Today in Congress

Today In Congress 12/19/2012

Senate in session
House in session

Fiscal Cliff Update: President Obama and Speaker John Boehner met again for the third time since last Friday, indicating that a $2 trillion deal to avert the Fiscal Cliff could be coming together. However, as of this morning, House Republicans plan to introduce legislation to raise taxes on those making more than $1 million annually but extend current rates for those making less, indicating that talks between the Congress and the White House could be breaking down. The President would like to increase tax rates on those making more than $400,000, an increase over the previous demand that tax rates on those making more than $250,000 go up.

Senator Inouye: Late yesterday, Senator Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI), the longest serving member of the Senate, passed away. He was 88 years old. Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT) is expected to assume the Chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee in the 113th Congress, the position Sen. Inouye had held since 2009.

What’s Happening Today

Floor Action

Senate
The Senate will continue consideration of an emergency supplemental bill giving $60 billion in aid to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. 

 Senate and House Armed Services Committees are working to produce a conference report on H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013. Adoption of the Conference Report could come as soon as this evening. Both the House and Senate would need to approve the Conference Report before it can go to the President for his signature. 

House
No legislation relevant to small business. 

Hearings/Markups:

Senate 
No hearings/markups relevant to small business.

House
No hearings/markups relevant to small business.

Today In Congress 12/13/2012

Senate in session
House in session

Fiscal Cliff Update: This morning a top GOP Senator indicated that revenue has become a tangible option in negotiations with the White House saying “I believe we're going to be raising taxes and not just on the top earners."

Yet with both sides refusing to publically budge from their positions, top White House and Congressional staff have been warned that they may be spending the holidays behind their desks. 

What’s Happening Today:

Floor Action

Senate
The Senate convenes at 9:30 a.m. and will be considering S. 3637, a bill that would extend the FDIC’s Transaction Account Guarantee Program. 

House
The House convenes at 9 a.m. and will be voting at 11:00. They will be considering HR 4053, the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act, which is aimed toward Preventing waste, fraud and abuse in federal spending.

Hearings/Markups:

Senate 
No hearings/markups relevant to small business.

House
At 10:00 a.m. the House Committee on Energy and Commerce will hold a hearing titled State of Uncertainty: Implementation of PPACA's Exchanges and Medicaid Expansion. John in attendance. 

Watch it live here: http://ow.ly/g4r6A

Bills to Watch:

  •  S. 3442: SUCCESS Act of 2012 Sponsor: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) Cosponsors: Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT)
     
  • H.R. 4310: National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2013 Sponsor: Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) Cosponsors: Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA). 
     
  • S. 2231: Small Business Lending Enhancement Act of 2012 Sponsor: Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) Cosponsors: There are 21 cosponsors on the bill reflecting bipartisan support as well as both independents, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).  

Today In Congress 12/12/2012

Senate in session
House in session

Fiscal Cliff Update: Some movement in the negotiations between President Obama and Speaker Boehner is raising hopes that a deal will be reached before the Jan. 1 deadline. Most recently, the President agreed to seek $1.4 trillion in revenue—$200 billion less than his original proposal, but still far more than the $800 billion the GOP plan identified. 

What’s Happening Today:

Floor Action

Senate
The Senate will continue procedural actions on S. 3637, a bill that would extend the FDIC’s Transaction Account Guarantee Program. The bill is expected to face a procedural vote later this afternoon, which would identify its support in the Senate. 

House
The House is expected to take of a procedural bill to enter conference on H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013. This action was expected yesterday, but delayed as Members had trouble reaching Washington. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), who manages the bill for the Senate, still expects to go to conference today. 

Hearings/Markups:

Senate
No hearings/markups relevant to small business.

House
No hearings/markups relevant to small business.

Bills to Watch:

  • S. 3442: SUCCESS Act of 2012 Sponsor: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) Cosponsors: Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT)
     
  • H.R. 4310: National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2013 Sponsor: Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) Cosponsors: Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA). 
     
