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Capitol Connection Newsletter


Washington, Feb 17, 2012 -

President’s Budget Calls for More Spending, More Borrowing, More Job-Crushing Taxes
This week, President Obama issued his Fiscal Year 2013 budget request, which includes more of the same spending, borrowing, and taxing policies that have hindered economic growth and job creation. Despite the President’s pledge to cut the deficit in half in four years, the Administration’s budget projects a $1.3 trillion federal deficit, the second-highest budget deficit in our nation’s history. The FY 2013 budget proposal sets another dubious record by spending $47 trillion over ten years, more than any other budget. While the President has spoken about the need to reduce spending, his budget does little to put those words into action by including spending increases that far exceed the proposal’s spending cuts. The increase in spending and borrowing under the requested budget will worsen our nation’s debt crisis by sending our gross national debt from $15 trillion today to $26 trillion in 2022. This is despite his proposal to raise income taxes on American families and small businesses by $1.4 trillion. The proposal also seeks to raise taxes on energy producers as gas prices continue to rise. As Congress considers our nation’s budgetary priorities for the coming year, Congressman Miller will work to put our nation’s finances on a sustainable path to economic prosperity.

Pro-Jobs Energy Bill Passes House
Also this week, the House of Representatives began consideration of a multi-year reauthorization of our nation’s surface transportation programs. On Thursday the House passed legislation that will help pay for our nation’s highway programs, create jobs for American workers, and lower energy costs for families and small businesses. Specifically, H.R. 3408 would direct the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to issue a permit for the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline Project. To ensure the agency does not drag its feet on approving the project, the bill states that if the FERC does not itself issue the permit within 30 days of enactment, then the permit will be automatically issued. To strengthen our country’s energy security, H.R. 3408 requires the Interior Department to conduct commercial lease sales for oil shale development and removes the ban on oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The bill also expands opportunities for oil and gas exploration off the Outer Continental Shelf in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Virginia. Congressman Miller strongly supported this legislation to improve our nation’s infrastructure, help Americans get back to work, and enhance our nation’s energy security.

House Votes to Extend Payroll Tax Holiday, Prevent Cuts to Medicare Providers
On Friday, the House approved the conference report to H.R. 3630, extending the payroll tax holiday for millions of American workers through December 31, 2012. At a time when many families continue to struggle to make ends meet, this extension will allow workers to take home more of what they earn.  The conference report also prevents a devastating 27.4% cut in reimbursements to Medicare physicians. Regarding unemployment benefits, the report extends federal unemployment insurance programs through the end of the year, while reducing the maximum number of weeks of benefits available from 99 weeks to 73 weeks in high unemployment states and to 63 weeks in states with lower unemployment rates. The report also establishes national job-search requirements for those receiving benefits and allows states to conduct drug testing and screening of applicants who have been terminated from their previous job as a result of illegal drug use. While the conference report is far from perfect, Congressman Miller supported it to prevent American workers from seeing their taxes rise at the end of the month and stop the drastic cuts to Medicare providers. He will continue working to strengthen our economy, allow Americans to keep more of their own money, and protect seniors’ access to medical care.

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