Morning Action: House Won’t Be Bullied into Extending Unemployment Benefits

UI.  The Senate approved a five-month extension of long-term unemployment benefits Monday, and though there is some pressure in the House from moderate Republicans hailing from high unemployment states to do the same, reports indicate that the House will not cave:

Ron Bonjean, a Republican strategist, said Democrats may be able to get more Republicans onboard by attaching job-creation measures to the bill. Some Republican senators introduced amendments they said would create jobs, such as approving the Keystone XL pipeline, but Mr. Reid blocked all amendments.

“Right now, most House Republicans are not hearing about this issue back in their districts. They’re hearing about Obamacare and job creation and the need to grow the economy,” Mr. Bonjean said. “They’re not feeling the political pressure Democrats claim is happening.”

EQUAL PAY.  President Obama will sign executive actions today on equal pay for women (sub. req’d):

President Barack Obama will sign two executive actions Tuesday designed to make pay for women closer to pay for men. One, an executive order, will require that federal contractors no longer forbid employees from discussing their pay. He will also sign a memorandum directing the Department of Labor to collect aggregate pay information from federal contractors broken down by gender and race.

Timed to Equal Pay Day — the day when a woman’s pay catches up to her male counterpart’s pay from the prior year, according to statistics cited by pay equity supporters — the event represents another White House attempt to use executive action to circumvent Congress. And it goes along with related action in the Senate, where Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) 13% last night filed a procedural motion on a bill (S 2199) that would bar employers from paying employees differently based on their sex. A similar bill did not survive a test vote in 2012.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) 5%, who sponsored the Senate bill, applauded the president’s action. “Women should no longer be sidelined, redlined or pink slipped,” she said in a statement.

The Heritage Foundation notes:

Convincing people that injustice is taking place is a great way to push your policy agenda—and that’s where “Equal Pay Day” comes from. It’s the left’s claim that women in America are paid only about 77 cents on the dollar compared to men.

But as Foundry Senior Contributor Genevieve Wood has explained, that talking point comes from creative—not accurate—comparisons.

The problem with the 77 percent statistic, calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau, is that it doesn’t compare the salaries of women and men in the same profession.

DEMOCRAT BUDGET.  Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) 14% authored a budget proposed by Democrats on Monday, which would raise taxes by $1.8 trillion (sub. req’d):

House Democrats on Monday proposed an alternative budget that would reduce the deficit by $1.8 trillion over a decade by raising taxes by almost $1.8 trillion and cutting spending by $27 billion, presenting a stark contrast with the budget plan House Republicans will bring to the floor this week.

The Democratic plan was among several that were submitted to the House Rules Committee to vie against the fiscal 2015 budget resolution (H Con Res 96) written by Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis.

Compared with the Ryan plan, which proposes to achieve a $5 billion surplus by 2024, the Democratic alternative would end the decade with a $637 billion deficit, or 2.3 percent of Gross Domestic Product, allowing debt to shrink as a share of the economy.

TAX EXTENDERS.  House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp reportedly plans to hold individual markups on various expired tax breaks to make them permanent (sub. req’d):

The plan would depart from the usual practice of wrapping the so-called tax extenders into a single package, a practice that allows members to maintain some distance from isolated provisions while ensuring that lawmakers who want any of the special tax breaks must vote for all of them.

Camp, R-Mich., plans to mark up bills renewing the seven business provisions he extended or made permanent in his comprehensive overhaul draft first, according to people with knowledge of the meeting. Anyone who wants to extend one of the more than 40 remaining expired provisions would have to introduce a separate bill. It could also stretch the extender process into the fall.

The Senate Finance Committee approved a package of extenders on a voice vote last Thursday.

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