Fiscal Slope: Time to Go to Conference on Taxes?

By: Saturday December 1, 2012 11:27 am

The advantages of going to conference committee include the fact that the finished product returning becomes non-amendable (though it can still be filibustered in the Senate). You can fast-track the conference report onto the floor without going through the committee process. And most important to me, you can provide some transparency in these negotiations that has been lacking. Conference committees are often pro forma processes, with the real work going on behind the scenes, but members of the conference committee still have to vote on any changes, in public view.

A conference committee will at least create a forum for the debate in public rather than in cloistered back rooms.


Drought Relief Bill Passes House, but Won’t Help Livestock Producers Through August

By: Friday August 3, 2012 8:51 am

The House of Representatives passed their one-year drought relief bill by a relatively thin margin yesterday, 223-197. They needed 35 votes from Democrats to get it across the line, as 46 Republicans begged off the bill. Here’s the roll call.

The House passed this on the last possible day of the session before the August recess, and the Senate did not get around to passage. So there will be no immediate disaster relief coming for livestock producers suffering under a price spike due to corn shortages.

Liberals Protest Food Stamp Cuts in House Farm Bill

By: Tuesday July 10, 2012 7:01 am

The Senate already passed a farm bill that cut food stamps by around $4.5 billion. The House’s version is even more punitive, and House Democrats are upset that their leader on the Agriculture Committee let it go through without putting up much of a fight.

Highway Bill Unlikely to Emerge from Conference Committee

By: Monday June 18, 2012 1:30 pm

Congress appears poised to do what it does best – absolutely nothing. At issue are the doubling of the student loan interest rate, and the surface transportation bill. Both are stuck on an unwillingness to agree on whether/how to pay for them, and there’s little to encourage the members to agree as time runs out.

Senate Will Pass House Version of STOCK Act, Drop Political Intelligence Measures

By: Wednesday March 21, 2012 9:00 am

The Senate leadership has given up on trying to pass their version of the STOCK Act, instead planning a vote on the House bill. The two big Senate amendments that lose out here are the Leahy-Cornyn amendment responding to a Supreme Court ruling that weakened prosecutorial use of the “honest services fraud” statute against public officials and businessmen, and one from Chuck Grassley, on “political intelligence.”

Republicans Cave on Payroll Tax Cut, Propose Full-Year Extension Without Offsets

By: Monday February 13, 2012 12:20 pm

In an impressive bit of caving, the House Republican leadership has given up on finding offsets for the payroll tax cut, proposing a bill that would extend the current cut to the end of the year without any funding. However, the other two pieces that were tied to the overall legislation at the end of last year, extended unemployment benefits and the “doc fix” to avoid a reset of Medicare reimbursement rates, would not be included.

Payroll Tax Cut Conference Committee on Brink of Failure, Needs Intervention

By: Tuesday February 7, 2012 1:15 pm

The conference committee for the payroll tax cut is on a road to nowhere, and it’s clear that the House and Senate leadership will have to step in if the payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance and the doctor’s fix will get extended beyond the end of the month.

FAA Authorization Conference Report Would Weaken Labor Law, Expected to Pass Senate Today

By: Monday February 6, 2012 12:30 pm

The Senate will vote as early as today on whether to punish transportation unions in a bid to get Federal Aviation Administration authorization through 2015. The House already passed its version of a “bipartisan compromise.” and unions can’t seem to get the Senate to stop it.

Four Weeks to Payroll Tax Cut/UI Expiration, and Little Movement on Extension

By: Thursday February 2, 2012 5:36 pm

The payroll tax cut and extended unemployment benefits expire on February 29. And though the House-Senate conference committee charged with figuring out a year-long extension met yesterday, there really isn’t a lot of movement toward a solution. Pay-fors seem to be the biggest stumbling block.

Payroll Tax and Unemployment Insurance Bill: Haggling Over Pay-Fors

By: Wednesday January 18, 2012 11:01 am

So the first two days of the second session of the 112th Congress has consisted of a day of basically nothing, and a day with a meaningless resolution. And by the way, the House is leaving for the rest of the week. Congress, earning those 8% approval ratings every day. As for whether/how the payroll tax cuts and unemployment insurance will be extended, that now depends on how they’re paid for.

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