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With the year nearing its end and more than 500 officeholders racing to leave town once and for all, Congress managed to get its work done for 2014. As usual, the House was able to ram through its spending package and retreated back to its districts, leaving the Senate to act. After a weekend of work and threats to shut down the government, the Senate ultimately passed the end-of-year funding package, known as "Cromnibus," by a vote of 56-40. This is the traditional catch-all, multiagency federal appropriation that Congress combines into one almost every year. (The name comes the name comes from a contraction of CR standing for "continuing resolution" and "omnibus.")
The Senate took 28 votes on Saturday, December 13. A number were for executive branch confirmations, but most were for amendments to alter the House-passed spending package. Many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were displeased with the ultimate outcome. On the left, Democrats were left fuming over rollbacks to derivatives trading restrictions that were a part of the so-called Dodd-Frank financial reform law. Specifically, it would repeal section 716 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that prohibits federal assistance to financial institutions that engage in certain derivatives activities. On the right, many Republicans were not happy that the legislation did little to curb the President’s recent executive order on immigration and continues to fund the Affordable Care Act. To see what’s in the bill, click here.
The Senate is working today — and as long as needed — to continue clearing off as many executive branch nominees as possible before the majorities change hands in three weeks. In addition, the Senate is expected to pass the popular tax extenders legislation. Also on the end of year agenda is passing the controversial extension of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which supporters say protects taxpayers while repairing a technical glitch that occurred as a result of the aforementioned Dodd-Frank legislation. It is said to include reforms that double the amount of losses from a terrorist attack that would result in a government backstop and it ensures — for the first time in the program's history — that the taxpayers are compensated for the government’s use of their tax dollars.
The House is in recess until January 6.
Item of Interest
With a number of legislative fights left unresolved, ASA's Washington office has been meeting with allied groups in the business community and staff of the incoming House and Senate majority to share with them our priorities. We also want to know what's on your mind; look for 2015 priorities survey in the coming days to ensure that we are advocating for you and your business' needs.
Director of Government Affairs
American Supply Association
1776 Eye Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
(703) 328-5234 · firstname.lastname@example.org ·
ASA Legislative Fly-in | April 14-15
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The President, the Panic and the Cromnibus
At about 12:30 p.m. on December 11, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer came bounding off the floor with news he had been waiting for all week: President Barack Obama, a minor player thus far in the government funding debate, would finally weigh in against House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and say he supports the so-called cromnibus spending bill.
Labor Board Gives Unions New Leverage to Organize Workers
The National Labor Relations Board is moving to grant unions sweeping new powers to organize workers over fierce objections from business leaders, who complain that actions announced recently amount to early Christmas gift for big labor.
The NLRB published regulations allowing for at speedier union elections, two years after a nearly identical rule was struck down in federal court.
Saturday Session a Preview of What's to Come
At the end of a rare Saturday session, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, was direct when asked if Democrats, led by outgoing Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had gotten the better of Republicans.
"I think most Republicans think that Christmas came early for Democrats," Graham said "I haven't seen Harry smile this much in years, and I didn't particularly like it."
Keystone Builder Tells Landowners it is Still Committed to Pipeline
The company developing the Keystone XL oil pipeline told Nebraska residents in its path that it is still confident the pipeline is necessary.
Corey Goulet, who is overseeing the pipeline's development for TransCanada Corp., said that despite various possible threats to Keystone and historically low gas prices, it is needed now more than ever.
If the Supreme Court Breaks Obamacare, Will Republicans Fix It?
Republicans want the Supreme Court to blow a major hole in Obamacare next year, but they are still debating whether they would help repair it — and what they should ask for in return.
There's a very real chance the high court will invalidate Obamacare's insurance subsidies in most of the country, which would be devastating for the health care law. It would become almost entirely unworkable in most states, and the cost of coverage would skyrocket.
Dan Hilton, Director of Government Affairs, 703.328.5234
Bianca Gibson, Executive Editor, MultiView, 469.420.2611
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