Updated: 3:07 p.m.The legislative agenda that House Republicans plan to unveil Thursday will include a permanent extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, according to GOP aides familiar with the document. At the core of the new agenda will be the recognition that to help our economy get back to creating jobs, the job-killing economic uncertainty afflicting small businesses must be eliminated, the stimulus spending spree in Washington must end, and Congress itself must be reformed, one Republican source said in an e-mail. To help our economy create jobs, we have to stop all of the coming tax hikes, cut spending, and begin a drive for smaller, less costly government and to do this, we need to change Congress itself.The Republican agenda, part of the months-long America Speaking Out program, is expected to be organized around five planks: jobs, spending, health care, national security and Congressional reform. Republicans have long supported the idea of making the tax cuts permanent, although Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) earlier this month proposed a two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 in hopes of attracting immediate bipartisan support.It also matches the proposal introduced last week by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who proposed a bill permanently extending the Bush-era tax cuts at a cost of nearly $4 trillion over the coming decade. Democrats have accused Republicans of blocking tax cuts for the middle class, favored by the White House and Congressional Democrats, in order to preserve tax breaks for the wealthy. Republicans have said small businesses would suffer if the tax cuts for those who make more than $250,000 are allowed to expire on Jan. 1. House Republican leaders Wednesday afternoon circulated on K Street talking points about the document but included few specifics about the text of the agenda.The talking points, obtained by Roll Call, reiterated that the governing agenda was designed to be implemented immediately rather than for use in the next Congress.This will not be an election agenda, but rather a governing agenda that could be implemented right now if Speaker Pelosi, Harry Reid and President Obama would allow it, the talking points say. Republicans will call on Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid to implement them all before this Congress adjourns.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.