December 2012 Year-End Washington ReportDecember 28, 2012
As 2012 comes to an end, there are several issues commanding attention in Washington that will have a large impact on state and local law enforcement. We'd like to discuss three of them here: Sequestration (or "The Fiscal Cliff"); The White House summit on gun violence, and expected changes in the new, 2013-15 Congress.
- The term "fiscal cliff" is Washington shorthand for a series of automatic spending cuts and tax increases set to take effect in January. If enacted, they would amount to the largest spurt of deficit reduction in more than 40 years but could also push the country back into a recession. The cuts include about $100 billion in automatic cuts to defense and domestic government spending. The plan also includes about $400 billion in tax hikes, caused primarily by the expiration of a temporary payroll tax cut and other income tax breaks adopted during the George W. Bush administration. In addition, more than 26 million households will for the first time face the alternative minimum tax, which threatens to tack $3,700, on average, onto taxpayers' bills for the current tax year. Leaders from both parties say they are determined to head off the fiscal cliff. But some Democrats and policy analysts have suggested it might be better to actually go over the cliff. Once the tax hikes have kicked in, these "cliff divers" argue, Republicans would be hard-pressed to roll them all back and would have to accept a deal on taming the deficit that contains more new tax revenue than GOP lawmakers want.
- In exchange for raising the country's debt limit, President Obama and congressional leaders agreed to create a congressional supercommittee to establish a deficit reduction plan. But when the supercommittee failed to come to an agreement, the plan, which was codified in the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA), called for a package of automatic spending cuts. This package is known as sequestration. The cuts, which are projected to total $1.2 trillion, are scheduled to begin in 2013 and end in 2021, evenly divided over the nine-year period.
- Analysts have said that going over the fiscal cliff could derail the economy's fragile recovery. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts that a recession would be significant but brief, with unemployment peaking around 9 percent and economic growth recovering during the second half of 2013. The International Monetary Fund has estimated that the automatic spending cuts and tax increases would knock perhaps four percentage points of growth off of a U.S. economy that is already only experiencing slow growth.
- The alternative minimum tax is an obscure provision of the tax code that could become alarmingly relevant to millions of middle-class taxpayers. In simple terms, it's a flat tax with two brackets, 26 percent and 28 percent. Currently, the alternative minimum tax, or AMT, applies to about 5 million upper-middle-class families who have many children or other deductible expenses and live in high-cost states. But if the fiscal cliff is not averted, the AMT could affect an additional 26.4 million people in the 2012 tax year. It threatens to tack $3,700, on average, onto taxpayers' bills for the current tax year.
- After the debt-ceiling battle in the summer of 2011, Congress raised the national debt limit to $16.394 trillion. But the country is expected to need to borrow more money starting in February. Many in Congress would like to see an agreement to raise the debt ceiling included in a fiscal cliff deal. [Please note credit for the above article and information is due the Washington Post, November 4, 2012 and November 30 and December 1, 2012]
2. WHITE HOUSE SUMMIT ON GUN VIOLENCE
NAPO TOP LAW ENFORCEMENT GROUP IN NATION TO BE CONSULTED ON GUN VIOLENCE
NAPO President Tom Nee with Vice President Biden and Attorney General Holder
On Thursday, December 20, NAPO National President Tom Nee helped lead a panel of distinguished law enforcement professionals at a White House meeting convened by President Barack Obama and chaired by Vice President Joe Biden. Attorney General Eric Holder also helped lead the meeting. The immediate impetus for Thursday's meeting was the horrific school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut the week before. But even prior to this most recent incident, NAPO has been recognized as one of the nation's leaders in the comprehensive effort to make both officers' and citizens' lives safer. For example, when the administration first spoke about the terrible Aurora, Colorado theater shooting last July, it was Vice President Biden who chose the annual NAPO convention to address the issue. Prior to Thursday's meeting, NAPO Executive Director Bill Johnson held discussions with both Vice Presidential and White House staff regarding response to, and prevention of, these incidents. As President Nee emphasized at the White House meeting, NAPO urges four related and coordinated public policy responses:
- Keeping weapons out of the wrong hands.
- Changing the culture of violence so prevalent in American media, entertainment and society today.
- Providing much easier, and less stigmatizing, access to mental health care, and,
- Hardening potential targets of mass violence, including age-appropriate education for students and all citizens, young and old, on how to respond when the unthinkable happens.
NAPO urges all people of good will to come together to address these critical issues, for the sake of our communities, our nation, and especially our young people.
3. ELECTION RESULTS
- THE SENATE
- 53 Dems (+3, -1, net +2)
- 2 Ind (caucus with Dems)(no change)
- 45 Reps (+1, -3, net -2)
- Total is Dems 55-45 (was Dems 53-47, incl. inds)
- JUDICIARY Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) (remains the same) Ranking Member is Chuck Grassley of Iowa (R-IA). Both are expected to retain their positions.
