Sunday, February 11, 2018

John Kelly, Banking, South Korea and Budget

News from the Lawmakers


Betty McCollum (D-MN, 4th)
“President Donald Trump’s comments today defending White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter demonstrate that the Trump-Pence White House is an environment that lacks any shred of decency and is completely at odds with the values of the American people, especially the women of this country. With his outspoken endorsement and support of accused child molester Roy Moore and now his sympathetic defense of a violent domestic abuser, it is clear that President Trump is willing to excuse the vilest forms of abuse.


Rep. Meeks and 32 House Democrats Urge Federal Banking Agencies to Strengthen Community Reinvestment Act Rules

Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY, 5th)
Congressman Gregory W. Meeks (NY-05) led 32 other House Democrats, including members of the House Financial Services Committee, on a letter (below) to Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin and Comptroller of the Currency Joseph M. Otting. The letter urges the administration to prioritize the interests of underserved communities as they update federal regulations under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).


Meng Cosponsors Resolution to Recognize Growth and Contributions of South Korea

Grace Meng (D-NY, 6th)
With the Winter Olympics kicking off in Pyeongchang this week, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) announced today that she has cosponsored a bipartisan resolution (H.Res.707) that seeks to recognize the growth and transformation of South Korea, and its significant contributions to the international community.


Statements from Newsmakers for Today

Kevin McCarthy (R-CA, 23rd)

“This has been a difficult year in our state as wildfires took more lives, burned more homes, and destroyed more communities than any of us would have imagined. Not only must we rebuild, we must also do everything in our power to make our communities even more resilient after these disasters. For months, the House has fought for disaster relief for California, and I was honored to work with my bipartisan California colleagues and pass legislation to help those affected by wildfires last December. Today, that relief has finally passed the House and Senate and will soon be signed into law by the President.

“Whether it’s for those who faced wildfires in Southern or Northern California this past year, this legislation makes sure that victims of California’s wildfires are treated exactly the same as people who faced natural disasters in states like Texas and Florida. We’ve also enacted tax relief for wildfire victims and expanded Stafford Act disaster assistance programs to include religious entities like churches, which are usually among the first on the ground helping people and saving lives.

“I am glad both sides of the political aisle came together to deliver this relief for the people of California. From Representatives Mike Thompson and Jared Huffman to Ken Calvert, Jeff Denham and Mimi Walters, we put our partisan differences aside to help our state. Though it is deeply disappointing that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi voted against this disaster funding, we will keep working together to help the people of California get back on their feet and build stronger for the future.”

Michael T. McCaul (R-TX, 10th)

“I was proud to cast my vote today to keep our government open and fund our military. Holding this critical funding for our troops hostage is reckless and unacceptable. In fact, our Secretary of Defense James Mattis has said, “no enemy in the field has done more to harm the readiness of the U.S. military than the [military cuts we experienced under President Obama].” Thankfully, today, Congress passed a budget agreement to end the harmful sequester so we can provide assurances to our brave men and women in uniform and rebuild our military capabilities and readiness.

“This package also provides $89.3 billion in long-delayed and much needed disaster relief funding for those affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. The House passed legislation last December to provide those still struggling to rebuild their lives with the resources they need, but it is has been stalled in the Senate. With this bill, Texas and other impacted areas will finally receive significant federal help to rebuild, including $17.39 billion in Army Corp funding to help build our flood mitigation projects and prevent future flood disasters.

“Since day one, I have been working tirelessly to provide federal assistance to those affected by Hurricane Harvey. I am glad to see our budget agreement pass today to provide serious relief to Texans in need. We must continue to put the safety and security of the American people above all else.”

Tom McClintock (R-CA, 4th)

NO. This measure abandons any pretense of fiscal responsibility and increases federal spending caps by nearly $300 billion ($2,400 per household) over the next two years. It sets up a structure that will allow Congress to bypass its own budget rules and extends a laundry list of subsidies and special-interest tax breaks. It also suspends the debt limit for a year, for obvious reasons. It has a few silver linings: it repeals IPAB (Obamacare’s rationing board), gives the Pentagon predictable funding for the next two years and provides disaster relief.

Congress approved a massive tax reduction with my support in December. It is essential for economic growth and is already having a dramatic positive effect on wages and business expansion. However, having cut taxes, Congress has a keen responsibility to restrain spending growth – a responsibility it repudiates with this measure.

Taxes and debt are both driven by spending. Indeed, they are the same thing. Once we have spent a dollar, we’ve already decided to tax it: the only question is whether we tax it now, or borrow it now and tax it in the future. But borrowing also has serious implications for the present: government borrows from the same capital pool that would otherwise be available to loan for consumer and home purchases and business expansion. A lack of fiscal restraint now undermines the economic growth we have achieved with the tax cuts.

Interest rates are already rising, and economists warn that a sharp increase in deficits could cause markets to charge even higher rates for federal borrowing. A one percent increase in interest rates would add $200 billion to our ANNUAL borrowing costs, dwarfing the few cost-savings reforms we’ve managed to enact and threatening a debt spiral that would end in a sovereign debt crisis.

