August Recess Update: They've left town...but there's a lot left on the table.
Recess Update: Aug. 7
From our Hill Sources: Last week was a busy one on the Hill. (Missed the action? Check out the round up.) Yet a lot of important issues have been left on the table. Here's a look at the issues still pending before Congress.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner agreed on a 6-month Continuing Resolution to extend current spending levels until March 2013. This agreement has been getting mixed reviews from Appropriators.
- S 3414 The Cybersecurity Act failed to achieve cloture. There are now reports that President Obama may address this issue through an executive order.
The Violence Against Women Act has not been reauthorized. The House and Senate have each passed a version, but haven't resolved the differences in the two bills:
- HR 4970 The House version of the Violence Against Women Act passed the House on May 16, 2012.
- S 1925 The Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act passed the Senate on April 26, 2012.
On Aug. 1, the USPS defaulted on a $5.5 billion payment to the Treasury, with another $5.6 billion payment due in September. According to reports, the USPS now loses about $25 million per day, but these losses are not expected to derail mail delivery in the short-term. Postal reform legislation is pending in Congress:
- S 1789 The Senate passed the 21st Century Postal Service Act on April 26, 2012.
- HR 2309 The House version, the Postal Reform Act, has not yet been brought to a vote in the House.
Every five years, Congress passes legislation setting national agriculture, nutrition, conservation and forestry policy. This "Farm Bill" was last passed in 2008, and expires in 2012.
- S 3240 The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act passed the Senate on June 21, 2012.
- HR 6083 The Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM Act) has not yet been brought to a vote in the House.
- HR 6233 Before leaving, the House passed a short-term extension, the Agriculture Disaster Assistance Act, which did not receive a Senate vote. Senators have said they will be working informally over August to get a package together to present in September.
Russia is set to join the World Trade Organization on August 22, and unless Congress removes curent trade restrictions, US businesses will not be able to take advantage of lowered trade barriers that will accompany Russia's entrance into the WTO.
- S 3406 The Senate Finance Committee approved the Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal and Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act which now needs to be voted on by the full Senate.
- HR 6156 The Russia Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal Act was approved by the House Ways and Means Committee, and is awaiting action by the House.
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