The Hill: GOP plans Guard troops to border

House Republicans are considering a plan that would deploy the National Guard to the border, change trafficking laws and beef up judicial and law enforcement resources in response to the surge of child migrants into the United States.

A GOP working group on border issues briefed members Wednesday on their policy recommendations for the emergency funding bill, which lawmakers are scrambling to finish before they leave town for a five-week summer recess.

Republicans were adamant that policy changes must be part of the spending package, setting up a standoff with Democrats who have declared them a non-starter.

“What the president’s asking for is a blank check,” said Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). “Without trying to fix the problem, I don’t know how we’re in the position to give the president any more money.”

D.C. Appeals court strikes Obamacare subsidies

A federal appeals court dealt a major blow to Obamacare on Tuesday, saying that millions of Americans cannot get subsidies to help pay for their health insurance through HealthCare.gov, the federal exchange serving most of the country. The court said those subsidies can only be given through the state-run exchanges.

In a 2-1 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said that the IRS had incorrectly allowed people to get subsidized through the federal exchange. It did not order the subsidies stopped immediately, recognizing that the Obama administration will appeal.

The Halbig v. Burwell decision is the second recent legal setback for Obamacare, following the Hobby Lobby ruling on birth control coverage. But the contraception rule is a controversial but small piece of the health law; the subsidies go to the heart of coverage expansion in the Affordable Care Act.

Read more: POLITICO

IRS official: Lois Lerner email trail may not be cold

A top IRS official is now uncertain about whether backup tapes of the lost Lois Lerner emails may exist, according to testimony released by Republicans — a potentially significant plot twist in the controversy that has shaken the IRS in recent weeks.

IRS deputy associate chief counsel Thomas Kane, who oversees the tax-collecting agency’s document production to Congress, told the House Oversight Committee in private testimony that he’s now unsure if the correspondence is backed up somewhere else.

“I don’t know if there is a backup tape with information on it or there isn’t,” he told investigators Thursday, according to a partial transcript released by Oversight Republicans on Monday.

The IRS official suggested new information has come to light since the IRS revealed in a June 13 letter to Congress that two year’s worth of Lerner’s emails were lost in a 2011 computer crash. Lerner was the head of the tax exempt division that singled out conservative groups for additional scrutiny and has since become a lightning rod for Republicans probing the matter.

Read more: POLITICO

US Chamber of Commece: When Ex-Im Is Required (Small Business Edition)

READ THE ORIGINAL STORY HERE

As the fight over the fate of U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) continues, the rhetoric in Washington has grown heated. But across the nation, business owners are perplexed by the inside-the-beltway campaign against Ex-Im.

In particular, the thousands of small businesses that depend on Ex-Im to be able to access foreign markets are stunned at the threat that Washington could let the Bank’s charter lapse.

What the critics don’t grasp is that access to Ex-Im isn’t just something that’s nice for small exporters to have—it’s often indispensable.

Bridge to Life Solutions in Columbia, South Carolina, uses the most widely utilized Ex-Im product for small businesses: credit insurance. Bridge to Life insures orders for state-of-the-art cold storage organ transplant solutions. Thanks to Ex-Im credit insurance, Bridge to Life was able to begin exporting.

John Bruens, Chief Commercial and Business Development Officer for Bridge to Life, explains why Ex-Im is vital to his company: “Without Ex-Im, I would have to tell my customers, ‘prepay everything up front, or we can’t do business.’” By purchasing credit insurance from Ex-Im for the firm’s foreign receivables, Bridge to Life was able to extend credit terms to its international customers — and sales soared. “Ex-Im allowed us to build an international presence,” says Bruens.

Similarly, Eagle Labs in Rancho Cucamonga, California, uses Ex-Im’s credit insurance to insure orders for surgical equipment for cataract surgery.

Michael De Camp, Vice President of International Sales for Eagle Labs, explains that despite receiving consistent payment from foreign customers, local banks wouldn’t extend credit to Eagle Labs based on uninsured accounts. Once Eagle Labs secured Ex-Im credit insurance, everything changed. The firm got a line of credit from a private bank, bought the capital equipment it needed, doubled its sales, and doubled its workforce.

ProGauge Technologies in Bakersfield, California, makes machinery that injects steam into heavy oil wells to make it easier to pump. President Don Nelson lays out how he uses Ex-Im’s working capital guarantees: “The way our business works, we get money from our customers up front, and they get a bank guarantee from Wells Fargo.”

