Washington Weekly
Jun. 16, 2014

Last Week

The House passed appropriations for the Department of Agriculture, along with making permanent two provisions in the tax code that Congress perennially reauthorizes, but has yet to do so for 2014. One would reauthorize and expand expensing equipment; currently, a business can only expense $25,000 in depreciable business property, but the legislation would increase it to $500,000. The other would make permanent the five-year recognition for built-in gains (BIG). View our letter of support. The Senate spent much of the week debating student loan legislation, which failed to garner the necessary 60 votes to advance. The Senate did manage to pass compromise legislation reforming the Veterans Affairs Administration.More

This Week

The House will spend much of the week debating national security when they take up the Defense Appropriations Act. In addition, if time permits, they are set to take up a reauthorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Board, as well as possibly resolving differences between the House and Senate regarding VA reform legislation. The Senate will work on a number of judicial nominations, as well as a consolidated appropriations bill, grouping the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development.More

Item of Interest

Following last week's shocking primary defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and his subsequent decision to step down as leader at month's end, the House is slated to elect its new majority leader on Thursday. The race for majority leader is shaping up to be a promotion for the current majority whip, Kevin McCarthy (California). Assuming he wins, the race to replace him as whip will be run by three contenders: two conservatives, Steve Scalise (Louisiana) and Marlin Stutzman (Indiana), and one moderate, Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam (Illinois). This is believed to be the conservatives' best shot of "infiltrating" house leadership. The job of the whip is to work with members and outside coalitions and groups such as ASA to build support for legislation that is coming for a vote.More

Scalise Ahead in Whip's Race; Roskam, Stutzman Aim to Force Second Ballot
In the race to become the next House majority whip, the magic number isn't 117 — it's 78. Unless someone in Thursday's special election wins an outright majority of the 233 total votes cast — a prospect that appears far from certain — 78 is the number of votes that would prevent any of the three candidates from finishing last on the initial ballot, and therefore guarantee them a place on the second ballot.More

Behind Eric Cantor's Campaign Meltdown
From the moment polls opened Tuesday, it could not have been clearer that Eric Cantor gave no mind to the idea he could lose. In the morning, he huddled with lobbyists at a Starbucks on Capitol Hill. In the afternoon, a campaign aide in Richmond emailed Cantor allies in Washington to report that Election Day plans were going swimmingly.More

What Happens in the Senate When No One's Looking? A Lot
Roll Call
While everyone was focused on events in the House, the Senate had a sudden burst of productivity this week. On Wednesday the chamber swiftly approved a Veterans Administration bill and quietly cleared an intelligence authorization by voice vote without any fanfare.More

Pork-Barrel Politics at the EPA
The Hill
In its proposed new regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that many of the benefits of its mandate will arise not from the direct benefits of lower levels of carbon emissions, but from so-called health "co-benefits" — benefits of reductions in the emission of other pollutants (particulate matter and ozone) that come about as a byproduct of carbon emission reductions.More