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Daily Policy Note for April 11, 2014

RPC News

Why the Obamacare Debate Isn’t Over: President Obama declared the national debate on the health care law “over.” The White House can prematurely celebrate its questionable 7.5 million sign-up number, but the end of the federal exchange’s open enrollment period doesn’t mean the Obamacare debate is over. Michael Gerson, in a Washington Post opinion piece, summed it up well: “The Obama administration is pausing to bow at mile two of a marathon”.

GOP Committee News

Environment: EPW Leaders Announce Progress on Highway Bill: Today, U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, joined Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Chairman of the EPW Committee, Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, to announce the principle agreement on a bipartisan transportation reauthorization bill.

Today’s Headlines

USA Today: First Take: Sebelius exits, battered and blamed: In the end, Kathleen Sebelius was able to resign as secretary of Health and Human Services during a high point, when the administration had just announced that 7.5 million Americans had signed up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchanges.

Bloomberg: Burwell Has Track Record Winning Senate Confirmation: Sylvia Mathews Burwell, President Barack Obama’s choice to be his next secretary of Health and Human Services, brings experience in budgeting and management and one other important qualification: proven ability to get confirmed by a divided U.S. Senate.

Roll Call: Reid will bail on Friday votes: In a rare Friday session, the Senate will do nothing. Votes on two nominees were scheduled to take place Friday, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is expected to postpone those votes at 4 p.m. tomorrow until after a two-week recess.

Second Opinion

Fox News: IRS prepares to go after ObamaCare mandate fines: With the ObamaCare enrollment deadline in the rearview for most, the IRS is preparing for the next step -- tracking and penalizing those who choose not, or cannot afford, to buy approved health insurance.

New Polling Numbers

Gallup: No Improvement for Congress' Job Approval Rating: Americans' approval of Congress is 13% in April, inching down from 15% in March, and currently standing only four percentage points higher than the all-time low of 9% in November 2013. Congress' job approval rating has ranged between 12% and 15% since December.

Economic News

Wall Street Journal: Economists See Growth Spurt Delayed, Not Derailed: Harsh winter weather delayed—but likely didn't derail—the breakout growth many economists expected for the U.S. going into the year.

Red Tape Review

ABC News: 11 Senate Democrats to Obama: Approve Keystone XL: Eleven Senate Democrats, including six who face contested races this year, urged President Barack Obama on Thursday to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline by the end of May.


@SenRandPaul: .@Sebelius's legacy will be one of the most unpopular & undemocratic govt overreaches in our lifetime- #Obamacare & its disastrous inception

@McConnellPress: Senator McConnell on Reported Resignation of Secretary Sebelius  #Obamacare

Floor Schedule for Friday, April 11, 2014

Today, the Senate is in session.

The Senate will convene at 4:00 p.m., following the Leaders’ remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of Executive Calendar #574, Michelle T. Friedland, of California, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit, with the time until 5:00 p.m. equally divided.

There will be no roll call VOTES on Friday.

Key House Action

Today, the House is not in session.

Boehner Unloads on WH Over IRS, Benghazi, Fast & Furious: "They Owe the American People the Truth": At his weekly press briefing today, Speaker Boehner unloaded on the White House for refusing to tell the American people the truth about the IRS, Benghazi, and Fast and Furious