- HOMELAND SECURITY Current Chairman is Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) who is retiring, and Ranking Member is Susan Collins (R-ME), who is stepping down. New Chairman will be Tom Carper (D-DE) and new Ranking Member will be Tom Coburn (R-OK)
- HELP (Health, Education, Labor, Pensions) Current Chairman is Tom Harkins (D-IA), who is expected to continue, and Ranking Member is Mike Enzi (R-WY),who is expected to be replaced by Lamar Alexander (R-TN).
- THE HOUSE
- 233 Reps., (+18, -24, net -6)
- 0 ind
- 202 Dems. (+29, -17, net +12)
- Total is Reps 233-202 (was Reps. 242-193)
- HOMELAND SECURITY: Rep. Peter King steps down, due to term limits set forth by the Republican Party, after six years, Congressman King will relinquish his chairmanship duties on the House Homeland Security Committee. He has provided vital support and momentum toward the passage of the 9/11 James Zadroga Health and Compensation Bill and supported important grant programs that funded counterterrorism operations to state and local governments. King is expected to take over as Chair of the Subcommittee on Counter-terrorism and Intelligence and will remain a member of the House Intelligence Committee. Michael McCaul (R-TX) has been selected to replace King as Chairman. It is also anticipated that Congressman Peter King is a contender to replace Homeland Security Janet Napolitano should she leave to fill Attorney General Eric Holder's position if he resigns. As for Ranking Member, Bennie Thompson (D-MS) is current and 113th Ranking Member.
- JUDICIARY Lamar Smith (R-TX) is chair presently, but will be replaced in the 113th Congress by Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). John Conyers (D-MI) is Ranking member, and expected to continue. On the Crime Subcommittee, Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) is currently chairman and Bobby Scott (D-VA) is currently Ranking Member.
- EDUCATION AND WORKFORCE: John Kline (R-MN) is current chairman, and George Miller (D-GA) is current Ranking Member, both are expected to continue
- POSSIBLE CHANGES IN THE ADMINISTRATION
- THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
- ERIC HOLDER TO RESIGN "IN ABOUT A YEAR"
- JANET NAPOLITANO TO REPLACE HOLDER?
- NAPOLITANO TO DOJ?
- REP. PETER KING TO DHS?
- THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
NOMINATE AN OFFICER FOR
THE TOP COPS® AWARDS!
THE 2013 TOP COPS® CEREMONY WILL TAKE PLACE ON SUNDAY MAY 12, 2013
AT THE OMNI SHOREHAM HOTEL
IN CONJUNCTION WITH NATIONAL POLICE WEEK
It is that time of the year again! We are trying to generate as many quality TOP COPS® nominations as possible. Please consider nominating a fellow officer. We would appreciate you sharing this form with colleagues and friends in law enforcement. Feel free to post the attached nomination form wherever you feel it appropriate. The nomination form is also available in PDF format on our website (www.napo.org) or click here. Help us ensure that all states and territories are represented at the 20th Annual TOP COPS Awards® Ceremony. The deadline for nominations is January 11, 2013.
Save the Dates!
Please Make Note of NAPO's 2013 Events
25th Annual Police, Fire, EMS & Municipal
Employee Pension & Benefits Seminar
Sunday, February 17 – Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Encore at Wynn Las Vegas – Las Vegas, Nevada
20th Annual TOP COPS Awards Dinner
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Omni Shoreham Hotel – Washington, District of Columbia
NAPO Lobbies on Capitol Hill
Monday, May 13 – Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Washington, District of Columbia
NAPO's 35th Annual Convention
Saturday, July 20 – Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Millennium Maxwell House Hotel – Nashville, Tennessee
Please visit www.napo.org for detailed event information and
Contact us at (800) 322-6276 or via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions
NAPO proudly introduces The 25th Annual Police, Fire, EMS, and Municipal Employee Pension & Benefits Seminar scheduled for February 17 -19, 2013 Las Vegas, Nevada at the Encore at Wynn Hotel. The goal of this event is to educate your members of pension and union representatives along with their providers on the latest issues surrounding the pension and benefits industry.
New this year, NAPO is teaming-up with Opal Financial Group to improve the Pension & Benefits Seminar. The seminar is spotlighting key issues you want to know about, including reducing healthcare costs in the midst of new regulations, revising your asset allocation strategy, responding to DB versus DC plan debate, the outlook nationally and internationally on a new presidential administration, realistic projections of earnings and assumption rates, preservation of assets, and much more.
For seminar and hotel registration please click here.
"For form, please see PDF version of this Washington Report"