THUD Appropriations Bill — Today, the House approved H.R. 5972, the FY 2013 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill, by a vote of 261-163. According to the Appropriations Committee report, excluding the estimated offsetting receipts, the THUD bill would increase spending by $1.44 billion compared to last year. Only when including estimated offsetting receipts, which are mostly payments made by borrowers to the Federal Housing Administration, is the bill a net reduction in the cost of THUD this year compared to last year. CBO estimates that these offsetting receipts will increase from $5.8 billion to $11.2 billion, due to lower anticipated defaults on loans. The following spending increases in the THUD bill for items conservatives have traditionally opposed are of note:
In addition, notice how many spending cut amendments were defeated on the House floor, despite receiving the support of a majority of the Republican Conference.
McClintock (CA) – Eliminates all funding ($114 million) for Payments to Air Carriers (Essential Air Service). Defeated 164-238.
Broun (GA) – Reduces administrative expenses of the Federal Railroad Administration by $5.4 million to FY2012 level. Defeated 173-230.
Broun (GA) – Reduces administrative expenses in the Federal Transit Administration by $1.3 million to FY2012 level. Defeated 188-215.
Garrett (NJ) – Eliminates all funding ($150 million) for Grants to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Defeated 160-243.
Broun (GA) – Reduces Maritime Guaranteed Loan (Title XI) Program by $10,000 to FY2012 level. Adopted by voice vote.
Broun (GA) – Reduces Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration by $1.67 million to FY2012 level. Defeated 138-265.
Broun (GA) – Reduces the Surface Transportation Board by $1.9 million to FY2012 level. Adopted by voice vote.
Gosar (AZ) – Reduces HUD Management and Administration by $24.4 million to FY2008 level. Defeated 179-224.
Broun (GA) – Reduces HUD Public and Indian Housing by $6.5 million to FY2012 level. Defeated 168-256.
Broun (GA) – Reduces HUD Community Planning and Development - Salaries and Expenses by $3.5 million to FY2012 level. Defeated 178-240.
Broun (GA) – Reduces HUD Office of Community Planning and Development - Housing by $5 million to FY2012 level. Defeated 174-248.
Broun (GA) – Reduces HUD Policy and Development Research - Salaries and Expenses by $115,000 to FY2012 level. Defeated 193-229.
Broun (GA) – Reduces HUD Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity - Salaries and Expenses by $304,000 to FY2012 level. Defeated 178-247.
Broun (GA) – Reduces HUD Public Housing Capital Fund by $110 million to FY2012 level. Defeated 169-250.
Broun (GA) – Reduces the Public Housing Operating Fund by $562 million to FY2012 level. Defeated 160-264.
Chaffetz (UT) – Reduces Community Development Block Grants by $396 million to FY 2012 level. Defeated 157-267.
McClintock (CA) – Eliminates all funding ($3.4 billion) for Community Development Block Grants. Defeated 80-342.
McClintock (CA) – Eliminates all funding ($6 million) for Community Development Loan Guarantee Account. Defeated 123-300.
Flake (AZ) – Reduces the Home Investment Partnerships Program by $200 million to FY2012 levels. Defeated 178-242.
Broun (GA) – Reduces the Federal Maritime Commission - Salaries and Expenses by $900,000 to FY2012 level. Defeated 172-249.
Broun (GA) – Reduces Payments to the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation by $12.3 million to the President's request. Defeated 172-250.
Blackburn (TN) – 1% across the board cut to discretionary funding ($516 million). Defeated 166-254.
McClintock (CA) – Prohibits funds from being used for the Third Street Light Rail Phase 2 Central Subway project in San Francisco, CA (saves approximately $1 billion). Adopted 235-186.
Denham (CA) – Prohibits funds from being used for high-speed rail in the State of California or for the California High-Speed Rail Authority. Adopted 239-185.
