Monday, January 31, 2011

Update on House Conservative Legislation

The major legislation that was debated and voted on this past week was HR 38, the FY 2011 Budget Resolution..  This bill will limit non-defense discretionary spending to no higher than 2008 levels.  The Democrats are complaining about the ambivalence of the exact budget numbers, but Republicans are merely repairing a budget that was never dealt with a year ago.  This is a nice start but more needs to be done.  Here is an update on some other budget and non budget related bills that should be a priority for conservatives.

  • Dr. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) introduced a tort reform bill that is being designated as H.R. 5.  This is one of the most direct causes of high health care costs and must be taken up immediately.  Here is a brief summary of the provisions in this bill from The Hill:

"Among other things, the bill would limit the number of years a plaintiff has to file a legal claim against medical practitioners and ensure that doctors are only liable for the portion of a procedure for which they are at fault. The latter provision would limit the ability of a plaintiff's lawyers to seek "deep pockets" in a legal challenge.
The bill also ensures that more monetary awards would go to patients, not patients' lawyers, puts "reasonable limits" on punitive damages and allows states to maintain their own damage award caps."

  • In response to our drift towards the European model of government ownership of the private sector, Congressman Michael Turner is proposing H.J. Res. 22.  This would propose a constitutional amendment stipulating that, "The United States shall not own, subscribe to, or otherwise have any interest in the stock or equity of any company, association or corporation: Provided, That the foregoing prohibition shall not apply to any investments through any pension funds."  This resolution already has close to 100 co-sponsors.
  • Last week we reported on the RSC budget plan for the rest of 2011 and the subsequent 10 years.  We showed some analysis from the Heritage Foundation that detailed an extra few hundred billion dollars that are ripe for elimination.  This week, Michele Bachmann outlined a budget plan that would save $400 billion and includes many of those suggested cuts. 
  • Once again, RSC Chairman Jim Jordan shows leadership by willing to reintroduce the D.C. Defense of Marriage Act in the 112th congress.  It's good to know that there are still some who are unwilling to call for a truce (retreat) on social issues.
  • Conservative star Tom McClintock introduced legislation that would require the treasury to prioritize payment to debtors if the debt ceiling is not raised.  We must continue to drive home the argument that as long as we pay the debt first and cut other programs, we will not default on our credit.  
  • Rand Paul released an awesome budget plan that would cut $500 billion a year, not just over 10 years.

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