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The Senate spent the week debating amendments to the Keystone XL Pipeline Act. According to Senate Republicans, the Senate has already held more amendment votes last week than were held in all of 2014. In all, they voted on 24 amendments related to energy policy, including a near-unanimous vote (98-1-1) that "climate change is real and not a hoax." The House passed legislation that would streamline and reform permitting of natural gas pipelines. Generally, the legislation is aimed at speeding up the approval (or denial) process to avoid unnecessary delays in natural gas development. In addition, the House also intended to take up legislation that would deny abortions after 20 weeks, citing a fetus’s ability to feel pain. However, after a number of defections with the Republican ranks, the legislation was altered to prevent taxpayer funds from being used to terminate a pregnancy.
On Friday, the Senate Majority Leader's office filed cloture on the Keystone bill, meaning that all remaining amendments to be voted on must have been filed by Friday afternoon, and the Senate will move to end debate on the bill. The Senate has been debating the legislation since the second week of January, and will hold several cloture votes beginning this evening, which will require 60 votes. The House will take up legislation to beef up border security, as they continue to grapple with how to address the president's executive actions related to immigration. The legislation would require the Department of Homeland Security to be able to prevent all illegal crossings into the U.S., called "operational control," within five years. DHS would need to have operational control at high-traffic areas of the southern border within two years. DHS political appointees would be ineligible for receiving bonuses if operational control isn't achieved within the specified timeframes.
Item of Interest
We're pleased to announce that registration for ASA's 2015 Legislative Fly-in is open. Congress must hear from the small-business community, and that means you. If Congress passes corporate-only tax reform like the president and new Senate Majority Leader have suggested, how does that help ESOPs and S Corps? If Congress continues to bury its head in the sand and refuse to aid sellers in the battle for e-fairness because they believe it only benefits big-box retailers, then they need to hear from small businesses, too. Is your company's health care situation stable and acceptable? If not, then Congress needs to hear from you. Join us April 14 -15 in Washington, click here for more information.
Director of Government Affairs
American Supply Association
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ASA Legislative Fly-in | April 14-15
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Best Fly-In Ever: How to Make the Most of Your DC Visit
Washington would be a less exciting place without its out-of-town visitors. And "fly-ins" — when interest groups bring their members to town to lobby legislators and agency officials — do more than just keep the hotels full and the Metro lines long. They can draw attention to an issue, rally stakeholders and even move the dial on legislative priorities.
The Sheldon Silver Scandal and Where we are on Asbestos Corruption
The arrest of New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on federal corruption charges roiled Albany, New York, politics and inflicted grave damage on Silver's fellow Democrats. In a strange twist, the graft accusations against the second-most powerful figure in New York state politics, after Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, elicited applause from national business lobbyists. Why? Asbestos litigation.
Senate Sets Final Keystone Vote Next Week
The Senate worked through the night Jan. 22 to get through amendments on legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which is headed for final passage next week.
Following through on a threat, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., kept the Senate in until midnight.
2015 State of the Union Fact Check
President Barack Obama's State of the Union address provided a prime-time opportunity to contrast his lame duck vision for the economy, terrorism and foreign policy against a new Republican-led Congress eager to prevent any big victories.
But with such high political stakes — and a television audience of tens of millions — also comes the allure to stretch the facts for even a small boost in public opinion polls.
Obama Proposes to Declare ANWR Area as Wilderness
President Barack Obama will ask Congress to declare over 12 million acres of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness, he announced, rekindling a decades-old fight over oil drilling there.
In a video message, Obama called the portions of ANWR he wants to protect as "pristine, undisturbed" and "very fragile." He asked the GOP Congress to protect the area "as a wilderness so we can make sure this amazing wonder is protected for future generations."
Dan Hilton, Director of Government Affairs, 703.328.5234
Bianca Gibson, Executive Editor, MultiView, 469.420.2611
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