Today's biggest news arrived this morning with the announcement by influential Rep. Paul Ryan [R, WI-01] that he opposes the #SOPA net censorship bill. The Hill reports: "Rep. Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee and a leading conservative lawmaker ... said he would vote against the legislation should it come before the House. ... [Rep. Lamar] Smith’s Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on the bill when Congress returns from its recess later this month. The Senate is also set to vote on its version of the legislation, the Protect IP Act [#PIPA], when Congress returns."Read Full Article
Last Friday before Congress left for their two-week recess, the House passed a Republican budget resolution for FY2012 that proposes to reduce the deficit while lowering taxes by cutting social program funding across the board and fundamentally alter entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid. While the Republicans' budget is not going to directly effect how Congress allocates federal funds over the next couple years, it will be hugely influential as the Democrats in the Senate and the White House work towards a compromise that can pass Congress and keep the government operating beyond the 2011 fiscal year.Read Full Article
The big event this week, of course, will be Obama's third State of the Union address on Tuesday night. Some senators and representatives are planning to buck the age-old tradition of sitting across the aisle from their counterparts in the other party and will instead disburse throughout House Chamber in an ad hoc, bipartisan buddy system. Ideological opposites Sen. Chuck Schumer [D, NY] and Sen. Tom Coburn [R, OK] will be watching the President side-by-side, as will centrists Sen. Mary Landrieu [D, LA] and Sen. Olympia Snowe [R, ME]. Rep. Joe Wilson [R, SC-2], famous for his "You lie!" outburst at last year's speech, will be sitting with Rep. Madeleine Bordallo [D, Guam]. It's all very pleasant and nice. Outside of the SOTU speech this week, however, both chambers have some less cute work-type stuff to take care of.Read Full Article
With the giant Defense budget, the tax-cut extensions, the bailouts, and the lack of tax reciepts from the economic crisis, the ceiling on our national debt is going to have to be increased, by the end of March according to Tim Geithner, if we are to avoid defaulting on our debt and destroying whatever modicum of creditworthiness we have left in the international community.
Voting to raise the debt ceiling is always unpopular, and its must-pass nature makes it a perfect tool for the minority party to force the majority to register an unpopular vote. Rep. Michael Simpson [R, ID-2] admitted as much last year, arguing that the unpopular debt ceiling vote was not his party's responsibility. "That is the burden of the majority," he said.Read Full Article
It's a common refrain from Republicans in the year since the $787 billion stimulus became law: trash it in public but accept or even beg for the money for their districts in private.Read Full Article
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi [D, CA-8] has been busy firming up the groundwork for finishing health care reform through the budget reconciliation process. "This is what the Republicans did to pass their bills, their tax cuts for the rich,” she said recently. But is budget reconciliation actually meant for this kind of thing?Read Full Article
Washington is still reeling from record snowfall and the House has decided to take the whole week off, but the Senate, at least, managed to get some work done. Weather permitting, Congress hopes to start working on the jobs bill and other legislation soon. Here’s a look at some articles and blog posts of note from the day:Read Full Article