Washington Weekly
Jun. 22, 2015

Last Week

After a weekend of arm-twisting, the House managed to pass legislation granting the president Trade Promotion Authority. The legislation now moves over to the Senate to complete before both houses adjourn for the Fourth of July. The House also passed legislation repealing the unpopular medical device tax. The Affordable Care Act includes a 2.3% excise tax on items ranging from prosthetic devices, hearing aids, pacemakers, dentures and much more. The Senate wrapped up debate and passed the National Defense Authorization Act and immediately moved to take up the defense appropriations, but was not able to achieve the 60 votes needed to open debate. More

This Week

The Senate will take up the House-passed trade package. Under the plan that's moving, the Senate would also take up Trade Adjustment Assistance, meant to help workers impacted by trade deals, as part of a trade preferences bill. The Senate previously passed TAA and TPA together as one larger trade bill, and it is unclear if Senate Democrats, who have suggested the two should move together, will support Senate Majority Leader McConnell's push to separate the proposals. The House will continue with federal appropriations, by taking up Interior appropriations, which includes programs administered by the Environmental Protection Agency.More

Item of Interest

Last week, new legislation was introduced to level the playing field between brick and mortar businesses and those that sell online only. The Remote Transactions Parity Act would benefit small businesses by offering audit protections, set the sales tax rate at the location of the buyer rather than seller and liability protections on compliance burdens. To see a side-by-side on the existing bill, RTPA and another bill supported by the chairman of the committee where this legislation sits, click here.

Now, we need your help. Your member of Congress needs to hear from you today. The opposition has thus far built a wall of fear that this is a "tax increase," which we know it is not. Click here and send your member of Congress a note asking him to support RTPA. All it takes is a few clicks of a button!More

Washington Whipped into Frenzy Ahead of 'Obamacare' ruling
The Hill
The wait is almost over for what could be the last big legal threat to "Obamacare." Court-watchers are working themselves into a frenzy awaiting a decision on King v. Burwell, one of the most-anticipated cases of the year. On opinion days, dozens of reporters are packing into the court or swarming the steps outside, while nearly 10,000 people tune into SCOTUSblog for live updates. False reports attempting to predict the timing of the decision have only further fueled the hype.More

Whose Fault is it Anyway? The Coming 'Obamacare' Blame Game
National Journal
It's going to get messy if the Supreme Court rules to invalidate "Obamacare's" financial aid in more than 30 states that use the federal HealthCare.gov. Everybody will blame everybody else. Many Hill Republicans will say that it's the White House's fault: President Barack Obama and Democrats passed this flawed law, with no GOP votes. They should reap the consequences. The Obama administration has long said that it can't fix anything in the Affordable Care Act without congressional help. More

Labor Amps up Pressure on Key Senators Ahead of Trade Vote
Union officials and progressive Democrats said June 19 they're gearing up for the next front in the congressional trade wars ahead of next week’s critical votes in the Senate. Immediately after the House passed fast-track trade legislation June 18, labor leaders and leading progressive opponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership began waging a pressure campaign to sway key "swing" senators who could decide whether the latest gambit by GOP leaders to facilitate the 12-nation trade pact will succeed or be stymied again in Congress. More

House Poised to Let Ex-Import Bank Charter Expire
Roll Call
The House will consider its seventh appropriations bill of the year this week — one to fund the Interior Department and related activities — and possibly more legislation related to trade in the event the Senate keeps to its schedule. But with only four scheduled legislative work days left before the weeklong July 4 recess, there's one thing the House is not expected to take up: reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.More