Congress Returns from Independence Day Recess
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Posted by: Michael Geatz
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