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Congressional Expectations in 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Larry Innis
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Over the past few months, Congress has been making headway when it comes to breaking up the gridlock of previous years in the House and Senate and finally getting some much-needed legislation passed.

In December, the House and Senate easily passed a budget bill for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015. Then, in January, Congress passed a bill to fund government appropriations through September 30. Both parties likewise stepped back from the brink of closing the government to pass a bill raising the debt ceiling through March 2015.

All in all, given the logjam and partisanship we’ve seen on Capitol Hill in recent years, it’s been a remarkable few months of actually getting things accomplished.

So… what can we expect Congress to do next? Since it’s an election year and one in which public approval ratings are near all-time lows (10 percent of the public now believes Congress is doing a good job, up from just 8 percent a few months ago), Congress will concentrate on government funding bills; a tax extender bill (this will include continuation of the estate tax exemption at last year’s level); a GOP alternative to Obama Care (likely to struggle in the Senate); a minimum wage bill (likely to struggle in the House); and an energy-efficiency bill. MRAA is looking to the latter as a possible means for repealing the current ethanol mandate.