Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Federal Legislative Update

All updates courtesy of APTA


The Appropriations omnibus to fund domestic programs in 2008 continues to change frequently. Following Rep. Obey’s comments on Tuesday 12/11 to strip earmarks, legislators from both sides and in both chambers started working on a bill that would keep “vital” earmarks, but still earn the necessary votes.

The Senate may begin discussion as early as Thursday on a $523 billion bill that funds the remaining agencies, as well as offers interim financing for the wars and other emergency needs. GOP leaders in both chambers also indicated on Tuesday that they might be willing to bend a little on the $933 billion cap Bush had placed on all approps bills. They hinted support for a spending package that adheres to the limit offered by Bush, but won’t count the $7-$9 billion in emergency funds into that total.

Sen. McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, plans to offer an amendment that would reach the President’s numbers through an across-the-board cut of 2.5%.

Senate Republicans are predicted to offer an amendment to provide $70 billion in war funding.

Because discussions on an omnibus spending bill have not been fruitful, it almost is inevitable that another short-term continuing resolution will be filed to fund the government while debate continues.

The Energy bill has been amended to remove a national renewable electricity mandate. The revised bill, including the tax package, is expected to be brought to the Senate floor before the end of the week.

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