Washington Weekly
May. 11, 2015

Last Week

The House was in recess. The Senate cleared legislation by a vote of 98-1 that would enable Congress to review any agreement made with Iran. Specifically, it would require the president to submit to Congress the text of the agreement and all related materials, (2) a verification assessment on Iranian compliance, and (3) a certification that the agreement meets U.S. non-proliferation objectives and does not jeopardize U.S. national security, including not allowing Iran to pursue nuclear-related military activities. It would also prohibit the president from suspending sanctions during the review period.More

This Week

The House and Senate move to national security. The Senate will take up the House-passed TPA or Trade Promotion Authority. The legislation is expected to take more than a week, and with the Senate leaving town after Thursday, it’s expected to only receive test votes on the legislation. The House will have a busy week focusing on the National Defense Authorization Act, which will include a debate on immigration issues. Specifically, whether individuals shielded from deportation under the president’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be allowed to enlist in the military. In addition, the House will take up legislation addressing abortion, to coincide with the anniversary of the Kermit Gosnell conviction. They are also expected to easily pass the Senate-passed Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.More

Item of Interest

The SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) has long explored the adoption of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). IFRS does not allow the use of LIFO or the last-in, first-out accounting method. While the SEC threat to continued use of LIFO has been steadily declining, the Administration and some in Congress have continued to use the possibility of SEC adoption of IFRS as a reason (or excuse) for repealing LIFO: since use of LIFO will be disallowed by the SEC, Congress should act first to repeal it legislatively in order to get a Joint Tax score and access to the revenue. We believe that a key development last week will hopefully put an end to that argument. As reported on May 7th in Accounting Today, SEC Chief Accountant James Schnurr will include in his recommendations to the Commission neither mandatory nor optional use of IFRS by US companies. This announcement confirms what we believed to be the case based on meetings with Mr. Schnurr and his deputies: continued use of LIFO by US companies is not threatened by possible action of the SEC. More

Trade bill fate in doubt as debate kicks off
Politico
A controversial trade bill is well shy of the votes needed to pass the House and faces a difficult vote in the Senate as the debate in Congress kicks off in earnest this week. Congressional sources say that fewer than 20 House Democrats currently back giving President Barack Obama increased powers to cut trade deals — a top priority of the White House and the business lobby. And with Senate Democrats vowing to stall consideration of Obama's request for fast-track trade authority possibly for weeks, Republicans in both chambers face a high hurdle to get the measure through Congress. More

Dems to GOP: We're ready to fix Obamacare, why aren't you?
The Hill
Democrats are chiding Republican leaders in Congress as standing in the way of improvements to Obamacare that enjoy bipartisan support. More than a half-dozen proposed changes to the law boast approval from at least some Democrats, including legislation to repeal a controversial cost-cutting board for Medicare, which gained its 218th cosponsor this week.More

Democrats push for trade sweeteners
CQ Roll Call
Senate leaders are determining what provisions to include in a trade bill that is supported by the White House and the Senate majority, but not many Senate Democrats. Two bills are expected to be included: TPA, known as fast track, which speeds up consideration of trade deals with Asia and Europe, and TAA, which gives income support and training to workers displaced by international trade. But Democrats on the fence are demanding sweeteners, and don't trust they'll be able to get them after they've signed onto the trade agenda.More

Patriot Act in uncharted legal territory as deadline approaches
National Journal
Can Congress overrule a court decision without changing a word in the law? That's the question that lawmakers are wrestling with after a federal appeals court ruled last week that a controversial National Security Agency surveillance program is illegal. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit didn't address the claims that the program violates constitutional privacy rights. But the judges did rule that the NSA's mass collection of millions of U.S. phone records oversteps the authority that Congress gave the agency under the Patriot Act.More