Washington Weekly
Dec. 1, 2014

Last Week

The House and Senate were in recess.More

This Week

The House and Senate return to complete a number of unfinished items, many of which are of concern to ASA and the business community. Must-pass items include funding the federal government for 2015 (FY2015 Continuing Resolution (CR), H.J. Res 124, funds the federal government until December 11, 2014), completing the National Defense Authorization Act, extending nearly 50 expired tax provisions, and extending a ban on taxation of the Internet, which also expires on December 11.

Judging by the tone of Washington these days following the President’s recent immigration announcement, there is a contentious push to pass at least some of the 12 spending bills through a separate, shorter continuing resolution lasting only until mid-February—dubbed a "CRomnibus" strategy. The idea is to provide the new Congress with a chance to limit President Obama's immigration plans. Various committees are set to meet this week and next over Congress’ ability to scale back the executive action.

Also unknown is the fate of dozens of expired or soon-to-expire tax breaks. Last week the White House issued a strong, rare veto threat on a roughly $450 billion, 10-year plan that Majority Leader Harry Reid’s staff was devising with House Republicans. The Administration and other congressional Democrats say the plan is too skewed toward making permanent corporate and other business provisions, without similarly addressing tax credits for the middle class and working families.


Item of Interest

Last week we learned that e-fairness champion, Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), incoming Chairman of the House Committee on Government Affairs, is set to introduce his long-awaited draft version of the Marketplace Fairness Act, known as the "Remote Transactions Parity Act." He has asked for groups such as ASA that are supportive to review the text and provide letters of endorsement, which we intend to do today. We also know that nearly a dozen of our allies in Congress intend to meet with the Speaker today or tomorrow to urge him to get this done this year. We expect this week to bring significant pushback from the likes of eBay and now Allibaba to rally their stakeholders and push Congress to hold the line on the status quo.More

EBay Calls in Support to Fight Online Sales Tax Bill
The Hill
EBay is reaching out to its army of users to stir up opposition to congressional efforts to pass an online sales tax bill during the congressional lame-duck session. Users Nov. 12 received an email from Tod Cohen, the online shopping giant's vice president, asking them to urge lawmakers to block legislation from reaching the House floor.More

Marketplace Fairness: An Idea that's Time has Come
Roll Call (commentary)
The American free enterprise system, a marketplace economy featuring dynamic innovation, entrepreneurial risk-taking and robust competition, is what makes the United States such an inspiring country in which to start and grow a business. Over the past two decades, the Internet has burst onto the scene and developed into a vital, vibrant commercial platform in both the retail economy and the business-to-business space.More

The Obama Republicans?
About a week after the Republican midterm romp, nearly 20 soon-to-be House GOP freshmen huddled for a private lunch on the third floor of the Capitol Hill Club. The mood was jubilant: Each had prevailed in a swing district, exploiting deep unhappiness with President Barack Obama and angst over the country's future. But as they dug into platters of lasagna, salad and chicken, the newbies were given some sobering news. GOP officials explained that they would be among Democrats' top 2016 targets — when they'd be up against a more diverse electorate — and they needed to start preparing now. More

The GOP's Strategy to Block Obama's Regulations
The Hill
The GOP is preparing to mount a full-scale assault on President Barack Obama's regulatory agenda, using the party's strengthened hand in Congress to delay, soften or block contentious administration rules at every turn. As long as Obama sits atop the executive branch, Republicans' power to derail scores of rulemaking efforts now under way is limited. But control of both the House and Senate in the next Congress will enable GOP lawmakers to ratchet up their attacks on what they view as overzealous regulation. More