House Republicans Mulling Unemployment Benefits Bill Including Tax Breaks and Jobs Policies

Yesterday we brought you information about the Senate’s passage of unemployment insurance, noting that the Upper Chamber’s bill stood little chance of passage in its current form. That does not mean that unemployment benefits legislation is completely dead in the House. In fact, House Republicans are considering passing an unemployment insurance bill that includes a number of their provisions to lower taxes or create jobs. One potential idea being floated is including the extension of temporary tax breaks that expired at the end of last year but which the Congress has not yet renewed. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy has said that the House would not attend to the Senate bill before its two-week Easter recess, and their proposals would most likely come after they return.

Roll Call: GOP Considers Advancing Unemployment Extension with Jobs, Tax Provisions

McKeon Introduces Bill on Military Policy Towards Russia

As tensions with Russia continue over its seizure of Crimea, Representative Buck McKeon, the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, introduced a bill to forbid the U.S. military from participating in military exercises with the Russian military until the country relinquishes control over the Ukrainian territory. It would also allow America to provide more military aid to Ukraine. Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and Representative Mike Turner, an Armed Services Committee member, also support Chairman McKeon’s bill.

National Journal: House Republicans Push for Stronger Strategy on Russia

House Committees Continue Action on IRS Scandal

The House Ways and Means Committee is moving to ask that criminal charges be filed against former IRS official Lois Lerner for her involvement in the agency’s alleged targeting of conservative groups. Politico reports, “The committee will accuse Lerner of ‘improperly’ influencing the IRS to take action against conservative organizations, a charge Republicans will argue is a violation of the groups’ constitutional rights. The committee’s Republicans are also accusing Lerner of impeding the inspector general who uncovered the tea party targeting and exposing taxpayer information.” Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee are concerned that charges against Lerner could result in private taxpayer information being made public. In addition to the Ways and Means Committee, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee is mulling a contempt of Congress resolution for her refusal to testify before them. Lerner invoked the Fifth Amendment, but the Committee asserts that she waived her rights by making an opening statement.

Politico: House GOP Building Pressure on Lois Lerner

National Journal: Democrats Say Prosecuting Lois Lerner Could Violate Your Privacy

Representative Duffy Criticizes CFPB Meeting Secrecy

The House is ramping up Executive oversight on a number of fronts, not just on the IRS scandal. At a recent hearing, Representative Sean Duffy of Wisconsin has recently criticized the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for closing an advisory committee’s meetings to the public. The CFPB had declined his request to attend a meeting in February. In general, such meetings for Federal agencies must be public, but since the CFPB is under the Federal Reserve it is exempt from that requirement.

Washington Post: Republican Lawmaker Pushes “Sunshine” at U.S. CFPB

And for our latest post: Cracks in the Senatorial Saucer: Filling the Tree, Cloture, and Curtailing Senate Debate