Washington Weekly
Jul. 13, 2015

Last Week

The House and Senate both worked on an update to the education policy law formerly known as No Child Left Behind. This was the second time the House considered the Student Success Act on the chamber’s floor this year. On both occasions, House leaders struggled to find a way ahead for the bill within their party without it losing too many votes from the left and the right. The House bill would streamline federal education programs and includes language that would allow Title I dollars to follow students to public schools of their choice — a deal-breaker for Democrats. The House also passed the 21st Century Cures Act, which should accelerate the pace at which cures and treatments are discovered, developed, and delivered. The Senate also debated amendments to education reform legislation of their own, which they are expected to wrap up this week.More

This Week

The Senate will finish its update to the No Child Left Behind act, paving the way for a rare conference committee, where the House and Senate appoint negotiators to finalize differing legislation that's passed each out. The House had been expected to continue its work on FY 2016 federal appropriations, but ran into a logjam over the growing controversy of the Confederate flag. This week, they will take up legislation addressing California’s water crisis, by increasing the amount of water available to Californians by making changes to how the federal government releases water through the Central Valley Project.More

Item of Interest

Last week, ASA's Chairman John Strong (Economy Plumbing Supply) was the featured blogger in 21st Century Retail's official e-fairness blog. In his post, Strong points out where much of the funding comes from for the Independence Day activities that nearly every community in America participated in. As he stated, "sales tax revenue also supports community organizations and charities, helps to maintain roads- keeping our cities and towns vibrant, and helps us fund community events, like the yearly Fourth of July festivities. In order for our communities to continue to thrive and flourish, local small business owners need a fair and level playing field to compete, which in turn, supports our first responders and community organizations." To read more, click here. And don't forget to share on your social media resources and share with your organization and customers!More

Funding Battle Could be Punted
Politico
A growing number of top lawmakers in both chambers are predicting they'll have to pass a stopgap spending bill this fall as partisan warfare over spending levels — and the Confederate flag — have plunged the appropriations process into gridlock. This was supposed to be the year of regular order — the year the new, GOP-controlled Congress would return Capitol Hill to the days when lawmakers actually scrutinized each spending bill, ensuring Uncle Sam was funding top priorities and minimizing government waste. More

Highway Bill Still Stalled as Deadline Nears
National Journal
Senate Republicans have just under three weeks left to conjure something out of nothing. That's the magic trick the majority is tasked with this week as it tees up a highway bill for floor votes with the current Highway Trust Fund authorization due to expire at the end of July. And so far, they are resisting pressure from Democrats and House Republicans to use international tax changes to pay for the measure.More

Without Gas in the Tank, Senate Stays Course on Highways
Roll Call
Senate Republicans are confident they'll take up a highway extension this week — though the bill's duration and pay-for are still up in the air. Senators from both parties are mulling suggestions that range from a kick-the-can plan to fund the highway account through the 2016 elections to a more ambitious proposal that would include a short-term patch linked to a major tax overhaul designed to fund a full six-year extension.More

Week Ahead: House to Examine Pipeline Safety
The Hill
Lawmakers plan to take a comprehensive look at how federal pipeline safety regulators are implementing a 2011 overhaul of safety rules. The House Energy and Commerce Committee complains that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has yet to implement many of the major reforms in the law. The hearing comes two months after a major pipeline breach that spilled thousands of gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean and onto beaches in Santa Barbara County, California.More