A. Donald McEachin (D VA, 4th)

“Early this morning, as I voted I was genuinely conflicted. I felt I was left no satisfactory option with the budget deal put before the House of Representatives.

“I was pleased to see that this bill created overdue investments in important services and programs that will help my constituents – and millions of other hardworking Americans. I am pleased to see rural health programs and other very needed domestic plans pass. However, I had made a commitment to DREAMers who are still left without a resolution. These young people were brought to this country as children and have contributed to the economy and betterment of our communities.

“The DACA program has wide bipartisan support, and we were only in this impossible situation because the Speaker refuses to bring a clean DACA bill to the Floor. I call on the Speaker to bring the DACA program up for a clean vote, not as part of an immigration bill that must have the President's stamp of approval before we can even discuss or debate. I believe in the important programs in last night's bill, but I also believe we owe these young people to stand by our word.”

Patrick T. McHenry (R-NC, 10th)

"In the last decade we’ve seen the growth of radical Islamic terrorism and the continued rise of anti-American regimes in Russia and North Korea. Yet—as the world has become an increasingly dangerous place—we’ve failed to properly provide for our military. With passage of this budget agreement, we’ve begun to change that.

“General Mattis made clear the increased defense funding in this package is necessary to repair our military and ensure our troops have the resources they need. By passing this budget agreement we are standing with President Trump and fulfilling our shared commitment to strengthening our military and keeping Americans safe.”

Martha McSally (R-AZ, 2nd)

“Today I voted with President Trump and Secretary Mattis to halt sequestration and increase defense spending. My vote is for our men and women in uniform who are relying on this boost in defense resources to carry out their mission and to keep us safe. Eight years’ worth of anemic defense budgets and neglect under President Obama’s defense sequester have thrown our military into a full-blown readiness crisis—and Secretary Mattis has made it very clear that, unless we pass a budget and fund the troops they will not have the resources to maintain their operations and deter war. That’s why, from the outset, I demanded that this bill include $700 billion this year and $716 billion next year for our troops to fulfill our military’s request—and it does.

This bill also dismantles another pillar of Obamacare: The ‘Independent Payment Advisory Board’—also known as the Death Panels and tasked with rationing Medicare.

We cannot hold our military hostage while we tackle other long-term spending and move towards fiscal responsibility. This landmark increase in defense spending will finally start to give our troops what they need to keep us safe.”

Mark Meadows (R-NC, 11th)

“Congress failed to get its fiscal house in order by passing a Budget Agreement that raises the Budget Control Caps by $300 billion, suspends the debt ceiling, and extends several other expensive spending provisions. For months, several of my colleagues and I urged Congressional leadership to work toward a long-term, responsible budget that gives our armed forces the funding and stability they deserve. I voted several times in the past year to honor that promise to our service members. And unfortunately, while this Budget Agreement provides a needed investment in our nation’s military, that investment comes with a heavy burden that our children and grandchildren will be strapped with.

I want to fund our military, but at what cost? Should we bankrupt our country in the process? Estimates suggest this bill will likely increase government spending by $1.5 trillion. This is not budgeting. I’m profoundly disappointed.

When I ran for Congress, I promised the people of Western North Carolina that I would fight to rein in Washington’s addiction to spending. This budget fails to do that. This doesn’t represent the promise I gave to my voters, and I suspect it isn’t what many of my colleagues promised their constituents, either.

At some point, Washington has to get serious about stopping this before it’s too late. I’m very disappointed in today’s result, but I maintain my commitment to fighting for the kind of fiscal responsibility that can sustain our country for decades to come. And I’m committed to fighting for the day when we will do better.”

Gwen Moore (D-WI, 4th)

“After scrambling in utter chaos to end their second shutdown in a month, the Republican majority passed a budget agreement in the early hours of this morning. This bill paves the way for an omnibus spending bill, funds community health centers, disaster relief, the opioid epidemic, veterans, and rural broadband. Although Democrats have long fought for the inclusion of these provisions in this bill, at the end of the day, it simply wasn’t enough to overlook what was excluded.

“As I contemplated how to cast my vote today, I thought of the strength and courage of Wisconsin DREAMers like Valeria Ruiz Lira and Alejandra Gonzalez. Like many DREAMers, Valeria and Alejandra have called the United States home for most of their lives. Yet, they – as well as hundreds of thousands across the country – have been forced to live in a constant state of uncertainty as congressional Republicans embrace President Trump’s bigoted policies and deny our DREAMers of their basic humanity. Despite such hateful opposition, these young men and women remain resolute. They are undocumented and unafraid. And as long as I’m in Congress, I’ll make sure they’re not alone in this fight.

“Speaker Ryan’s continued failure to step up and schedule a vote to protect DREAMers is nothing short of shameful. As the March 5 deadline to pass permanent protections for DREAMers approaches, I will continue to fight for a DACA deal with great force and conviction. Democrats have worked hard to put American families first at every turn. Now, it is time for Republicans to follow suit and remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who taught us, ‘The time is always right to do what’s right.’”

