1.) Dems don Sisyphus’s loincloth, put shoulder to boulder — Pres. Obama said he didn’t want to spend any more time fighting a battle he’d already won in his Super Bowl pre-game interview with Bill O’Reilly. After all, it took two long years for Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Harry Reid to lazer-etch Obamacare in stone (with their eyes), and more judges than not have since said suits against the law aren’t worth adjudicating. But what if the Supreme Court feels otherwise? John Brummett of the Las Vegas Review-Journal suggests that if SCOTUS overturns even the individual mandate, Democrats will have essentially created a 4-year vacuum in which they accomplished nothing significant besides getting rid of their pesky House majority. Ergo, the question Dems are losing sleep over, while Justice Anthony Kennedy shoots rock-paper-scissors with a cocker spaniel, is this: “If the loss of the individual mandate does not gut reform, meaning the reforms can work without it, then why in the wide world did Democrats string themselves out on the point, getting themselves drubbed in the next election, called socialists or worse and sued by 26 states?”
2.) Blue Dogs off the leash — “Blue Dog Democrats might support a plan from House Republicans to cut $32 billion in discretionary spending this year,” reports The Hill. “The Blue Dog openness to the GOP comes amid strained relations with Pelosi. On Monday, Blue Dog leader Rep. Heath Shuler (N.C.), who challenged Pelosi for the job of Democratic leader in the 112th Congress, said the coalition has been shut out by the leader’s office.” During an appearance on MSNBC, Schuler said, “There has really been no communication whatsoever. We still do not have any connection between the Blue Dogs and leadership.” Back home, this is what we call a “blessing in disguise.”
3.) Obama on simplifying corporate tax code: ‘j/k lmfao’ — A provision in Obama’s forever forthcoming budget proposal “would aim to restock strained state unemployment-insurance trust funds by raising the amount of wages on which companies must pay unemployment taxes to $15,000, more than double the $7,000 in place since 1983,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “By proposing to enlarge the pool of wages subject to unemployment taxes, the White House appears to be offering states a more politically palatable way to raise revenues than to boost tax rates. States could keep the tax rates they have, or even lower them somewhat, and still raise considerably more revenue than they are raising now.” In order to spare businesses that couldn’t get their acts together during Recovery Summer the pain of higher taxes, the new rule wouldn’t take effect until 2014, long after Obama has returned to Hyde Park.
4.) NLRB about to get union-busted — “The House subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions will conduct a hearing on Friday on ’emerging trends’ at the National Labor Relations Board,” reports The Daily Caller’s Matthew Boyle, “and will likely feature a broad discussion of the NLRB’s alleged power grabs.” Among the things the NLRB plans to grab: “Shrinking the time period in which workers can educate themselves before voting in a union election,” “cyber card check,” and “pushing to allow unions more freedom to organize small sectors of workplaces.” While the NLRB hasn’t actually done any of these things yet, Katie Gage of the Workforce Fairness Institute would like to keep it this way. “They’ve been a fairly neutered agency for a long, long period of time,” she said. “The thing that has us worried is what they’ve hinted at what they’re going to do.”
5.) House Republicans consider spending money to create committee to cut spending — You’ve heard of the Appropriations Committee, yes? Get ready for the Disappropriations Committee. “The idea is a throwback to the now-defunct ‘Joint Committee on Reduction of Non-essential Federal Expenditures’ started by former Virginia Sen. Harry Byrd in 1941,” writes TheDC’s Chris Moody. “The bi-cameral committee slashed an (inflation-adjusted) $38 billion from the federal budget in its first four years. The committee cut and eliminated programs enacted under President Franklin Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal,’ but was dismantled in 1974.” Rep. Jeff Duncan spearheaded the idea. He has the backing of Grover Norquist, Grover Norquist, Grover Norquist, and lastly: Grover Norquist. “We need a committee that all they do all day is think about how not to spend money,” Norquist told TheDC. “Once it gets more co-sponsors, this will snowball.” GOP leadership has not expressed support for the bill.
6.) How much would it cost to regulate noise? Businesses don’t want to pay to find out — Rep. Darrell Issa recently asked businesses and industry groups to tell him what they hate. TheDC’s Jonathan Strong rounds up the five worst. From an OSHA regulation “proposed in October that would have put strict new regulations on the volume of noise experienced by workers on the job” to the EPA requiring “extensive training for workers before they complete renovation projects on any buildings built before 1978,” these regulations, say business leaders, are too expensive.