The Heritage Foundation is prioritizing the following policy issues this week:
- Promoting free-market energy policy: The Senate began consideration of a wide-ranging energy bill last week. The measure, S. 2012, is sponsored by Senate Energy and National Resources Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and touches on issues ranging from energy efficiency to the use of fossil fuels. More than 100 amendments have been filed, but both parties say the 60-vote threshold guarantees eventual final passage. Heritage’s Nick Loris explains why it’s a bipartisan handout to special interests.
- Explaining the flaws in Obama’s budget: President Obama unveiled a new initiative on Saturday called “Computer Science for All.” Set to be released on February 9, the New York Times says it will include a “call for spending $4 billion to help states pay for computer science education in the schools.” Heritage expert Romina Boccia will have a piece in The Daily Signal this Friday to prebut the president’s budget working in “Federal Budget in Pictures” content. This all coming on the heels of a recent CBO report saying three decades from now, if current laws remain in place, the debt would reach 155 percent of GDP. Investor’s Business Daily highlights this potential problem saying, “deficits topping $1 trillion will be back before you know it — three years sooner than expected.”
- Strengthening Iran sanctions: The House is expected to vote on legislation which would prevent the U.S. from lifting sanctions on individuals involved with Iran’s ballistic missile program. The bill, introduced by Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) in October, was approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee by voice vote. Heritage expert Jim Phillips says Congress should expand sanctions, focusing on Iran’s nuclear program; support of terrorism; ballistic missile program; interventions in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen and human rights violations.
- Repealing Obamacare: The House is expected to vote this week to attempt to override President Obama’s veto of legislation that would repeal the Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood. The override vote is not expected to succeed. Earlier last week, the CBO lowered its estimate of how many people are expected to buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The CBO expects 13 million people will purchase insurance through the Affordable Care Act this year — 8 million fewer that estimated early last year. While people want insurance, NPR’s health correspondent Alison Kodjak said ahead of the deadline that many have been “goosed into buying insurance because of the penalties.” And, “people are really complaining that some of these plans are too expensive, they have high deductibles, they have high co-pays.” Additionally, millionaires are qualifying for Obamacare subsidies meant to assist low-income Americans who are unable to afford health care, thanks to a flaw in the law. A financial advisor told CNBC she has advised at least five of her millionaire clients to enroll in health care plans under the Affordable Care Act because their taxable incomes make them eligible for government subsidies.
What do you think of these issues?