The Republican-led House will soon vote on a budget resolution authored by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who is likely to propose a plan that cuts taxes and reduces the growth of entitlement programs, including welfare.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., told GOP lawmakers in a Friday memo that the next three-week House work period, which begins March 24, will include a vote on a budget resolution that “balances the budget in ten years." The House will also consider three additional “budget process reform bills” that would cut spending and improve “accountability and transparency to the taxpayer,” Cantor said.
Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, has not yet unveiled his budget blueprint but it’s likely to build off his fiscal 2012 and 2013 proposals, with the addition of new reforms to the nation’s growing social welfare programs. Earlier this month, Ryan produced a 204-page report that criticized the hundreds of federal programs that assist the impoverished. Ryan said the system included overlaps and waste and has "actually created a poverty trap” for the poor.
The Ryan budget, Cantor said, will adhere to a December 2013 budget agreement with Democrats. That plan essentially wiped out about half the savings achieved in the Budget Control Act, also known as the sequester, and is likely to draw protest from the ultra-conservative wing of the party.
In addition to the House budget, Cantor said, lawmakers will consider legislation that takes aim at parts of the health care reform law Republicans believe will damage the economy.
The House will vote on a bill authored by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., and Todd Young, R-Ind., that would repeal the health care law’s definition of “full-time” employment as a 30-hour work week.
The bill was introduced in response to employers who said they had to lay off employees or reduce hours in order to avoid having to pay for health care for full-time employees at the 30-hour threshold.
Cantor said in the memo that President Obama has called for a nearly 40 percent minimum wage increase to make up for the wages lost under his health care law. But he wrote that such a wage hike will kill up to half a million jobs, according to a Congressional Budget Office report.
“Rather than lose more jobs and hours in this economy, we should protect middle class workers from the destructive consequences of Obamacare and restore up to 25 percent of their paycheck,” Cantor said.
The House will also consider legislation that would curb new regulations on coal plants that opponents say would raise energy rates and kill jobs.
And lawmakers will debate sanctions against Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, in response to the country's takeover of Crimea.
“I expect the House to move to impose greater costs on Mr. Putin and the oligarchs from Russia,” Cantor said. “In addition, as a world leader and a country that keeps its word to its friends, America has a responsibility to support countries like Ukraine who are threatened by their neighbors.”
Cantor suggested in the memo that Obama has been weak on foreign policy and that Congress needs to step in.
“From Syria to Ukraine to Iran, there is a need for America’s leadership in world matters,” Cantor wrote. “Contrary to the Obama Administration’s aspirations, Russia has not been a constructive world partner under Vladimir Putin's leadership.”
Cantor said the House will also likely take up legislation that reforms an automatic spending cut to doctors who treat Medicare patients.