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The House and Senate were in recess.
Congress has five more days to complete funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which is set to expire on Friday. The Senate returns Monday evening to hold its fourth vote on moving forward with amendment debate, which failed three times previously, and is believed to fail again. The House is not scheduled to return until tomorrow evening, leaving just three legislative days to find a solution. The House remains firm that they have done their work and it is time for the Senate to act, but they will still be meeting early Wednesday morning to go over their strategy for getting a bill across the finish line.
While the Senate works its will on DHS funding, the House will be focusing on education this week. They will be taking up legislation to expand opportunities for families saving for college, using so-called 529 plans. The legislation expands the types of qualified expenses and allows the re-depositing of funds without penalties if a student withdraws from a college. Under current law, a refund from the college after a withdrawal would be subject to taxes and fees.
Item of Interest
Last week, ASA and more than a dozen business groups wrote to the Secretary of Health and Human Services asking the department to grant a two-year delay of the expansion of the small group market. Health policy experts from both sides of the political spectrum agree that the ACA's upcoming revision to the definition of a "small group" will do more harm than help. Supporters of the delay want it kept at 50 or fewer employees. But that will double to 100 under a provision in the law starting in 2016. Georgetown University's Sabrina Corlette said she thinks moving the definition to 100 or fewer workers will lead to many frustrated employers because of premium increases. "Going into 2016, I'm not sure that's the wisest move politically for unclear gains," she said during a panel about what changes should be made to the law. Likewise, Joe Antos from the American Enterprise Institute said the change is "unnecessary" and "it's going to mess up the risk pools." To see our letter, click here.
Director of Government Affairs
American Supply Association
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ASA Legislative Fly-in | April 14-15
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Obama Likely to Get Bill on Keystone Tuesday
Republican leaders are expected to send legislation authorizing construction of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline to President Obama on Tuesday.
While the bill passed Congress more than a week ago, Republican leaders did not send it to the White House in order to prevent Obama from vetoing it, while lawmakers were out of town for the Presidents Day recess.
Senate Democrats Show Limits of GOP Spending Strategy
When Republican leaders seized control of the Senate, they quickly targeted must-pass appropriations bills — not shutdown showdowns — as their best tool for reining in the Obama White House.
Two months into the 114th Congress, they have run smack into the limits of that strategy.
The immigration fight that has stalemated the fiscal 2015 Homeland Security spending bill, leaving the department days away from a possible shutdown, makes clear the high hurdles that remain for getting bills to President Barack Obama's desk.
What if the Supreme Court Rules Against 'Obamacare'?
The Supreme Court this June could cut off millions of Americans from affordable Obamacare coverage. The response from the nation's governors gathering in Washington this week was an assortment of shrugs.
POLITICO interviewed more than a dozen governors, from both parties, this weekend at the National Governors Association winter meeting. Most said they're in a wait-and-see zone.
Obama Unveils Arctic Offshore Drilling Safety Rules
The Interior Department unveiled draft rules Friday aimed at preventing and containing oil spills in harsh Arctic waters off Alaska's shores, where big energy companies including Royal Dutch Shell hope to tap potentially huge petroleum deposits.
The long-awaited offshore-drilling rules are the latest of several federal policies governing the Arctic region's environment unveiled in recent weeks, including a proposal to make the onshore Arctic National Wildlife Refuge permanently off-limits to drilling.
Dan Hilton, Director of Government Affairs, 703.328.5234
Bianca Gibson, Executive Editor, MultiView, 469.420.2611
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