  • S. 2231: Small Business Lending Enhancement Act of 2012 Sponsor: Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) Cosponsors: There are 21 cosponsors on the bill reflecting bipartisan support as well as both independents, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).  

Today In Congress 12/11/2012

Senate in session
House in session

Fiscal Cliff Update: 
While negotiations continue, senior members of the House of Representatives on both sides of the aisle have cautioned that an agreement on “all the outstanding issues” remains uncertain.

There are no travel plans for today on the President’s public schedule- possibly signaling more negotiations throughout the day. 

What’s Happening Today:

Floor Action

Senate
The Senate continues work on a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation bill (S. 3637) that would provide unlimited deposit insurance coverage for non-interest-bearing transaction accounts. They are scheduled to vote on the bill at 2:15 p.m. 

House:
The House will vote on a motion to go to conference on the FY13 National Defense Authorization Act as well as a Democratic motion to instruct conferees.

Hearings/Markups:

Senate
No hearings/markups relevant to small business.

House
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce will hold a Thursday hearing titled State of Uncertainty: Implementation of PPACA's Exchanges and Medicaid Expansion. John to attend.   

Bills to Watch:

  • S. 3442: SUCCESS Act of 2012 Sponsor: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) Cosponsors: Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT).
     
  • S. 2231: Small Business Lending Enhancement Act of 2012 Sponsor: Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) Cosponsors: There are 21 cosponsors on the bill reflecting bipartisan support as well as both independents, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).   

Today In Congress 12/6/2012

Senate in session
House not in session

Fiscal Cliff Update: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner stated yesterday that the administration would "absolutely" allow the United States to face the fiscal cliff as scheduled unless specific revenues are included in a deal, drawing a number of attacks from GOP lawmakers. 

President Obama will be visiting a northern Virginia home today to make his case for extending current tax rates to all but the top two percent of earners. 

What’s Happening Today:

Floor Action

Senate
The Senate is expected to clear H.R. 6156, the Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, a measure that would normalize trade relations with Russia.

House
Not in Session. 

Hearings/Markups:

Joint Committees
The Joint Economic Committee hearing on the fiscal cliff fallout is underway. Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, is sitting next to Kevin Hassett, senior fellow and director of economic policy at the American Enterprise Institute at the witness table. Martin in attendance. 

Watch live: http://ow.ly/fSkxi

Senate
No hearings/markups relevant to small business

House
Not in session  

Bills to Watch:

  • S. 3442: SUCCESS Act of 2012 Sponsor: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) Cosponsors: Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT)
     
  • S. 2231: Small Business Lending Enhancement Act of 2012 Sponsor: Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) Cosponsors: There are 21 cosponsors on the bill reflecting bipartisan support as well as both independents, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).  

 

Today In Congress 12/5/2012

Senate in session
House in session

Fiscal Cliff Update: Republicans released their fiscal cliff proposal framework in a letter to the White House. It can be read at http://www.speaker.gov/sites/speaker.house.gov/files/documents/letter_to....  

Yesterday on the floor: Late Tuesday afternoon, the Senate unanimously passed S. 3254, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2013 (NDAA). The annual bill authorizes more than $600 billion in spending for the next year by the Defense Department and is headed to conference with the House version passed in May. In conference legislators will reconcile differences between the two bills—which include issues like missile defense, Iran, and alternative fuels. It is important to note the bill will change number to the earlier House passed bill, H.R. 4310.  

The Senate version included over 100 amendments including S. AMDT. 3218, submitted by Senator Snowe, which removes the dollar caps on federal contracts in the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Contracting Program. Currently, the limits are set at $4 million for all contracts with the exception of $6.5 million for manufacturing contracts.   

 

What’s Happening Today:

Floor Action

Senate
The Senate considers H.R. 6156, a House-passed measure that lifts Cold-War era trade sanctions with Russia. If passed and signed into law, Russia would be considered a “most-favored-nation” with regards to trade, a significant change in the technical trade status between the two countries. 

House
No bills related to small business. 