Transportation Overspending / Federally Subsidized Student Loans / Flood Insurance / Tax Hikes / Pledge Violation / No Keystone XL Pipeline Bill — Also today, the House approved the Conference Report to H.R. 4348, the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, by a vote of 373-52. The legislation authorizes a total of $120 billion for the highway, mass transit, transportation safety and transportation research programs for 27 months. Some conservatives may be concerned that this creates a permanent framework that tarnishes the highway trust fund as a user pay for system. Many conservatives believe that the solution to this problem is to reprioritize spending on highways, instead of relying on either tax increases or deficit spending to maintain funding for non-highway, non-federal items. Some of the programs that are extended by this legislation are examples of programs that should not be funded by the Highway Trust Fund. The bill authorizes $15 billion more in annual spending than annual revenues. This will set the stage for a future bailout that will be larger than the $35 billion bailout in 2008. Many conservatives have long argued that the overwhelming majority of transportation programs and spending should be devolved to the states. While there is increased state flexibility in this bill, it falls far short of devolution. The package is also in violation of the 2010 GOP Pledge to America, which reads: “We will end the practice of packaging unpopular bills with ‘must-pass’ legislation to circumvent the will of the American people. Instead, we will advance major legislation one issue at a time.” Packaging a major 27-month transportation bill with a 5-year flood insurance extension and a one year extension of subsidized student loans under the guise of “must pass – or else,” stands in contrast to the pledge. Many conservatives are concerned that voting on a 600 page conference report on H.R. 4348, with less than 30 hours of public availability, violates public transparency. Members and the public should have a full 72 hours to read any conference report on this critical legislation before it comes before the House for a vote. Many conservatives are concerned with the provision of the bill that allows corporations to put less money into company pensions that are backed by the taxpayer-funded Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). This will expose taxpayers to future bailouts of the PBGC when it becomes clear that the pension plans are underfunded. Some conservatives may be concerned that the legislation raises taxes to pay for new spending. The proposal would expand the definition of a tobacco manufacturer to include businesses operating a roll-your-own machine. As such, the machine’s owner would be responsible for federal excise taxes on the tobacco products manufactured using his or her machine. Many conservatives are concerned that MAP 21 creates other mandates on the motor coach industry such as Driver Safety Fitness Ratings and the $2 billion Electronic On-Board Recorders mandate. Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) is inflicting considerable damage in the marketplace. Lastly conservatives may be concerned that by increasing the federal government’s role in student loans, we are incentivizing the higher education industry to raise prices, and crowding out the private lending market.
Contempt of Congress — Yesterday, the House approved H.Res. 711, recommending that the House of Representatives find Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, in contempt of Congress for refusal to comply with a subpoena duly issued by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, by a vote of 255-67. According to House Report 112-546,"The Department of Justice has refused to comply with congressional subpoenas related to Operation Fast and Furious, an Administration initiative that allowed around two thousand firearms to fall into the hands of drug cartels and may have led to the death of a U.S. Border Patrol Agent. The consequences of the lack of judgment that permitted such an operation to occur are tragic.” The report continues, “The Department's refusal to work with Congress to ensure that it has fully complied with the Committee's efforts to compel the production of documents and information related to this controversy is inexcusable and cannot stand. Those responsible for allowing Fast and Furious to proceed and those who are preventing the truth about the operation from coming out must be held accountable for their actions. Having exhausted all available options in obtaining compliance, the Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee recommends that Congress find the Attorney General in contempt for his failure to comply with the subpoena issued to him.” The resolution will be referred to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia for enforcement of the subpoena. In addition, the House approved H.Res. 706 by a vote of 258-95, authorizing the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to initiate or intervene in judicial proceedings in any Federal court of jurisdiction to seek declaratory judgments affirming the duty of Attorney General Holder to comply with any subpoena issued to him by the Committee, as part of its investigation into the “Fast and Furious” operation, and to seek appropriate ancillary relief, including injunctive relief.
A couple of new RSC Policy Briefs to check out!
RSC: Congress's Role and Responsibility in Determining the Constitu... (6/27/2012) All three branches of the federal government—Legislative, Executive, and Judicial—have a responsibility to examine the constitutionality of laws. This Policy Brief will focus upon the role that the Legislative branch has in assessing the constitutionality of laws it passes.
RSC: Members' Health Care Initiatives in the 112th Congress (6/25/12) In anticipation of the Supreme court's ruling on the constitutionality of Obamacare, this brief outlines many RSC members' health care legislation from this Congress.
Check out these weekly updates from caucuses, task forces, working groups, and special projects of the RSC!
Budget and Spending Task Force – A weekly roundup of budget and spending news in the House from a conservative perspective.
Money Monitor – The only document that tracks the cost of bills as the pass the House.
National Security Working Group – Periodic updates on national security and defense issues in the House from a conservative perspective.
Financial Services Working Group – Provides conservative analysis of financial services issues, including Dodd Frank, GSE’s, and the Fed.
Health Care Working Group – The latest news on Obamacare and conservative health care solutions.
10th Amendment Task Force – Highlights legislation and initiatives that moves power out of Washington and back to the states.
Repeal Task Force – A weekly bill is highlighted that repeals an entire law (ie. Obamacare, Dodd Frank, Davis Bacon).
Sunset Caucus – A weekly bill is highlighted that sunsets a federal program or agency.
Questionable Constitutional Authority Statement – The most egregious examples of the misuse and misapplication of the House’s constitutional authority statement rule.
If Democrats Controlled The House… - The worst examples of liberal legislation that could be considered if Democrats were in the majority.
Weekly Updates from the Chairman – To sign up for these weekly updates—usually sent on Monday—from Chairman Jordan highlighting conservative Members, issues, and activities in the RSC, please go here.