“In order to get a guarantee,” Nelson explains, “Wells Fargo requires us to get an Ex-Im guarantee and put up 10% collateral. Without Ex-Im, Wells Fargo would require us to put up 100% collateral, and we would have no money available for operations.”

The challenge is that U.S. commercial banks do not allow American companies to use foreign receivables or inventory as collateral. Far from crowding out the private sector, Ex-Im working capital guarantees let private banks extend loans and guarantees that they wouldn’t be able to make otherwise.

If Ex-Im shuts down, Nelson is worried about his company’s future. He says: “Our revenues would go down by about 75%, and I’d have to lay off between 50 and 60 people.”

Davenport Aviation in Columbus, Ohio, uses Ex-Im’s line of credit service. Davenport was founded in 2009 by João and Leah Simoes and got its start selling aircraft parts to African countries. The business boomed, and soon it was selling to Asia, South America, and the Middle East.

Simoes explains why Ex-Im is vital: “Cash lifecycles can be long — up to 120 days — when dealing with developing countries. Private banks just do not offer large enough line of credits to small companies like ours with large backorders.”

When determining the borrowing base for a line of a credit, U.S. commercial banks do not take into account foreign receivables. Without Ex-Im’s line of credit, small businesses exporting expensive capital goods would have to slow down and wait out the unusually long payment cycles of international business — which just isn’t feasible. As Simoes says, “Ex-Im is necessary for small business.”

In short, Ex-Im is indispensable for small exporters. It provides them with credit insurance, lines of credit, and working capital guarantees without which many of them just couldn’t export. Due to regulatory constraints, commercial banks would be unable to fill the void.

As members of Congress consider legislation to reauthorize Ex-Im, America’s small businesses are watching. In many instances, it isn’t just jobs hanging in the balance— the future of many small businesses is on the line. 

Roll Call: Border Funding Request Takes Shape in House

House Republicans could by the week’s end unveil their legislative response to the president’s $3.7 billion request to bolster resources at the southwest border — a response that’s likely to cost less and incorporate policy riders sure to rile up Democrats on the left.

Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, the chairwoman of a special GOP working group convened by Speaker John A. Boehner to make policy recommendations on the child migrant border surge, told reporters Tuesday morning the group is pushing for increased border security funding, the use of National Guard troops on the border and the installation of more immigration judges to preside over deportation hearings and asylum requests.

With a formal report expected to be filed late Tuesday or early Wednesday, Granger also said the group supported tweaking a 2008 trafficking law to allow all unaccompanied minors apprehended at the border to choose to return to their home countries rather than await trial to be deported, a right currently afforded only to children from countries contiguous to the United States.

“Tweak it, not change it, not repeal it,” Granger stressed, “but to treat all children the same.”

Such revisions to the law known as the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 are being touted in a pair of bills sponsored by Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar and Republican Sen. John Cornyn, both of Texas.

 

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

POLITICO: Understanding the Export-Import Bank

What does the Export-Import Bank do?

The institution helps U.S. companies sell products to foreign customers, mostly by providing or guaranteeing loans to those buyers. It steps in when private banks decide certain sales are too risky to finance.

Who benefits from the bank?

The top customers are Boeing, which said it relied on the bank’s financing to support 18 percent of its aircraft sales last year, and other major exporters like General Electric and Caterpillar. But more than 90 percent of the bank’s customers are small businesses. Overall, the bank said it supported 205,000 U.S. jobs last year and sent a profit of $1 billion to the U.S. Treasury.

Do other countries have their own versions?

Yes, 59 do, including China, Japan and South Korea and most European countries, which is why bank supporters say eliminating it would be “unilateral disarmament.” For example, Airbus, a main competitor of Boeing, finances its sales through European export credit agencies.

Why do conservatives want to close it?

The Club for Growth, Heritage Action for America, Americans for Prosperity and other conservative groups say the agency is a prime example of “crony capitalism” and distorts the free market to benefit a few connected corporations. The U.S. government should play no role in financing sales to foreign companies that compete with American businesses, they say.

Has the bank always been under fire?