Hearings/Markups:

Senate
The Joint Economic Committee holds a hearing tomorrow on the fiscal cliff. Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, and Kevin Hassett, senior fellow and director of economic policy at the American Enterprise Institute, are scheduled to testify. Joint Committees included Members from both the House and Senate. Martin to attend: 9:30 A.M. Hart Office Building, Room 216.   

House
No hearings/markups relevant to small business (with the exception of the above Joint Committee).     

Bills to Watch:

  • S. 3442: SUCCESS Act of 2012 Sponsor: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) Cosponsors: Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT)
     
  • H.R. 4310: National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2013 Sponsor: Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) Cosponsors: Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA). 
     
  • S. 2231: Small Business Lending Enhancement Act of 2012 Sponsor: Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO)Cosponsors: There are 21 cosponsors on the bill reflecting bipartisan support as well as both independents, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

 

Today In Congress 12/4/2012

Senate in session
House in session

Fiscal Cliff Update: Negotiations on the fiscal cliff continue behind-the-scenes as lawmakers focus on other issues in their respective chambers. 

What’s Happening Today:

Floor Action

Senate
The Senate may hold a final vote late this evening on S. 3254, the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill—which authorizes next year’s Defense spending—passed a legislative hurdle yesterday, successfully invoking cloture and limiting debate. The bill is expected to pass the Senate with several amendments including, S. AMDT. 3218, submitted by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), which removes the dollar caps on federal contracts in the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Contracting Program. Currently, the limits are set at $4 million for all contracts with the exception of $6.5 million for manufacturing contracts. If the bill is passed, it will go to conference with the corresponding House NDAA to reconcile any differences. 

House
No bills related to small business. 

Hearings/Markups:

Senate
The Joint Economic Committee holds a hearing this Thursday on the fiscal cliff. Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, and Kevin Hassett, senior fellow and director of economic policy at the American Enterprise Institute, are scheduled to testify. Joint Committees included Members from both the House and Senate. Martin to attend.  

House
No hearings/markups relevant to small business (with the exception of the above Joint Committee).   

Bills to Watch:

  • S. 3442: SUCCESS Act of 2012 Sponsor: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) Cosponsors: Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT)
     
  • S. 3254: National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2013 Sponsor: Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) Cosponsors: None. 
     
  • S. 2231: Small Business Lending Enhancement Act of 2012 Sponsor: Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) Cosponsors: There are 21 cosponsors on the bill reflecting bipartisan support as well as both independents, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).  

Today In Congress 12/3/2012

Senate in session
House in session

Fiscal Cliff Update: Negotiations on the fiscal cliff continue behind-the-scenes as lawmakers focus on other issues in their respective chambers. 

What’s Happening Today:

Floor Action

Senate
The Senate is scheduled for a cloture vote late this afternoon on S. 3254, the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). A cloture vote requires 60 votes to pass and places a 30-hour limit on debate. If successful in invoking cloture, the bill would face a final vote on Tuesday or Wednesday. The cloture vote may be unnecessary if the bills managers, Senate Armed Forces Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) and Ranking Member John McCain (R-AZ), can finalize a list of amendments. 

Update on WOSB Contract Provision in FY2013 NDAA: One of the amendments successfully added to the bill late Friday evening was S. AMDT. 3218, submitted by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), which removes the dollar caps on federal contracts in the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Contracting Program. Currently, the limits are set at $4 million for all contracts with the exception of $6.5 million for manufacturing contracts. If the bill is ultimately successful, there will no longer be dollar caps on WOSB set-aside contracts. 

House
No bills related to small business. 

Hearings/Markups:

Senate
The Joint Economic Committee holds a hearing this Thursday on the fiscal cliff. Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, and Kevin Hassett, senior fellow and director of economic policy at the American Enterprise Institute, are scheduled to testify. Joint Committees included Members from both the House and Senate. John to attend.  

House
No hearings/markups relevant to small business (with the exception of the above Joint Committee).   

