By Bernie Becker - 04/04/11 11:27 PM EDT
On the 2011 front, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was set to convene a meeting of his full Republican conference on Monday night.
The get-together comes after Boehner and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) had a sort of tussle via statement over whether the Speaker had given his assent to cutting $33 billion in spending this year, with Boehner deeming that figure insufficient.
With the government now funded for a little more than four days, President Obama and congressional leaders are expected to meet at the White House on Tuesday.
Some conservatives have signaled concerns about closed-door talks with the president. One activist said the problem with those sorts of set-ups is that the president controls the optics of the meeting — so, if Republicans walk out of the room, it looks like they have caused a government shutdown, no matter how reasonable their negotiating stance.
WHAT ELSE TO WATCH FOR:
Gunning for the GSEs: The GOP is set to take another step Tuesday in their push to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with a House Financial Services subcommittee scheduled to mark up eight bills that would tweak the two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs). That package includes bills that would eliminate affordable housing goals, roll back bonuses to GSE executives, increase the fees they charge for guaranteeing mortgages and limit the size of mortgages they can back.
House Republicans are taking on the GSEs on two fronts — Tuesday's markup is part of an effort to take them apart bit by bit, while the GOP also plans to push a broad piece of legislation, beginning in May, that would remove them from government control in just a few years.
With Republicans running the House and its Financial Services Committee, expect all eight bills to move on to a full committee markup later this month.
Party like it's 1099: Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) is prepared to do just that on Tuesday morning, if the Senate can pass and clear a bill that would finally, after months of debate, repeal the 1099 provision in the healthcare law.
The Senate is set to hold two votes on the issue, one on the House-passed measure — which will need 60 votes to reach Obama's desk — and another on an amendment offered by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) that would require further study of the effects of the offset that Johanns and House lawmakers have proposed. The amendment directs the secretary of Health and Human Services to determine whether the pay-for would increase health insurance costs or coverage cuts for small businesses.
The House measure requires taxpayers who receive federal health insurance subsidies to reimburse the IRS if they earn more than 400 percent of the poverty line.
Generally, lawmakers in both parties have backed the repeal language included in an FAA bill that pays for the cost with unused, previously appropriated federal funds as determined by the Office of Management and Budget. But some Democrats and the White House have expressed concern over the offset in the House bill.
About that default…: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will testify before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee about his department's $14 billion budget request for fiscal 2012. His appearance will come hours after he warned Congress that the government will hit the debt limit by May 16 — two weeks earlier than anticipated — and argued his case that lawmakers have no choice but to raise it before that happens.
A little light reading: The Federal Open Market Committee on Tuesday will release the minutes from its March 15 meeting — after which the Fed opted not to alter its near-zero interest rate and stuck to its quantitative easing guns, even as financial markets reeled from the Japanese earthquake and turmoil in Libya. Tomorrow's minutes should provide a bit more detail into the discussion that fed into those decisions.
Dollars and cents: The Senate Budget Committee is set to vote Tuesday on the nomination of Heather Higginbottom to serve as the new deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. Higginbottom’s March appearance before the committee wasn’t exactly pleasant, as Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) harshly criticized her experience. The ranking Republican on Budget has stopped short of saying he’ll hold up Higginbottom’s nomination.
Moving to the House side, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and his House Oversight Committee are set to examine a tentative postal workers contract that isn’t exactly to the GOP’s liking, either. (Our Erik Wasson looked more deeply at that issue over the weekend.)
— The ISM service sector report for March is expected to expand slightly, up to 60 from 59.7 in February, when it recorded its sixth straight month of expansion and hit its highest level since 2005.
— Also, the markets will likely keep an ear to the ground for a speech by Narayana Kocherlakota, the president of the Minneapolis Fed, who has recently said he's more concerned about inflation than employment.
Supreme Court Roundup: The high court split 5-4 on an Arizona case that, essentially, broke on whether a tax credit is the same as collecting and distributing tax revenue, The New York Times reports.
Moving on: Barbara Kennelly, the president of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, announced that she will step down as the leader of one of the nation’s most successful nonprofit organizations for seniors — on the eve of Ryan’s budget rollout.
The announcement means that the group will have to conduct a search to replace the former Connecticut congresswoman at a time when the GOP is targeting Medicare for an overhaul. But with the resignation effective at the end of April, the organization says that won’t be a problem.
Tax me more. Please: On Thursday, a group of higher-income folks is set to launch a campaign that would push for wealth and assets to be taxed more like income. (The top rate to be paid on capital gains, for instance, is less than half the top individual tax rate on income.)
WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:
Forty-one Senate Democrats are against House’s Planned Parenthood cuts.
Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.) push tax reform, comprehensive-style.
Democratic governors not so keen on Ryan budget.
House GOP wants to tie the hands of the new CFPB…
...while Elizabeth Warren says the bureau didn’t overreach on mortgage-related settlement negotiations.
Centrist Dems want some movement on pending trade pacts.
Atlanta Fed president: The economy’s rebalancing.
Blue Dogs urge White House, top lawmakers to avoid shutdown.
Pew poll: GOP in for most blame — slightly — in case of a shutdown.
Rasmussen poll: Large spending cuts won’t make much of a dent.
And quite the quandary: Cut your own hair or do your own taxes?
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