The 80-year-old institution’s reauthorization has drawn occasional rumbles from both liberals and conservatives, but historically reauthorization has been a painless process, involving near-unanimous support in the House and Senate. The first time the bank’s reauthorization was truly in doubt was in 2012, when 93 House Republicans opposed it. The question this time is whether it will be backed by the majority of the House GOP.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

 

Main Street Week in Review: July 11, 2014

TOP ISSUES FROM THIS WEEK:

RNC Selects Cleveland as Host for 2016 Convention

No Republican Presidential nominee has won the White House without carrying the state of Ohio since 1860, something not lost on Republicans today who announced this week that they had selected Cleveland, Ohio to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. Cleveland beat out several cities along the way, in the end besting Dallas in the final decision.

The GOP plans to hold its 2016 convention earlier than usual, with possible dates of June 28th or July 18th being considered for the start.

“This is great news for Cleveland and our entire state,” Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said in a statement. “It’s a unique opportunity to showcase the new Cleveland as one of America’s great cities, and to bring dollars and jobs to Ohio.”

For the RNC, the top consideration was the budget presentations from each of the competing cities. Current RNC Chair Reince Preibus insisted that city proposals outline how they would pay for the convention – rather than sticking the bill with the party.

In proposals and presentations to the party, city officials outlined how each would raise the tens of millions of dollars required to pay for the weeklong rally for the party faithful. A successful convention is a boon not just to the political party, but also to the local economy.

In a post-convention report, organizers of Tampa, Fla.’s 2012 GOP convention said its $58 million in fundraising resulted in a $214 million direct economic impact. Some 50,000 activists, officials and reporters descended on the Tampa area for the convention, officials said. More journalists visited Tampa for the GOP convention in 2012 than visited in 2009 when Tampa hosted the Super Bowl.

That economic impact is one reason cities have been competing for months to host the convention.

Organizers earlier eliminated bids from Denver; Cincinnati; Columbus, Ohio; Kansas City, Missouri; Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Obama Calls for Almost $4 Billion for Border

In response to a growing humanitarian crisis on the border with Mexico, President Obama is calling on Congress to appropriate $3.7 billion to stem families and unaccompanied minors illegally crossing into the U.S.

Here’s a by-the-numbers breakdown of the emergency supplemental request to curb the crisis.

$1.1 BILLION FOR IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT: This would help pay for transportation costs associated with apprehending unaccompanied children, to the tune of $116 million. It would also help detain and and remove undocumented adults with children; expand alternatives to detention programs, such as ankle bracelets; and provide additional immigration and customs-enforcement efforts and expand ICE’s investigatory programs.

$433 MILLION FOR CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION: Crews could log 16,526 more flight hours for aerial surveillance of the border—an expansion that has a $39.4 million price tag. A large portion of the $433 million would pay for costs associated with apprehending more children and families at the border, such as overtime and temporary pay for Border Patrol agents and the care of children placed in CBP protection.

$64 MILLION FOR DOJ: About 40 more immigration judge teams would be hired. Additionally, the number of immigration litigation attorneys and legal representatives for children would increase.

$300 MILLION FOR STATE DEPARTMENT AND INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS: The administration hopes to counteract smugglers’ misinformation that migrants will be allowed to stay in the United States. About $5 million would support media campaigns in Central America emphasizing the dangers of the journey to cross the border. The other $295 million will go toward reintegrating migrants into their home country and addressing the economic and social disparities causing families and children to cross the border.

$1.8 BILLION FOR HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: Central American children are placed in HHS hands after they cross the border, and these funds will go toward providing appropriate care for the kids.

Senate Intel Committee Passes Cybersecurity Bill

On Tuesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee approved the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act by a vote of 12 to 3. The legislation would make it easier for businesses and the government to share information with each other about cyber-attacks. Despite the vote, the bill continues to face opposition from privacy groups, who warn that it could give the National Security Agency access to even more personal information of Americans.

The legislation includes provisions aimed at protecting privacy, such as requiring that companies that share information first strip out personally identifiable data (such as names, addresses, and Social Security numbers) of known Americans.

But the privacy groups are still worried that the legislation could encourage a company such as Google to turn over vast batches of emails or other private data to the government. The information would go first to the Homeland Security Department, but could then be shared with the NSA or other intelligence agencies.

Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall voted against the legislation, saying in a statement that it “lacks adequate protections for the privacy rights of law-abiding Americans, and that it will not materially improve cybersecurity.”

The legislation is a counterpart to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which passed the House last year.

That legislation prompted a major backlash from Internet activists, who fear it would undermine Internet privacy. More than 100,000 people signed a White House petition opposing the bill, and “CISPA” became a dirty word on many blogs, discussion forums, and news sites.

The White House issued a veto threat on CISPA, saying it lacked adequate privacy safeguards.

