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Congress Returns from Independence Day Recess

Wednesday, July 10, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Michael Geatz
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Congress returned Monday, July 8, to potentially incendiary fights over nominations, unresolved disputes over student loans and the farm bill, and the uncertainty of whether lawmakers have the political will to rewrite the immigration laws.

Two Cabinet-rank choices, Tom Perez as Labor Secretary and Gina McCarthy to head the USEPA, are on the agenda in the Senate. In addition, the GOP has challenged several judicial nominees. The Senate is changing longstanding rules in this regard, which require a three-fifths majority, in an attempt to make consent an easier process. The cooperation between Senate Democrats and Republicans in passage of the Farm Bill may soon be wiped out tries to make this rule change.

The Immigration Bill passed the Senate but now faces a challenge in the House. The outlays for farm subsidies in the Farm Bill have caused considerable debate in the House where passage is doubtful.

These immediate actions in the House and Senate set the stage for consideration of issues facing marine retailers, like a tax reform bill. Many on Capitol Hill believed the likelihood of a tax reform bill was very high for later this Summer and Winter. But with a strong anti-tax sentiment and newly fueled issues on contention, likelihood is becoming remote for this year.

In addition, negotiations of the re-authorization of the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund are set to begin later this Summer. MRAA expects a simple passage of the same programs in effect today at the same level of funding. The Trust Fund has been attached to the Highway Bill in prior years, which may be under the radar screen of the House where some Members want to increase gas taxes to pay for road and bridge construction and other watchful of the deficit and tax increases want to keep expenditures as they are.

- Larry Innis, Legislative Affairs