Washington Weekly
Mar. 16, 2015

Last Week

The House was in recess. The Senate spent the week debating legislation regarding human trafficking. The bill was expected to be a rare opportunity to pass on a bipartisan basis, but that has yet to occur. Both parties have dug in their heels on language regarding abortion rights. According to Minority Leader Harry Reid, Democrats won't support the motion because the legislation will not allow a fund for trafficking victims to cover abortion services except in rape or incest cases. If that language were to be stripped from the bill, he says, Democrats would support it.More

This Week

Both houses had been expected to move to take up the budget, but the dust-up in the Senate has prevented that. They will have a procedural vote on Tuesday, when 60 votes will be needed to advance. It is not certain that the 60 votes will be achieved, which also leaves the confirmation vote of the Attorney General hanging in the balance. It is likely that the nominee, Loretta Lynch will win confirmation, but by the narrowest of margins, with immigration issues still poisoning the well, giving her a vote of low confidence as she takes over at the Justice Department. The House is expected to take up the Senate-passed legislation disapproving the actions of the National Labor Relations Board, although it is unlikely they'd have to votes to sustain another veto override vote. In addition, they'll also vote on two measures that they originally took up before snow prevented votes on passage. One would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from basing regulations on scientific research not made available to the public The other would reform the process for selecting members of the EPA's Scientific Advisory Board.More

Item of Interest

With veto showdowns setting up for bruising debates to occur this spring, now is the time to come to Washington at ASA's annual Legislative Fly-in on April 14-15. We're pleased to have confirmed two more speakers for our day of lobbying. The second term Representative from Northern Indiana, Jackie Walorski, and Freshmen Representative from Kohler, Wisconsin, Glenn Grothman. We are excited to hear their views on today's Congress and will benefit from perspective. Don't delay, sign up today!More

Congress, K Street in Tax Reform 'Purgatory'
The Hill
Lawmakers and lobbyists are starting to feel burnt out by tax reform talks that have been stalled for years, and appear unlikely to bear fruit anytime soon. Serious tax reform discussions are now into their fifth year. With a presidential race already heating up, many say those talks will likely spill into at least year seven before the tax code can be overhauled.More

Democrats Prepared to Buck White House on Iran Nuclear Deal
Even as the White House ramps up pressure on Congress to stay out of its negotiations with Iran on a nuclear agreement, Republicans are on the brink of veto-proof majorities for legislation that could undercut any deal. And that support has held up even after the uproar last week over the GOP's letter to Iranian leaders warning against an agreement. More

Admininstration Behind in Sending Corrected Health Tax Information
Roll Call
Federal officials are behind schedule in sending out corrected health insurance tax subsidy information that people who obtained coverage through the health law marketplace need to file their taxes. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services officials recently declined to say how many of 800,000 incorrect tax forms they have fixed and sent to taxpayers. In February, CMS officials acknowledged that the health insurance tax credit subsidy information was wrong and pledged to mail out new forms by the first week of March. More

Taxes or Tolls? Five Fixes for Highway Funding
The Hill
Lawmakers are searching for a way to pay for a new transportation bill before federal funding for road and transit projects expires at the end of May. Members of both parties say they want to see transportation funding extended with little drama, but they have yet to reach a consensus about how to do that, creating the potential for a standoff as the deadline approaches. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing about the highway bill on Tuesday, where members will be able to debate the path forward.More