Senate Confirms Castro at HUD

On Wednesday, the Senate easily confirmed President Obama’s nominee to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development – San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro – by a vote of 71 to 26.

The 39-year old Castro, who delivered the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, is seen as a rising star in Democratic circles and is frequently mentioned as a potential 2016 Vice Presidential contender

All 26 votes against Castro came from Republicans, including one of his home-state senators, Ted Cruz.

Highway Trust Fund Update

There was movement this week on both the House and Senate side with regards to efforts to avoid the looming bankruptcy of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF).

House Republicans have introduced their proposal for a temporary patch and in the Senate, Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) are pursuing a different approach.

In the Senate, their proposal is $8-9 billion. In the House, the proposal is $10.8 billion. The House plans on paying for the bill via pension smoothing, a customs duty extension, and a Leaking Underground Storage Tanks (LUST) account transfer. Senators are still working on their funding mechanism but the general consensus is that they will utilize a LUST transfer and possibly pension smoothing.

The biggest obvious had been the difference in the length of both proposals. The Senate was proposing a three-month extension, while the House was proposing an eight-month extension. However, on Thursday afternoon, the Senate tweaked their proposal to mirror the eight-month extension in the House.

The House Ways and Means Committee marked up their version on Thursday morning. Approximately $6.4 billion is raised from pension smoothing, which is an accounting practice that allows companies with defined benefit retirement plans assume higher interest rates when calculating how much money they need to contribute for their employees’ retirement. This reduces their required contributions into the plans and therefore raises the amount taxes they owe which brings new revenue to the federal government. The customs fees extension through 2024 will raise an additional $3.5 billion. The LUST transfer of $1 billion is from a separate trust fund designed to clean up underground oil leaks.

The pay-fors in the House bill have previously received broad bi-partisan support. Nevertheless, Democrats in the House will be under pressure to oppose the patch because it would mean that a long-term bill wouldn’t be worked out until next year (presumably with a Republican controlled Senate). Under the Senate’s patch timeline, a long-term bill could be negotiated during this year’s lame duck session.

Some outside groups, including Heritage Action, have already criticized the House plan for being “irresponsible”. Additionally, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) who has called for a gas tax increase in order to permanently stabilize the HTF, did not mince words on his opinion of the House plan, calling it “disgraceful” and “generational theft”.

The House bill could be on the floor as early as next week.

POLITICAL BITS

House

Alabama 6th Congressional District: Gary Palmer (R-AL) leads runoff opponent Paul DeMarco (R-AL) 59 percent to 29 percent, according to a Cygnal poll.

California 52nd Congressional District: Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) raised more than $700,000 in the second quarter and has $1.9 million cash on hand. Carl DeMaio (R-CA) raised $613,000 in the second quarter and has $1.4 million cash on hand.

Michigan 3rd Congressional District: Club for Growth is spending another $180,000 on TV and radio ads opposing Brian Ellis (R-MI), who is challenging Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) in the GOP primary in Michigan’s 3rd District, according to reports filed with the FEC Tuesday. The group has spent a total of about $375,000 so far on the race.

Senate

Michigan: Former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R-MI) raised $3.35 million, including a $1.2 million personal contribution, in the second quarter and had $5.25 million cash on hand, while Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI) raised $1.96 million in the second quarter, but did not disclose his cash-on-hand totals.

New Hampshire: A new WMUR-TV/Granite State poll of likely voters, conducted June 19-July 1, shows Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) leading former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R-NH) 50-38%. In the previous poll, conducted in early April, Shaheen led 45-39%.

North Carolina: Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) raised over $3.6 million in the second quarter and had over $8.7 million cash on hand.

Tennessee: The Tea Party Patriots endorsed Joe Carr (R-TN) the primary challenger to Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) this week.

West Virginia: Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) raised more than $1.3 million in the second quarter and had nearly $5 million cash on hand. Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D-WV) raised $777,000, but did not disclose her cash-on-hand totals.

Governor

Georgia: Jason Carter (D-GA) raised $2 million in the second quarter, besting Gov. Nathan Deal (R-GA), who raised $1.2 million. Deal has $2.6 million on hand to Carter’s $1.8 million.

A LOOK AHEAD

House

Tuesday, July 15 – The House Judiciary Committee’s Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Subcommittee will hold a hearing, “Moral Rights, Termination Rights, Resale Royalty, and Copyright Term,” at 1 p.m. in 2141 Rayburn.

