Washington Weekly
Jun. 8, 2015

Last week

The Senate wrapped up debate and passed legislation on reforming surveillance and intelligence gathering performed by the National Security Agency. In addition, the Senate moved to begin taking up the National Defense Authorization Act. The House passed federal appropriations for Commerce, Justice and Science. In addition, the House began debating amendments to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations act.

Also last week, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on state tax issues dealing with the mobile workforce, digital goods and services, and business activity taxes. However, the panel spent considerable time debating an issue outside of the scope of last week’s hearing: the ability of states to collect taxes on remote sales, along the lines of the Marketplace Fairness Act. To read a good recap of the hearing by Ernst and Young's Washington office, click here. More

This week

The House will continue with appropriations, finishing up Transportation and Housing, as well as taking up Defense Appropriations. The Senate will continue debating the National Defense Authorization Act.

As a reminder, we are still collecting signatures of interested companies that support the soon-to-be introduced Remote Transaction Parity Act. If you'd like to join more than two dozen members and regional associations in support of this letter, click here. NEW DEADLINE: June 12 More

Item of interest

The Environmental Protection Agency released a draft report concluding that hydraulic fracturing or fracking they found that hydraulic fracturing has no major impact on drinking water, dealing a big win to the gas industry. Although the EPA found some instances where the controversial extraction technique had an impact on drinking water, the practice has "not led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources," the report found. To read the full report, click here.More

Trade supporters bullish as vote nears
The Hill
House GOP leaders are expressing a bold new confidence heading into the final stretch of the divisive fight over granting President Barack Obama broad trade powers. The vote, expected as soon as this week, is likely to be a nail-biter — scores of lawmakers in both parties remain publicly undecided, making the count on both sides difficult to pin down. But both the White House and GOP leaders say their whipping efforts are paying dividends, with new supporters signing on by the day. More

Democrats push McConnell on Export-Import, highway bill extensions
Roll Call
Emboldened by their victory in the debate over surveillance powers, Senate Democrats are hoping to push Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on other high-profile items facing a time crunch, starting with a bipartisan reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, which the Kentucky Republican opposes but the GOP's business wing supports. The bank charter expires at the end of this month.More

EPA: Fracking not causing major harm to drinking water
The Hill
Hydraulic fracturing has not caused any major harm to drinking water supplies, the Environmental Protection Agency concluded. In what the EPA is calling the most comprehensive examination of existing data and science on the impact the controversial oil and natural gas drilling technique has on drinking water, it largely debunked concerns about extensive contamination of well water or other sources.More

Ex-Im Bank expiration 'inevitable' amid 2016 GOP fight
The Export-Import Bank is almost certain to close its doors for the first time in history this summer, dragged down by presidential politics and a bitterly divided GOP — raising the question of whether the nation's chief export credit agency will ever be revived. Supporters are beginning to throw up their hands and admit that the agency is very likely to lose its charter after June 30, the first time since President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the agency in 1934 that it won't be available to support U.S. exporters. More