By Vicki Needham - 04/01/14 07:07 PM EDT
WEDNESDAY'S BIG STORY:
Budget time: The House Budget Committee will take up a Republican budget proposal on Wednesday crafted by Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.) that would slash $5.1 trillion in federal spending to balance the budget over the next 10 years.
Ryan argued on Tuesday that, despite election-year politics, he needed to put forward a budget that provides a different path than President Obama's plan would.
“We believe it is not enough for us to just be an opposition party. We need to be a proposition party,” Ryan said.
As expected, congressional Democrats pounced on the plan, calling it "reckless" and "unrealistic".
"This dog-eat-dog budget is nothing short of an assault on Americans struggling to stay afloat economically," said House Budget Committee ranking member Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).
Ryan offered up the blueprint despite a budget deal he forged with Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.), which sets the spending levels for 2015 at $1.014 trillion.
Murray decided to skip the budget process and handed the heavy lifting to the Appropriations committees, which are already knee deep in budget hearings.
The markup isn't expected to delve into a tax reform plan on Wednesday because House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) asked that it be kept out of Ryan’s proposal.
Camp, who announced on Monday that he will retire from Congress this year, has put forth an overhaul that cuts the top individual and corporate rates to 25 percent.
While Ryan's plan should emerge from the committee, it could face some hurdles on the floor next week because it endorses his deal with Murray that increases spending next year. That puts conservatives who opposed Ryan-Murray in a tough spot to back the GOP plan.
WHAT ELSE WE’RE WATCHING
Businesses and bitcoin: The House Small Business Committee on Wednesday will explore the potential pitfalls of the virtual currency bitcoin for small businesses with several experts.
“Technology is changing fast and that can bring about both risks and benefits for small businesses,” said panel Chairman Sam Graves (R-Kan.).
"Bitcoin is a rapidly growing alternative payment method that can be attractive to small firms, but they need to know all the factors involved."
Questioning a watchdog: A House Financial Services subcommittee is holding what is expected to be a contentious hearing Wednesday that will delve into allegations by a whistleblower of discrimination and retaliation at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Citing its ongoing investigation, the agency won't be sending over anyone to represent the bureau.
That set up a back-and-forth between Democrats and Republicans over whether it is fair to hold the hearing.
Busy stretch: House and Senate appropriators will continue their hearings on Wednesday with top administration officials to discuss fiscal 2015 budgets.
House appropriators will hold several hearings and will talk to U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.
Donovan also heads over to the Senate side. Senate appropriators will discuss the Air Force budget and spending levels for the Treasury Department's Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence and its administration and enforcement of sanctions with Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen.
MBA Mortgage Index: The Mortgage Bankers Association releases its weekly report on mortgage application volume.
ADP National Employment Report: Automatic Data Processing (ADP) will release its March report for private-sector job growth.
Factory Orders: The Commerce Department is releasing data on factory orders for February that consist of the earlier announced durable goods report plus non-durable goods orders.
WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED
— Trade groups opposing efforts to raise minimum wage
— Schock blasts Levin's Caterpillar probe
— Manufacturing sector expands at faster pace in March
— Senate panel schedules action on tax breaks bill
— Ryan budget sets sights on Dodd-Frank
— Reid: Ryan budget is ‘modern Koch-topia’
— Momentum for scrapping mortgage giants
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