Congressional Christmas list includes gifts for all
Congress’ Christmas list includes gifts for all by Elizabeth B. Letchworth
Congress comes back from their Thanksgiving recess this week to what could result in one of the most jammed-packed three weeks of Congressional session seen in recent years. Congress is aiming to adjourn the first session of the 112th Congress by the Friday before Christmas week.
This Friday, December 16th date just happens to also be is the expiration date of the most current stopgap government spending bill. This means that Congress will have to conclude the remaining nine appropriations bills not passed through Congress when the fiscal year began Oct. 1, 2011. These bills were part of the omnibus appropriations bill passed earlier which expires Dec. 16.
The Senate left two unfinished bills on the table when they went on their recess for Thanksgiving. The first was the Energy and Water appropriations bill. Efforts by the Senate Majority Leader to marry this spending bill with two others failed during the last week of Senate session before the Thanksgiving recess began.
They were also debating and offering amendments to the Defense Authorization bill. When the Senate returns on Monday, there are 270 amendments filed, of which 103 of them have been actually made pending. Therefore those 103 must be disposed of one way or another.
The House will be considering HR 3463 a bill that cuts federal spending by repealing the public funding for presidential campaigns and closing down the federal election commission.
Together, the House and Senate leaders will also be negotiating the last omnibus appropriations bill that keeps our government operating up to Friday, Dec. 16. The current spending bill passed through the House with the help of more Democratic members of the House than Republican members. The vote garnered 101 “no” votes from House Republicans.
These GOP “no” votes numbered twice as many as voted against the original omnibus appropriations bill that the current omnibus appropriations bill replaced. The next spending bill Congress will need to pass could face significant opposition from Congressional Republicans.
With this in mind, the Congressional leaders are considering passing the next omnibus appropriations bill and including some of the more popular expiring tax provisions that affect almost every American citizen.
Some of these tax provisions include:
- Extending the 2% tax holiday
- Extending the Unemployment insurance benefits
- Delaying the cut to DR.’s Reimbursement payments
- AMT patch
- 60 + other provisions that expire December 31, 2011
Some of these include:
- State and Local tax deductions
- Deductions for teacher’s classroom supplies
- Research and development tax credits
- Tax credits for biodiesel and ethanol
Finally, given the failure of the Super committee to report legislation that saves our government $1.2 to $1.5 Trillion, expect amendments to be offered that reflect the findings of the Simpson/Bowles deficit reduction commission and/or the deficit reduction legislation that resulted from the Senate “gang of 6”.
Stay tuned to see how much of this “must-pass” legislation Congress is able to pass and charge on the national credit card.
Elizabeth B. Letchworth is a retired, elected United States Senate Secretary for the Majority and Minority.
Currently she is a senior legislative adviser for Covington & Burling, LLC and is the founder of GradeGov.com.
17 U.S.C. §512 compliance: [Click Here] to visit Elizabeth’s webite GradeGov.com
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