Seth Moulton (D-MA, 6th)

“Budgeting month to month and governing crisis to crisis is no way to run anything, let alone the United States of America. Republican leadership, if you can even call it that right now, is an embarrassment. America is better than this.

“I voted against this deal because it shortchanged all the things we should be coming together, as both Democrats and Republicans, to accomplish for the people we represent. Rather than play politics with funding our government, pitting one group against another, we should make strong investments in our future.

“A good deal supports our economy. Just look at the reaction of the stock market over the past week as Republicans careened towards another shutdown. Of course most Americans don’t have stocks, but rely on all the other investments we make: in education, health care, and in our local communities, especially after natural disasters. These things must be adequately funded.

“A good deal supports our troops. As general after general has told us, short-term deals hobble our Pentagon planners and endanger our military. Only with a predictable budget, that is adequately funded, can we make the investments in our troops and technology to meet the latest threats.

“A good deal invests in our future. At times like this, most talk focuses on government spending. But equally important is the other half of the equation because we ultimately can’t pay our troops, pay our Medicare bills, and invest in our future without the funds to do so. This is why the Republican tax cut for the rich is so dangerous for us all: it triples the deficit. And we can’t afford that. This deal makes it even worse.

“And don’t sell America short–don’t think for a second that we can’t do these things and also take care of DREAMers, whom overwhelming majorities of Americans want to support. These innocent kids grew up in America, only know this country, and deserve some certainty for their futures. They serve in our military and are our kids’ friends in school. They, too, deserve a chance at the American Dream.

“Yesterday, even Secretary Mattis, President Trump’s own Secretary of Defense, came out in support of DREAMers in our military, promising they won’t get deported. If someone inside the Trump Administration can stand strong, so should we. What Democrats are asking from Speaker Ryan is so simple: Just do your job and allow the House of Representatives to vote on an immigration plan. Vote how you want, but give us that chance. Give these innocent kids that chance. It’s the very least we should do.

“For all these reasons, I voted against this inadequate deal. And for all these reasons, I’m working hard to bring new leadership to Washington. We can do better, and I feel confident that if this deal had failed, we would have moved closer to addressing the many challenges our nation faces. That is our job.”

Markwayne Mullin (R-OK, 2nd)

“Early this morning, the House passed a budget agreement to continue government operations and most importantly, end the ill effects of an underfunded military due to years of sequestration,” Mullin said. “I voted in favor of the measure—not because I liked everything that was in the bill—but because I could not turn my back on our men and women in uniform. Our President and Commander in Chief and General Mattis asked me and my colleagues to vote for the bill. Due to the uncertainty around the world and our national security risks, it is our duty to fully support our troops who are protecting all of our rights. The vote that I cast this morning reflects my unwavering commitment to support the men and women of our armed forces who put their lives on the line to protect ours.”



Background on the Bipartisan Budget Act courtesy of House Speaker Paul Ryan (WI-01) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY):

  • This agreement will unwind the sequestration cuts that have hamstrung America’s armed forces and jeopardized our national security by funding the military at this year’s National Defense Authorization Act levels.
  • It breaks the spending “parity” demanded for years by Democrats by giving defense a larger funding increase than non-defense discretionary spending. Compared to current law spending caps, the agreement increases defense discretionary funding by $80 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 and $85 billion in FY 2019 vs. an increase in non-defense domestic discretionary of $63 billion in FY 2018 and $68 billion in FY 2019.
  • This agreement provides for America’s veterans by helping reduce the maintenance backlog at the Veterans Administration.
    It also provides almost $90 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations for disaster relief efforts for communities crippled by hurricanes in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida and Texas.
  • This agreement includes $6 billion over two years to bolster the ongoing fight against opioid addiction and substance abuse by funding grants, prevention programs, and law enforcement efforts in vulnerable communities across the country.
  • The agreement includes a $20 billion new investment in America’s infrastructure—a bipartisan priority shared by the President and lawmakers in both parties.
  • The agreement lifts the debt limit through March 1, 2019.
  • It includes structural reforms to Medicare and cuts to Obamacare, and repeals the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) from Obamacare.
  • It includes an extension of funding for Community Health Centers.
    This agreement includes an extension of tax relief provisions that are supported by Republicans and Democrats.
  • It includes $2 billion in funding over two years for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
  • It establishes two committees to address pension and budget/appropriations reform.

    Continuing Resolution & Disaster Supplemental:

  • The agreement includes a Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds the government at current levels through March 23, 2018 in order for the Appropriations Committees to negotiate detailed appropriations and deliver full funding for the remainder of FY 2018, and begin the process for FY 2019.
  • The legislation also contains almost $90 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations to help states, communities, businesses, and individuals respond and recover from recent hurricanes, wildfires and other disasters. Within in this funding, $4.9 billion is provided to increase Medicaid caps for Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands for two years, along with program requirements.

    Tax & Health Care Policies:

  • The agreement includes a one-year extension of critical tax provisions that help families, individuals and small businesses across the country. These provisions expired at the end of 2016.
  • It includes an additional four years of authorization for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
    The measure also includes a package of bipartisan Medicare provisions, known as Medicare extenders, and funding for community health centers.