Friday, July 11 – The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s Energy Subcommittee will hold a hearing, “Fusion Energy: The World’s Most Complex Energy Project,” at 9 a.m. in 2318 Rayburn.

Friday, July 11 – The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing, “21st Century Cures: Incorporating the Patient Perspective,” at 9 a.m. in 2322 Rayburn.

Senate

Tuesday, July 15 – The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing, during which Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will present “The Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress,” at 10 a.m. in 106 Dirksen.

Thursday, July 10 – The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing, “Review of the President’s Emergency Supplemental Request for Unaccompanied Children and Related Matters,” at 2:30 p.m. in 106 Dirksen.

House Committee on Ways & Means: Far More Adults Have Left the Workforce Than Found New Jobs

FROM: The House Committee on Ways & Means

Far More Adults Have Left the Workforce Than Found New Jobs. Under the Obama Administration, the ratio of adults in their early and prime working years that have left the workforce for every one that found new employment is more than 3:1.

 

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Upton Releases Mid-Year Report Highlighting Energy & Commerce Accomplishments for 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) today released a report on the accomplishments of the committee in the first six months of 2014. The mid-year review continues the tradition of status reports issued throughout the tenure of Chairman Upton on the committee’s legislative and oversight work under the current Republican majority. The updates are part of the committee’s effort to increase transparency and ensure the public has easy and ready access to the panel’s work.

Upon releasing the report, Chairman Upton commented, “We have a proud record of bipartisan results thus far in 2014. But our work continues as we advance our three primary goals of promoting job creation and economic growth, transforming Washington to create a smaller, modernized government for the innovation era, and protecting families, communities, and civic initiatives.”

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

Main Street Spotlight: Sen. Saxby Chambliss and Rep. Pete King

Main Street Spotlight: Sen. Saxby Chambliss and Rep. Pete King

This year the Main Street Partnership honored Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Representative Pete King (R-NY) at their Annual Dinner with the Amory Houghton Award for Distinguished Public Service.

The award is named for Amo Houghton, the founder and Chairman of the Board of the Main Street Partnership.  Houghton served for 18 years in the House representing New York’s 29th Congressional District and is also the former Chairman of the Board of Corning.  Previous recipients of Main Street’s Public Service Award include Senators Norm Coleman (R-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Pat Roberts (R-KS), John McCain (R-AZ), former Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman, Secretary of Transportation and former Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL), Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), as well as former Main Street President Tom Davis.

 

Saxby Chambliss

On December 2, 2008, Senator Saxby Chambliss was elected to serve a second term in the United States Senate. Georgia Trend magazine, which has consistently named him one of its Most Influential Georgians, calls him “a highly visible and well-respected presence in Washington,” and says he “has a reputation as an affable but straight-talking lawmaker.” In January 2009, Georgia Trend named Chambliss its Georgian of the Year.

Chambliss is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee; the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; the Senate Rules Committee; and presently serves as the vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Long before his election to Congress, Chambliss specialized in representing farmers’ legal interests in South Georgia. During his four terms in the House, Chambliss was instrumental in drafting two farm bills and reforming the federal crop insurance program.

Chambliss earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Georgia in 1966, and his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1968. Chambliss and his wife, Julianne, have been married since 1966, and reside in Moultrie, Ga. They have two children and six grandchildren.

 

Peter King

Congressman Peter T. King, a Republican, is serving his eleventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Rep. King is a member of the Homeland Security Committee and Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. He also serves on the Financial Services Committee and Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Congressman King, who previously served as Chairman of the Committee in 2005-2006 and again in 2011-2012, has been a leader in the ongoing effort to have Homeland Security funding based on threat analysis and is a strong supporter of the war against international terrorism, both at home and abroad.

During his years in Congress, Rep. King has attained a reputation for being well-informed and independent. Following the ravages of Superstorm Sandy, Rep. King led the successful fight in Congress to obtain $60.4 billion in emergency funding for the victims of the storm. Even Newsday has admitted that Congressman King is a “stand-up guy who isn’t shy about tangling with the powerful, even those in his own party. King has become a national figure who delivers for the region and his district.”

Pete King was born on April 5, 1944 in Manhattan and was raised in Queens. He is a graduate of St. Francis College, Brooklyn, and the University of Notre Dame Law School. He is a lifelong resident of New York and has lived in Nassau County for more than 40 years. Rep. King and his wife, Rosemary, reside in Seaford. They have two adult children and two grandchildren.