Bills to Watch:

  • S. 3442: SUCCESS Act of 2012 Sponsor: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) Cosponsors: Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT)
     
  • S. 3254: National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2013 Sponsor: Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) Cosponsors: None. 
     
  • S. 2231: Small Business Lending Enhancement Act of 2012 Sponsor: Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) Cosponsors: There are 21 cosponsors on the bill reflecting bipartisan support as well as both independents, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).  

Today In Congress 11/30/2012

Senate in session
House in session

Fiscal Cliff Update: President Obama seeks approval of his plan to raise taxes on the highest earners from the American public today, touring a Pennsylvania toy company and talking about the need for middle class tax rates to stay where they are. Staff-level talks between the White House and Congress are expected to continue as the week comes to a close. 

While Congress and the White House continue to negotiate the details of a solution, it appears that changes in the tax rates have become the most contentious issue. That issue may have a new option—all depending on the action (or inaction) of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Analysts have suggested that if a deal were close when the new rates begin on Jan. 1, Geithner could freeze the payroll tax rates, keeping an extra $10 billion in the public’s pockets every two weeks. Geithner has publicly said he is not favorable to this option—and that Congress should not use him as an excuse to “not make decisions”—but it is clear that all possibilities are on the table.   

What’s Happening Today:

Floor Action

Senate
The Senate will continue its work on S. 3254, the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act. The bill, known also as the NDAA, contains numerous provisions affecting businesses outside the defense sector. Today’s work will be the review of several amendments including new penalties for companies engaging with Iran. The FY2013 NDAA includes a number of federal contracting reform provisions for small businesses. The White House has issued a veto threat for the bill, noting that it would authorize spending on unnecessary military items and restrict Executive Branch ability with regards to detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  

House
The House will vote on H.R. 6429, the STEM Jobs Act of 2012, which would set aside new green cards for foreign students who graduate from U.S. Universities with advanced degreed in the science, math, engineering, or technology fields. 

Hearings/Markups:

Senate
No hearings.  

House
No hearings relevant to small business are scheduled. 

Bills to Watch:

  • S. 3442: SUCCESS Act of 2012 Sponsor: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)Cosponsors: Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT)
     
  • S. 3254: National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2013 Sponsor: Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) Cosponsors: None. 
     
  • S. 2231: Small Business Lending Enhancement Act of 2012 Sponsor: Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) Cosponsors: There are 21 cosponsors on the bill reflecting bipartisan support as well as both independents, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).  

Today In Congress 11/29/2012

Senate in session
House in session

Fiscal Cliff Update: While the Administration and Congressional Leadership continue to set the terms of debate by taking their messages to the public, a new twist to the Fiscal Cliff is emerging. The Department of the Treasury has said it expects to reach the debt ceiling – the cap on its borrowing authority – sometime around the end of this year, although it could take extraordinary measures, as it did last summer, to meet the government’s obligations until early in 2013. It remains to be seen how this will play out.

What’s Happening Today

Floor Action

Senate
The Senate will continue its work on S. 3254, the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act. The bill, known also as the NDAA, contains numerous provisions affecting businesses outside the defense sector. More than 130 amendments have been filed on the for consideration, however, the Senate will vote on only a fraction of those in the coming days. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) hopes to finish up work on the bill by week's end. The FY2013 NDAA includes a number of federal contracting reform provisions for small businesses. 

House
Nothing relevant to Small Business. 

Hearings/Markups:

Senate 
The Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship  will convene a hearing this morning on S. 3442, the SUCCESS Act. MSGI Staff Members Cielo and John will attend. 

House
No hearings relevant to small business are scheduled. 

Bills to Watch:

  • S. 3442: SUCCESS Act of 2012 Sponsor: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)Cosponsors: Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT)
     
  • S. 3254: National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2013 Sponsor: Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) Cosponsors: None. 
     
  • S. 2231: Small Business Lending Enhancement Act of 2012 Sponsor: Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) Cosponsors: There are 21 cosponsors on the bill reflecting bipartisan support as well as both independents, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).  

 

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