Washington Weekly
May. 19, 2014

Last Week

The House was in recess. The Senate spent the week debating a package of over 50 expired tax provisions. Unfortunately, the bill failed to gain the 60 votes needed to achieve cloture. On Thursday, Sen. Orrin Hatch's staff reached out to the business community explaining its position: "When the tax extender bill was marked up in the Senate Finance Committee on April 3, 2014, the process was open to amendments and vigorous debate between all 24 members. It was this open and participative process that was directly responsible for the bill passing out of the committee on a voice vote. It is important to note that, since July 2013, Senate Republicans have been allowed only nine roll call votes on their amendments. That is less than one vote per month. Senator Hatch was very clear in his remarks on the floor this afternoon. He wants to ensure, that the other 76 members of the United States Senate, Democrats and Republicans, have the same opportunity as members of the Senate Finance Committee to have the voices of their constituents heard."More

This Week

With Memorial Day coming, the House will spend the week debating the National Defense Authorization Act, which authorizes spending programs for the Department of Defense and Department of Energy. In addition, they're expected to take up legislation providing the Secretary of Veterans Affairs greater authority to terminate underperforming staff at the VA. The Senate will take up judicial nominations this week. In addition, the House and Senate are expected to approve the conference report for the Water Resources and Development Act, which authorizes programs related to the Army Corps of Engineers and ports infrastructure. Senate leaders have also kept the door open to continue negotiating amendments on the tax extenders.More

Item of Interest

The President's use of executive authority will be tested this week as the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on a trio of appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. The issue is whether its rulings are also deemed unconstitutional due to their questionably legal appointments. A ruling against the NLRB could have wide-ranging impacts on the business and labor community. To learn more, click here.More

Obama's Big Carbon Crackdown Readies for Launch
The EPA will launch the most dramatic anti-pollution regulation in a generation early next month, a sweeping crackdown on carbon that offers President Barack Obama his last real shot at a legacy on climate change — while causing significant political peril for red-state Democrats. More

EPA Races to Finish Obama Rules
The Hill
Officials at the Environmental Protection Agency are racing to churn out new regulations before the clock runs out on President Barack Obama's term. White House records show there have been a flurry of meetings in recent weeks between administration officials and outside groups trying to influence the final language of EPA rules under construction. More

Senate Tax Cut Vote: Republicans Filibuster $85 Billion Bill
Roll Call
Senate Republicans filibustered an $85 billion tax cut package after Democrats refused to allow votes on their amendments. Cloture on the tax cut measure failed 53 to 40. It needed 60 votes to advance. Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk was the only Republican to vote yes.More

The Primaries that Could Determine the Future of the House
Because these districts are not battlegrounds in the traditional sense, the campaigns aren't getting much attention. But the ultimate effects could be enormous.More