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After weeks of internal debate and disagreement, the House managed to pass legislation reforming flood insurance programs. The legislation would block dramatic increases in premiums paid by some property owners covered under the federal flood insurance program. A number of conservatives supported the existing rise in premiums, alleviating taxpayers from taking on more debt. In addition, the House passed legislation, with ASA's support, that would streamline the permitting process for building and development. The Senate debated a number of executive branch nominees, and all except the controversial nominee to head the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Justice were approved. In addition, they debated, but failed to find agreement, on the issue of prosecuting sexual assault in the military.
The House is scheduled to take up a number of bills to address what they claim has been overreach by the Obama administration. One bill would require federal officials to report when the administration fails to enforce a law and another would establish procedures for the House and Senate to authorize a lawsuit to sue the administration for failure to execute laws. The Senate is continuing to look for a path forward to extend unemployment insurance, with Republicans busy crafting their own plan. The Senate is also expected to pass a nearly $13 billion child care and development block grant bill that has broad bipartisan support.
Item of Interest
Last week the President introduced his budget blueprint for FY 2015. Although many consider it more of a political document because it requires passage through today's divided Congress, it is noteworthy for its focus on regulatory enforcement. According to reports, the budget request sheds new light on the White House's plans for rule-making initiatives amid pressure from Obama to complete planned regulations before the clock runs out on his administration. Atop the priority list is the president's campaign against climate change. Obama's budget would add both funding and personnel to the Environmental Protection Agency's effort to counter the effects of global warming through new regulations. Learn more here.
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E-Fairness Solutions Make Online Sales Tax Collection Quick and Easy
R. David L. Campbell, CEO and co-founder of FedTax, writes, "If you're like me, you did a fair amount of your holiday shopping last year online. Online retailers are a tech-savvy bunch. They seem to know what we want, when we want it — and how to get it to us as quickly as possible. But a few of the same companies that have figured out how to micro-target our shopping habits and ship us products of all shapes and sizes from around the country are now claiming that collecting sales tax is too hard."
Senate Hearing Puts Keystone Pipeline in Spotlight
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez is finally making good on his long-standing pledge to hold a hearing on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The committee will hear Thursday from pipeline opponents and boosters at a hearing on the project and the State Department's ongoing review to determine whether approving it would be in the "national interest." It arrives more than a year after Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat who opposes the pipeline, first said he planned to put the project under the committee's microscope at some point.
Climate Change All-Night Session Set for Monday
Senate Democrats are about to burn the midnight oil to make their case on climate change. The previously rumored all-night session on the effects of climate change will take place Monday, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse confirmed.
Camp to Obama: Let's Talk
The House's top tax writer is pointing to areas where he thinks he can work with President Obama, just days after releasing a comprehensive plan for overhauling the code. "My takeaway is, there are some common issues that we can address," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., told reporters Thursday after a hearing with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.
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