Washington Weekly
Sep. 21, 2015

Last Week

The Senate held two more votes to attempt to stall or disapprove the Iranian Nuclear Agreement. One vote would have prohibited the agreement until Iran recognizes "Israel's right to exist," a second prohibited the agreement until Iran released Americans currently being held there. The House and Senate have not been able to block the agreement, though some have signaled the intention to take the fight to the courts. In the House, they spent much of the week debating right to life legislation, passing stand-alone legislation to defund Planned Parenthood, as well as the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. The legislation would require any health care practitioner who is present when a child is born alive following an abortion or attempted abortion to: (1) exercise the same degree of care as reasonably provided to any other child born alive at the same gestational age, and (2) ensure that such child is immediately admitted to a hospital.More

This Week

In a week shortened by a historic visit and address to Congress by the Pope, the Senate is planning to take up the House-passed abortion-related legislation. The legislation would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, even though similar legislation has been ruled unconstitutional at the state level. The House returns to meet on Thursday, following observation of Yom Kippur. They will debate and vote on the RAPID Act, or Responsibility and Professionally Invigorating Act. The legislation establishes procedures to streamline the regulatory review, environmental decision making and permitting process for major federal actions that are construction activities undertaken, reviewed or funded by federal agencies.More

Item of Interest

Last week, ASA was pleased to join with other members of the LIFO Coalition to meet with Congressman Roger Williams. Williams, a small-business owner of car dealerships has been a lifelong user of LIFO. Following the end of summer session, Williams introduced legislation putting members of Congress on record of preserving LIFO as a critical tool in accounting. ASA will work with others on Capitol Hill to advance this resolution and continue educating members of Congress and staff of the importance of maintaining this useful tool. More

The Odds of a Shutdown Spike
Stan Collender writes: "I've been predicting since July that the irreconcilable differences between Democrats and Republicans on several key issues — only some of which have anything to do with the budget — are much more likely than not to lead to the federal government shutting down when the next fiscal year begins at midnight, Sept. 30. My most recent projection is that there is now a 75 percent chance of a shutdown." More

Members Will be Blocked 2 Ways from Touching Pope Francis
Roll Call
Too many members cannot be trusted to behave themselves when Pope Francis comes to the Capitol, the congressional leadership has decided. And so, to enforce decorous discipline, some extraordinary measures are being readied. Each party is assembling teams of lawmakers to essentially act as blocking tackles, willing to restrain any of their colleagues intent on trying to reach out for a papal touch as he walks onto the floor of the House.More

Republicans Want the EPA to Show its Work, but Critics See a Backdoor Assault on Climate Rules
National Journal
There's noth­ing Lamar Smith would like more than to get rid of Pres­id­ent Barack Obama's cli­mate-change agenda, which he has said con­tains "some of the most ex­pens­ive and bur­den­some reg­u­la­tions" in the his­tory of the En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency and is based on "sci­ence-fic­tion pro­moted by alarm­ists." The Re­pub­lic­an-led House has offered no short­age of op­por­tun­it­ies for that — pro­posed spend­ing bills have slashed fund­ing for the cli­mate plan, and there have been meas­ures to freeze EPA rules, to em­phas­ize their eco­nom­ic cost, and to ex­pand drilling even while the ad­min­is­tra­tion tries to shift to re­new­able en­ergy.More

New Legislation Seeks to Protect Union Organizers
The Hill
Sweeping labor rights legislation unveiled Wednesday by a pair of congressional Democrats seeks to ratchet up penalties for employers who retaliate against workers trying to organize, even as unions come under fresh fire from the GOP. Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.) and Rep. Bobby Scott (Va.) said the bill would strengthen protections for private sector workers fired for trying to unionize or form nonunion groups to discuss pay, worker safety or other employee issues.More