May 17, 2013
The Road to Peace in Syria Runs Through ... Moscow?: If it wasn’t clear that President Obama’s policy on Syria is simply bizarre, Secretary of State John Kerry’s hat-in-hand trip to Russia last week should lay bare the reality. Asking Russia to support U.S. interests in Syria is like asking the fox to guard the hen house.
GOP Committee News
Finance: Senate, House Republicans Call on GAO to Investigate Sec. Sebelius’s Solicitation of Funds for Private Non-Profit: Republicans sent letter to GAO requesting agency “gather the facts surrounding Secretary Sebelius’s actions and provide a detailed report”
Finance: Finance Committee GOP Demand TIGTA Investigate Leak of Non-Profits’ Confidential Tax Information: In letter to TIGTA, Senators write, “...we are also troubled by the possibility that the IRS improperly disclosed confidential information about certain conservative groups during 2012, including application materials and donor names.”
Health, Education, Labor and Pensions: Alexander Opposes Nominee for Labor Secretary: “I will oppose voting Mr. Perez out of the HELP Committee for two reasons: Number one, my view of his record raises troubling questions about his actions while at the Department of Justice and his candor in discussing his actions with this committee. Number two, congressional committees have asked for relevant and specific information that hasn’t been provided yet by the nominee or the administration.”
The Washington Times: Paul: A Staggering Abuse of Power: When I filibustered over domestic drone use, critics said that I was being ridiculous. They said that no American had been killed by a drone on American soil and that no one was likely to be anytime soon. President Obama responded that he hadn’t killed anyone yet and didn’t intend to — but he might.
Wall Street Journal: The Doubly Illegal NLRB: The non-recess recess appoints earn another judicial rebuke. President Obama's non-recess recess appointments got another legal rebuke Thursday, when the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that another of his NLRB appointments violated the Constitution and left the board without a quorum.
Wall Street Journal: Strassel: The IRS Scandal Started at the Top: Was the White House involved in the IRS's targeting of conservatives? No investigation needed to answer that one. Of course it was.
New York Times: Russia Sends More Advanced Missiles to Aid Assad in Syria: Russia has sent advanced antiship cruise missiles to Syria, a move that illustrates the depth of its support for the Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad, American officials said Thursday.
Key House Action
Today, the House is not in session.
New York Times: Bipartisan House Group Reaches Preliminary Immigration Deal: A bipartisan group in the House working on an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws reached a deal in principle Thursday evening, aides said. The group plans to introduce its bill in June.
New Polling Numbers
Gallup: Americans' Attention to IRS, Benghazi Stories Below Average: Slim majorities of Americans are very or somewhat closely following the situations involving the Internal Revenue Service (54%) and the congressional hearings on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and its aftermath (53%) -- comparatively low based on historical measures of other news stories over the last two decades.
National Journal: Poll: How Damaging Is the IRS Controversy to Obama?: On a scale of 1 to 10, how politically damaging is the IRS controversy to President Obama, with 1 representing "no damage" and 10 representing "highly damaging?" Democrats average: 6.2, Republicans average: 7.2.
Red Tape Review
The Washington Post: Obama Administration Issues Draft Fracking Regulations: The Obama administration drew sharp criticism from environmental and oil industry groups Thursday when it issued a new draft of regulations for fracking on federal and Indian lands.
The Hill: House Votes to Repeal ObamaCare: The House voted to repeal ObamaCare on Thursday for the third time since Republicans took over the chamber in 2011.
CNN: Health Care Official Used to Lead IRS Tax Exempt Office: An IRS spokesperson confirmed Ingram is the current director of the Affordable Care Act office, a department she’s worked in since December 2010. Meanwhile, a 2009 posting on the IRS website referred to her as the commissioner for the tax exempt/government entities division.
The Hill: Poll finds younger people expect their costs to rise under ObamaCare: Sixty-four percent said they believe their premiums will rise, according to the survey. Only 9 percent believed their premiums would fall; 17 percent thought costs would stay the same.
Wall Street Journal: Low Inflation Poses a Growth Test: The sluggishness of the U.S. economy is keeping a lid on inflation, leaving companies unable to increase prices and raising doubts about the durability of the recovery.
CNN Money: Debt Ceiling: Treasury Soon to Start Juggling Act: The debt ceiling clock is about to start running again. The U.S. Treasury on Friday will begin using "extraordinary measures" to keep the country from defaulting on its obligations.
@SenJohnHoeven: Administration's fracking rule will worsen permit delays, duplicate state regs, impede energy development. My Empower States Act can fix it.
Floor Schedule for Monday, May 20
The Senate will convene at 2:00 p.m. Following any Leader remarks, the Senate will be in a period of Morning Business until 3:00pm.
Following Morning Business, the Senate will proceed to the consideration of Cal. #73, S. 954, the Farm bill.
At 5:00 p.m., there will be 30 minutes of debate, equally divided, on:
- Executive Calendar #45, Sheri Polster Chappell, of Florida, to be U.S. District Judge for the Middle District of Florida; and
- 2.Executive Calendar #46, Michael J. McShane, of Oregon, to be U.S. District Judge for the District of Oregon.
At 5:30 p.m., there will be up to 2 votes on confirmation of the Chappell and McShane nominations.