Plenty of Blame to Go Around

Our most recent blog poll asked who was to blame for the then ongoing mess (otherwise known as the federal government shutdown and inability to agree on just about anything) in Washington. Your votes were similar to some of the national polls:

  • House Republicans: 41%
  • President Obama: 16%
  • Senate Democrats: 6%
  • All of the above: 31%

Some of you bypassed the vote and simply went to the comment box. The two themes there were "my way or no way at all" in reference to the President and the "impact of the Tea Party in Republican primaries."

Our new poll (top right) seeks your view on holiday shopping and whether you'll be driving to the store or using a hard drive (for online purchases).

House GOP: We Have a Plan

House Republicans in Congress have a plan for their quickly-approaching fall/winter session. Will it be carried out? Based on recent experiences, one has to be skeptical. But a plan to tackle relief for small businesses and specific costly regulations is a good first step.

The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council says the following was included in a memo from Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia to caucus members:

The House GOP plans to repeal specific regulations, and advance broader regulatory reform bills such as the REINS Act and Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act.  In addition, there will be forthcoming action on a bill to allow small business owners to take a tax deduction equal to 20% of their income. Hopefully, the House will move quickly on this pro-growth proposal.

The House GOP will move to repeal the 3% withholding mandate on government contractors. As SBE Council and its allies have argued, this withholding tax would especially burden small business contractors by worsening cash flow conditions and putting small firms at a competitive disadvantage in the government procurement marketplace. The mandate will also raise costs for taxpayers and state and local governments.      

The "top 10 job-destroying regulations" identified by the GOP leadership, and the time-table for congressional action follows:

NLRB’s Boeing Ruling (Action: Week of September 12): H.R. 2587, the Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act, would take the common sense step of preventing the NLRB from restricting where an employer can create jobs in the United States.

Utility MACT and CSAPR (Action: Week of September 19): H.R. 2401, the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act would require a cumulative economic analysis for specific EPA rules, and specifically delay the final date for both the utility MACT and CSAPR rules until the full impact of the Obama Administration’s regulatory agenda has been studied.

Boiler MACT (Action: Week of October 3):  H.R. 2250, the EPA Regulatory Relief Act would provide a legislative stay of four interrelated rules issued by the EPA in March of this year.  The legislation would also provide the EPA with at least 15 months to re-propose and finalize new, achievable rules that do not destroy jobs, and provide employers with an extended compliance period.

Cement MACT (Action: Week of October 3):  H.R. 2681, the Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act would provide a legislative stay of these three rules and provide EPA with at least 15 months to re-propose and finalize new, achievable rules that do not destroy jobs, and provide employers with an extended compliance period.

Coal Ash (Action: October/November): H.R. 2273, the Coals Residuals Reuse and Management Act would create an enforceable minimum standard for the regulation of coal ash by the states, allowing their use in a safe manner that protects jobs.

Grandfathered Health Plans (Action: November/December): The Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Education and Workforce committees will soon be working on legislation to repeal these ObamaCare restrictions. Small business owners and their employees will not be able to "keep the health care plans they currently have" as promised by President Obama and supporters of the health care law.

Ozone Rule (Action: Winter): This effective ban or restriction on construction and industrial growth for much of America is possibly the most harmful of all the currently anticipated Obama Administration regulations. Consequences would reach far across the U.S. economy, resulting in an estimated cost of $1 trillion or more over a decade and millions of jobs. 

Farm Dust (Action: Winter): The EPA is expected to issue revised standards for particulate matter (PM) in the near future. The House will act on H.R. 1633, the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act. H.R. 1633 would protect American farmers and jobs by establishing a one year prohibition against revising any national ambient air quality standard applicable to coarse PM and limiting federal regulation of dust where it is already regulated under state and local laws.

Greenhouse Gas (Action: Winter): The EPA’s upcoming greenhouse gas new source performance standards (NSPS) will affect new and existing oil, natural gas, and coal-fired power plants, as well as oil refineries, nationwide. 

NLRB’s Ambush Elections (Action: Winter): This summer, the NLRB issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that could significantly alter current union representation election procedures, giving both employers and employees little time to react to union formations in the future. The result will increase labor costs and uncertainty for nearly all private employers in the U.S. The House will soon consider legislation that will bring common sense to union organizing procedures to protect the interests of both employers and their workers.

Many Placing Their Money on House GOP Surge

Many, but not all, were surprised when Massachusetts Rep. Scott Brown earned the special election victory earlier this year to replace Ted Kennedy. The same group that called that upset also predicted President Obama’s electoral vote total nearly a month before the 2008 election.

That same entity — Dublin, Ireland-based InTrade, an online futures market — now is giving House Republicans a 50-50 chance to reclaim control of their chamber in November.

On Tuesday, April 20 at 4:55 p.m., InTrade’s market for GOP control of the House hit 50.5, meaning traders believed there was a 50.5 percent chance the House would change hands in November. According to CongressDaily:

Analysts at the Wharton School of Business have pegged InTrade’s margin of error at 1 to 1.5 percent, or half that of comparable Gallup polls.

Although one or two major market-makers with deep pockets and an axe to grind can sometimes influence the betting, InTrade has proved to be accurate more often than not. That’s because traders are more likely to do their homework with actual money on the line than with a pollster’s voice on the line, Wharton professors and others argue.

At the close of trading in April 22, Democrats had only a 48.4 percent chance to retain the House. That chance has steadily declined throughout the year but only dropped below 50 percent this week. InTrade’s market for House Republicans picking up at least 35 seats hit 59.5 percent.

The Senate picture is brighter for Democrats, based on InTrade betting. The latest trading puts Senate Democrats’ chances at holding their majority at 77.9 percent. But the market for Republicans picking up at least seven seats stood at 50 percent.