President Obama will propose moving $2 billion in oil and gas revenue over the next decade to pay for research on clean energy alternatives to petroleum for cars and trucks. The president is headed to Chicago today to the Argonne National Laboratory, a state-of-the-art research facility, to promote his plan.
Lawmakers from both parties have supported his idea, though it’s likely to be strongly opposed by House Republicans, who may see it as a tax on the energy industry. The plan is one of a handful of clean energy proposals the president is expected to roll out in the next months, including support for wind, solar and geothermal energy; loan guarantees for new nuclear plants; and increased oil and gas development. - Read more at The New York Times
OBAMACARE’S COST TO EMPLOYERS $25B Under President Obama’s signature health care law, employers will be required to pay a $63 fee to insurance companies next year for each person they insure. All told, companies will pay an estimated $25 billion to insurance companies over the next three years. To absorb these costs, some employers are already saying they’ll have to pass the costs along to employees. - Read more at The Wall Street Journal
LEW HOPEFUL ABOUT BUDGET DEAL Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said he thinks the president and Republicans could still strike a grand bargain, despite a growing consensus among lawmakers that a budget deal is out of reach. “I actually have found it heartening that as more and more senators and congressmen look at the details … on many of the things there’s room for us to maybe agree,” he said in an interview with Peter Cook on Bloomberg Television Thursday. While both sides see the “contours” of an agreement, “we just can’t quite figure out a way to get there.” - Read more at Bloomberg
HIGH COURT SAYS “SEQUESTER PUTS AMERICAN PUBLIC AT RISK The $85 billion in federal spending cuts are going to further hinder the already underfunded justice system and put the public at risk, Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer warned during the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Thursday. The justices said the 5 percent reduction in the federal judiciary’s budget ($350 million) will likely cause delayed trials, less supervision for criminals, furloughed court employees and the possibility for more people to be convicted of crimes they did not commit. - Read more at The Wall Street Journal
IS BUDGET PROCESS REVAMP NEEDED? Lawmakers in both chambers say the annual budget process should instead be on a two year-cycle to provide more stability and financial certainty for federal agencies. The idea is to give lawmakers more time to focus on passing legislation, instead of spending the majority of the session crafting (and fighting over) a budget. Under this plan, Congress would pass a two-year budget during its first session, then spend the second session focusing on oversight of government programs and authorizing legislation. - Read more at GovExec
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