Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Legislative Alert: Taxes, DREAM Act, DADT

Barring any extensions, we’ve entered the last week of the 111th Congress, which was originally scheduled to end this Friday. Senator Reid has already indicated that it my be necessary for the session to extend into next week. Reid and Pelosi are counting on us not paying attention during the holidays to what they’re doing so that they can ram through a few more items on the liberal agenda before they have to deal with a conservative majority in the House next year.

My alert on Sunday (Legislative Alert: HR3082, Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011) warned of their attempt to cut off spending control for the next ten months, even though they’re only in power for the next couple of weeks. This is arguably the most important issue facing this Congress. In addition to this power grab, here are some things on the agenda for this week that you may want to call and/or fax about:

1. Tax Increase Compromise: Based on Monday’s cloture vote of 83-15 in the Senate on the compromise bill to stop the tax increases scheduled for Jan1, it appears that this bill is headed for passage, possibly as early as Wednesday. Even though this bill is not the best that Congress could have done in addressing the problems, it will prevent the majority of the scheduled Jan 1 tax increases, and exempt millions of families from Alternative Minimum Tax, among other provisions. While it doesn’t take care of all the issues that needed to be addressed, hopefully the next Congress can work on the things that this bill missed. Senators Coburn, DeMint, Ensign, Sanders, Sessions and Voinovich, along with nine Democrats, voted against cloture on the grounds that there were too many earmarks added to the bill Senator DeMint’s statement is here.

2. Repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell: Today Rep Patrick Murphy (D-PA) introduced a stand alone bill to repeal Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell. The House is scheduled to debate this bill on Wednesday, December 15. Murphy’s bill is co-sponsored by Steny Hoyer, and they hope to get it clear of the House and taken up by the Senate as soon as possible. On the Senate side, Senator Lieberman introduced S4023 on 12/10 as a standalone bill to repeal DADT. This bill has been placed on the Senate calendar to be moved forward as soon as the taxation and appropriations bills are finalized.

3. DREAM Act: When Senator Reid was unable to gather the 60 votes needed to accept cloture on this bill last week, a vote was held to table it to give him more time to gather support for this bill. We’ve been looking for a valid whip count to let us know which Senators need to be concentrated on. We think that at this point Numbers USA has the best handle on where the Senators are at. Here is their suggested target list:

TOP SENATE TARGETS

LEANING YES:

Sen. Murkowski (R-AK)

Sen. Landrieu (D-LA)

Sen. Stabenow (D-MI)

Sen. McCaskill (D-MO)

Sen. Dorgan (D-ND)

LEANING NO:

Sen. Baucus (D-MT)

Sen. Hagan (D-NC)

Sen. Conrad (D-ND)

DECLARED NO BUT MAY CHANGE:

Sen. Collins (R-ME)

Sen. Voinovich (R-OH)

Contact info for all Senators and Representatives can be found here.

Sorry to give you so many different bills at once, but Congress is packing as much as they can into these last days, so there’s lots to watch. There are rumors that things like the police/firefighters unionization bill that we thought were dead may rise again – we’ll let you know if they do.

Jim DeGraffenreid
775-722-0304
jimde45@earthlink.net

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