Washington Week Ahead: Drawing more lines in the sand over tax extensions

By Sara Wyant

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Nov. 27 - The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is dead, but all of the related conflicts live on.

 

As lawmakers return this week from the Thanksgiving break, they face a host of issues including whether or not to extend several tax breaks and how to gain approval for nine more appropriations bills before the current stop-gap spending measure expires on December 16.

 

“The first thing we're going to do when we get back this week is put the payroll tax holiday on the floor of the Senate,” explained Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY., on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday.  The measure, which Schumer said would give middle class families about $1,000 extra in their pockets, would be paid for with a surtax on people with incomes over $1 million.

 

The tax cut extension is one part of a President Barack Obama's much bigger “jobs” package that was already rejected by Republicans. On Wednesday, President Obama will campaign for extending the payroll tax cut in Vice President Biden's hometown, of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

 

By forcing Republicans to vote against the tax cut extension, Democrats hope to position themselves as defenders of the middle class and point to their GOP counterparts as defenders of the rich---a “class warfare” argument that will likely be made again and again during the 2012 elections.

 

“We're going to keep at it and at it and at it because it's so important for the economy,” Schumer emphasized.

 

But during an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., panned the notion that the payroll tax holiday creates jobs.


"The payroll tax holiday has not stimulated job creation. We do not think that is a great way to do it," Kyl said on Fox News.

 

Even though the bipartisan Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction was unable to reach an agreement by their Nov. 23 deadline, Schumer expressed optimism that a deficit reduction package could take shape next year, along the lines of last year's Simpson-Bowles plan. That package called for $15 billion in net savings from agriculture.

 

“We have a good chance of actually getting the big package, big deficit reduction in 2012 for two reasons--three reasons really,” Schumer explained. “First, the knives that I mentioned that were over our heads, the Bush tax cuts expire in 2013.  Sequestration goes into effect in 2013.  Now that seems a year and a month away.  But as we get closer and closer and closer, the pressure on both parties to come together in the middle, provided we don't remove one of those knives, like taking defense off the table, is going to be stronger and stronger.

 

“And third, as people go home, they're going to hear from their members, "Solve this"--their constituents--"Solve this problem." So my view is we have a really good chance, basically along the broad outlines of Simpson-Bowles--you couldn't vouch for any specific--but the broad outline of $1 trillion in revenues, $1 trillion in mandatory savings, and $1 trillion in discretionary savings to get that done.”

 

For more on this week's floor action, events and reports:

 

Monday, November 28

The House is not is session.

1:00 p.m., Senate convenes and resumes consideration of S.1867, the National Defense Authorization Act.

USDA Reports: Monthly Milk Cost of Production, Crop Progress

Tuesday, November 29

On Tuesday, the House will meet at 2:00 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m. Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules:

1) H.R. 1801 - Risk-Based Security Screening for Members of the Armed Forces Act (Sponsored by Rep. Chip Cravaack / Homeland Security Committee)

2) H.R. 2465 - Federal Workers Compensation Modernization and Improvement Act (Sponsored by Rep. John Kline / Education and the Workforce Committee)

3) H.R. 3012 - Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act (Sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz / Judiciary Committee)

4) H.R. 2192 - National Guard and Reservist Debt Relief Extension Act of 2011 (Sponsored by Rep. Steve Cohen / Judiciary Committee)

USDA Reports: Farm Sector and Household Income Forecast, Fruit and Tree Nut Outlook

Wednesday, November 30

10:00 a.m., House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight,  Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee Hearing - Stimulus Oversight: An Update on Accountability, Transparency, and Performance, 2318 Rayburn House Office Building

10:00 a.m., House Financial Services Committee Markup of “H.R. 3213, Small Company Job Growth and Regulatory Relief Act of 2011.”

On Wednesday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business: H.R. 3094 - Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act (Structured Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. John Kline / Education and the Workforce Committee)

USDA Reports: Broiler Hatchery, Peanut Stocks and Processing, N. American Potatoes, Egg Products, Agricultural Prices, Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade

Thursday, December 1

10:00 a.m., House Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, and Credit -- Public Hearing: To review updates on USDA Inspector General audits, including SNAP fraud detection efforts and IT compliance. 1300 Longworth House Office Building.

10:00 a.m., Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry: Continuing Oversight of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Act (Full Committee Hearing) 106 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

USDA Reports: U.S. Export Sales, Dairy Products

Friday, December 2

On Friday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. Last votes for the week are expected no later than 3:00 p.m.

H.R. 3463 - To reduce Federal spending and the deficit by terminating taxpayer financing of presidential election campaigns and party conventions and by terminating the Election Assistance Commission (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Gregg Harper / House Administration Committee / Ways and Means Committee)

H.R. 527 - Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2011 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith / Judiciary Committee / Small Business Committee)

H.R. 3010 - Regulatory Accountability Act of 2011 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith / Judiciary Committee)

USDA Reports: Dairy Products Prices, Peanut Prices

#30

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