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Eric Cantor Announces GOP Summer Agenda

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo

In a memo to Members today, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor laid out the House GOP legislative agenda through the end of the summer, including a vote on the expiring Bush-era tax cuts in July.

The agenda includes other election-year Republican priorities, such as fully repealing President Barack Obama’s “unworkable” health care law and easing government regulations, the Virginia Republican wrote in the memo.

“The House will move forward this summer with a number of proposals aimed at addressing job creation and the economy, reducing spending, and shrinking the size of the federal government while protecting and expanding liberty,” Cantor wrote. “Above all, we must continue to focus on economic growth and small business — producing results that get Americans back to work.”

When the House returns from Memorial Day recess, Cantor wants to vote on the House version of a Food and Drug Administration user-fee reform bill to move into conference with the Senate and complete negotiations by July Fourth.

May 31 will see a vote on the military construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill and the national intelligence authorization, which could make for a very long legislative day.

The House will also vote in June to repeal a tax on medical devices used to fund Obama’s health care law and repeal a ban on the use of some health accounts to buy over-the-counter drugs.

A few appropriations bills will be taken up before Father’s Day — possibly the Energy and water development, Homeland Security and legislative branch appropriations bills, Cantor wrote.

June’s legislative agenda will include bills to hit Obama on energy issues. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and his House Energy Action Team have been touring the country this past week to highlight their interest in increased domestic energy production.

Chief among the proposals will be a series of bills to encourage energy production on federal lands.

“If America owns that land, why can’t they take some of the royalties from that?” McCarthy asked on a Wednesday conference call with reporters.

The balance of June will be used to take up more appropriations bills. Assuming the House passes the four bills Cantor hopes to tackle before Father’s Day, there will be seven left to pass. That means the odds of seeing a House vote on all remaining bills are slim.

“In order to consider as many bills and amendments as possible,” Cantor said, “Members should be judicious in the issues they choose to raise, and expeditious in their remarks during consideration.”

Unless the House and Senate can pass the remaining bills in July and September and conference them, a continuing resolution will be necessary to continue funding past the expiration date of Sept. 30, though Cantor did not mention it in his memo.

July, Cantor wrote, will be consumed by health care discussion, as the Supreme Court’s decision on the law’s constitutionality is expected to have been announced by then.

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