entitled "God of All Things," details the many and increasing responsibilities of the chief executive.