Busy Weeks Ahead for Congress
last three weeks in July could be the busiest of the 111th Congress.
Many issues are left outstanding, particularly in the Senate, and several
others are crowding the legislative calendar.
the news cycles has been the Senate’s failure to extend federal unemployment
insurance. It is likely that the Senate will again take up this vote when members return from the week-long July 4th recess on July 12. The outcome,
however, is very unclear. The extension failed to pass late last month because of
the $33.3 billion price tag. Budget concerns also stopped the annual tax
extenders package, which contained provisions supported by AGC, from moving
waiting on Senators' desks will be the confirmation vote for President
Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan. While her confirmation is
expected, the debate and vote will use precious floor time. In addition, the
Senate must also take up the final post-conference version of the Financial
Regulatory reform legislation that passed the House late last month, and
may resume consideration of a small business jobs bill.
passed by the House last month and waiting for potential Senate pickup is the
AGC-opposed DISCLOSE Act, which stifles the right of trade associations and
corporations to speak out on behalf of the political candidates they support.
Read more about that bill here.
Democrats particularly are looking to get this bill passed to help their
prospects in the midterm elections this November, where they are forecasted to
receive substantial losses in both chambers.
outstanding issues include authorizations for the Surface Transportation Program and the
water and wastewater state revolving loan fund (SRF) programs. The SRF program
has been stalled in the Senate over disagreement about the bill’s application
of Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements. While the transportation program
has been granted a short-term extension until the end of the year, the Senate
has yet to unveil its version of a longer-term bill, which would then have to
go through markup and approval by multiple committees before seeing floor time.
The future of the majority of federal-aid work that AGC members perform is
locked up in these two bills.
left outstanding in the House and Senate is the next Department of Defense
Authorization bill, which has several important possible changes to federal
contracting as well as billions in military construction work. A
permanent fix to the estate tax seemed to have momentum behind it earlier in
the year, particularly because the rate fell from 45 percent in 2009 to zero
percent for this year and is scheduled to jump up to 55 percent next year, but
the outlook is murky at best. Other big issues include administration
priorities like climate change and immigration reform, and, potentially,
contracting reform. Also looming is possible legislation dealing with the BP oil spill
from the Deepwater Horizon site, as well as Congressional repeal of the
military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. For more information, contact Scott Berry at (703)
547-5368 or email@example.com.
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