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Vol 106 / Issue 33 - 34

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WASHINGTON – In June, some House Re- publicans brimmed with confdence at the unity expressed in members' strong backing of two new House GOP leaders: Kevin McCarthy of California, who was elected to the No. 2 slot as majority lead- er, and Steve Scalise of Louisiana for the third spot, as majority whip. "In both cases, it's a strong consen- sus for our conference," said Rep. Steve King of Iowa, smiling. But this ebullience will be quickly challenged, if not by ideological and tac - tical differences between the men – Mr. Scalise is a red-state Southerner close to the right wing of the House GOP and Mr. McCarthy is a blue-state Westerner seen as more moderate – then by issues on the near horizon. Given the nearing midterm elections, the time for doing big things, such as passing immi- gration reform or overhauling the tax code, is rapidly winding down. Here are three issues to watch for: Filling potholes. The federal fund that helps states pay for highway maintenance and im- provement lacks enough funds to meet expected road construc- tion bills from states. The US Department of Transportation says that hundreds of projects and thousands of jobs are at risk, not to mention the good humor of America's driving vacationers. The House GOP leadership had a plan to patch this shortfall: Pay for it by stopping Saturday delivery by the US Postal Service. But support for that option fell apart earlier in June. Right-wing conservatives see the de- bate over short- and long-term highway funding as an opportunity to pitch their idea: drastically reduce the federal gas tax and kick most highway funding back to states to manage. The budget – again. Yes, there was a bipartisan budget deal in December. But the money still needs to be appropriated among the various government agencies and approved by Congress. That process is susceptible to partisan foor-fghts over amendments in the Senate, and the appropriations bills may not pass in time for the start of the next fscal year, which begins Oct. 1. Tea party conservatives in both chambers have, in the past, used these deadlines as leverage to drive hard bar- gains or shut down the government. The Export-Import Bank. A Sept. 30 deadline looms to renew the charter for this bank, which helps foreign buyers who want to purchase US goods by pro - viding loan guarantees and credit insur- ance. Conservative House Republicans, including Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas, want to let the charter expire. They call it corporate welfare – government interference in the free market on behalf of big business. There's "a growing bloc of votes in the Republican conference to move away from crony capitalism and toward fscal responsibility," says Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, a tea party group. The clash here may not be between House leaders, but between them and America's traditional business groups – the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the National Small Business Asso- ciation. They see the bank as indispens- able to America's exporters. – Francine Kiefer / Staff writer DCDECODER The three biggest battles facing the GOP (hint: not immigration) Party may reopen old fissures in tussles over dull-sounding items such as potholes, the budget, and the Ex-Im Bank J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/AP MAJORITY WHIP: Rep. Steve Scalise (R) of Louisiana represents a further turn to the right in House leader- ship, observers say. u u u AT THE MONITOR BREAKFAST Texas Governor Rick Perry KATELAND OAKES/THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR ONLINE: Watch a video of this luncheon at http://bit.ly/RPerryVideo and read a full report at http://bit.ly/PerryLunch. He has been governor of the nation's second most populous state since December 2000. In 2012, he briefy ran for the Republican presiden- tial nomination. He was the guest at a June 19 Monitor luncheon for reporters. On the surge of unaccompanied children from Central America entering the US: "This unaccompanied alien children issue ... has the potential to be an absolute catastrophe, a humanitarian catastrophe.... I consider it to be a failure of diplomacy by the United States." On prospects for immigration reform: "Immigration reform is down the list of things you have to do.... The American people do not trust the federal government until they secure the border ... with boots on the ground, with strategic fencing in the metropolitan areas, with technology." On his 2012 run for the White House: "I am glad I ran in 2012 – as frustrating, as painful, and as humbling as that experience was.... Preparation is the single most important lesson that I learned." Why he is considering another run: "Whether I decide to make a run for the pres- idency or not, I hope to stay engaged ... being a person of infuence in some form or fashion." On the recent Environmental Protection Agen- cy proposal to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants: "It will cause huge economic impact on this country ... based on ... science that is not settled yet on the issue of CO 2 .... Calling CO 2 a pollutant is doing a disservice to the country." On his statement to a San Francisco audience suggesting homosexuality was like alcoholism: "I readily admit, I stepped right in it...." – David Cook / Staff writer 14 THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR WEEKLY | JULY 7 & 14, 2014

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