Washington Weekly
Jan. 12, 2015

Last Week

Members of the House and Senate were sworn in for two and six more years of service respectively and immediately got down to the business of governing. The Senate held a legislative hearing on legislation approving the Keystone XL Pipeline; the legislation passed out of committee and is headed to the Senate floor in the coming days for full debate. The House easily passed similar legislation, as well as ASA-supported legislation repealing a provision in the Affordable Care Act that defined a full time employee as one who works 30 hours, rather than the traditional 40 hours.More

This Week

The Senate will begin the week with a procedural vote on whether to proceed to amendments on Keystone XL; 60 votes is required, but is expected to be met with at least six Democrats crossing party lines to support the project. The House will take up a series of bills aimed to weaken the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reforms legislation, such as a two-year delay to the so-called Volker Rule, which prohibits banks that make loans and take deposits from making risky bets by engaging in speculative activity. In addition, the House leadership has also signaled that it will take up the 2015 funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security, which was not granted a full year of authorization unlike the other federal agencies that are funded through fiscal year 2015. It is in this bill that immigration policy is funded and it is expected to be debated thoroughly in the House this week or next. The legislative workweek is scheduled to conclude on Wednesday because the House and Senate Republicans will be taking part in their joint retreat to discuss their 2015 agenda.More

Item of Interest

We are gearing up for our 2015 Fly-in and are excited to announce that Fox News contributor, columnist for the Weekly Standard and biographer of former Vice President Dick Cheney, Stephen Hayes will be our featured guest for our evening program, sponsored by Bradford White. Be on the lookout for full registration information in your mailbox for ASA's 2015 Legislative Fly-in, April 14 – 15.More

Keystone Debate Will Test New Senate GOP Majority
National Journal
The debate over authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline will officially begin Jan. 12 with the chamber's first vote in this Congress to proceed on major legislation. The motion will need 60 votes, but that will be easily accomplished: Six Democrats cosponsor the bill and three others have supported it in the past.More

Veto Battles Set to Begin
The Hill
This could be the year of the veto for President Barack Obama. The White House and congressional Republicans are already in a pitched battle, less than a week into the 114th Congress. Republicans are itching for a fight, eager to exploit their new control of the Senate to chip away at some of the president's signature policy initiatives.More

House Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Ban Internet Taxes Forever
National Journal
A bipartisan group of House lawmakers are reviving legislation that would permanently extend a ban on taxing Internet access, signaling that efforts to pass a separate bill to widen online sales taxes may continue to face resistance in the lower chamber. The quick reintroduction of the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act likely serves as stagework for a bigger fight in Congress over whether to expand the sales tax on purchases made at online retailers like Amazon and eBay.More

Will Improving Economy Help Obama's Case on Keystone?
Roll Call
Events matter in politics and, for a change, they potentially seem to offer a bit of aid and comfort to President Barack Obama in his upcoming battle with the Republican-controlled Congress. After an impressive across-the-board victory that included a new Senate majority, gains to the party's House majority and wins at the state legislative level, Republicans are poised to confront the White House over the Keystone XL pipeline.More

Why Congress is Broken
Former Republican U.S. representative Mike Rogers writes: "Every day for 14 years I walked into the U.S. Capitol with reverence for my lineage as a member of Congress. Madison, Adams and Lincoln all served here. The challenges that faced politically diverse populations with seemingly insurmountable hurdles were daunting." More