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Topics: House of Representatives

Eric Cantor tells fellow Republicans July agenda will buck 'an overreaching and heavy-handed government'

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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., has outlined a July agenda aimed at countering “an overreaching and heavy-handed government.”

Cantor sent a memo to fellow Republican lawmakers on Friday that spelled out the chamber's priorities ahead of the August recess, including energy legislation, an education bill, an investigation into the fatal terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, and a probe into the Internal Revenue Service practice of targeting conservative groups.

“The notion that the American colonies would no longer abide under an overreaching and heavy-handed government sparked a revolution based on the notion that every person had certain unalienable rights – the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” Cantor wrote. “The House Republican agenda for the month of July is a reflection upon those rights encapsulated by the likes of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.”

The GOP agenda includes legislation intended to counter President Obama’s plan to limit emissions from coal-fired power plants.

The Energy Consumers Relief Act would require the Environmental Protection Agency to provide Congress with information spelling out how jobs and energy prices would be affected by any new rule costing more than $1 billion. Another bill, the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act, would allow the states, rather than the EPA, to regulate coal ash.

“The regulations offered by President Obama on coal-powered power plants are job killers and will add to the cost of energy,” Cantor said. “We cannot sit by and watch.”

Two issues that were expected to take up much of the House's time this month – immigration reform and the farm bill – are at the bottom of Cantor's priority list.

The House defeated major farm bill legislation last month and could take up a new measure that splits farm programs from food stamp provisions in the bill.

And while the Senate passed a massive comprehensive immigration reform bill in June, House panels have been considering much smaller, separate immigration reform measures that address border security and the creation of an immigrant agricultural worker program.

Cantor told members to “be prepared to act on a revised farm bill,” as well as “border security measures that have been passed by the Homeland Security and Judiciary committees.” He said the House would “begin reviewing” other immigration proposals, which could include a comprehensive bill expected from a bipartisan group lawmakers.

Cantor didn’t rule out having the House respond to the Obama administration’s move earlier this month to delay the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

Cantor said the House will also continue oversight hearings into Benghazi and the IRS as well as the potential impact of the new health care law, which many Republican want to repeal.

“We will work with members to develop an appropriate legislative and oversight response this month to make Washington accountable to its citizens once again,” Cantor said.

Cantor outlined other legislation for the July agenda including The Student Success Act, which would significantly reduce the federal oversight of public education standards, and the Kids First Research Act, which eliminates the Presidential Election Campaign Fund and uses the fund’s $130 million for pediatric research at the National Institutes of Health and other organizations focused on the health of children.

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