Capitol to Capitol
An Information Service of NCSL's Standing Committees

Volume 17   Issue 14 - March 26, 2010

 

HEALTH CARE REFORM FINALIZED

The House on Thursday completed the final piece of health reform by voting 220-207 on a bill that made changes to the legislation President Obama signed on March 23. This procedure was needed as the Senate Parliamentarian ruled the Senate reconciliation package contained two provisions that violated the Senate’s rules and could not be included in the final bill. The two points made technical changes to the language about Pell Grants for low-income students. Please go to NCSL’s Federal Health Care Reform page for further information at http://www.ncsl.org/?tabid=17639, which includes an updated version of Medicaid and CHIP provisions from the Reconciliation Act of 2010. (NCSL staff contacts: Joy Johnson Wilson, Rachel Morgan)


HOUSE PASSES TWO MORE “JOBS” BILLS

Two jobs bills, previously designated as jobs bills #4 and #5, passed the House of Representatives this week and now await action in the Senate. The Small Business and Infrastructure Jobs Tax Act (H.R. 4849), which passed by a vote of 246-178, provides a three-year extension until 2013 for the Build America Bonds program that is currently scheduled to expire Dec. 31, 2010. The legislation also includes a one-year extension of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Contingency Fund, providing $2.5 billion for FY 2011. The provision was added earlier in the week through a manager’s amendment proposed by House Ways and Means Chairman Representative Sander Levin (Michigan).

Although the majority of spending in the $5.7 billion supplemental spending bill (H.R. 4899, jobs bill #5) is for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to respond to recent flooding disasters, it also provides $600 million for a summer jobs youth program and $60 million for a small business loan program. H.R. 4899, passing by a vote of 239-175, also proposes $20 million to continue covering the cost of waived fees for some Small Business Administration loans that were part of last year’s Recovery Act. (NCSL staff contacts: Molly Ramsdell, Jeff Hurley [jobs bills generally], Sheri Steisel, Lee Posey [TANF], Diana Hinton Noel, James Ward [summer youth employment])


SHORT-TERM EXTENSIONS HITS SNAG

Senate legislation that would extend unemployment benefits until May 5 and COBRA benefits through April 30 was halted after a dispute over the cost of the package. The legislation, H.R. 4851, which has already passed the House, is unlikely to be voted on before the extensions lapse on April 5 as lawmakers begin to leave for the spring recess. The bill also includes extensions for the national flood insurance program and satellite TV transmission laws. (NCSL staff contacts: Molly Ramsdell, Jeff Hurley [generally], Joy Johnson Wilson, Rachel Morgan [health])


DEFICIT PANEL COMPLETED

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi named her three choices to participate in the president’s deficit commission this week, finalizing the 18-member roster. According to the president’s executive order established on Feb. 18, Democratic and Republican leaders in both the House and Senate chose three lawmakers each, with President Obama selecting six delegates. The commission has until Dec. 1, 2010, to make recommendations to reduce the deficit and slow the nation’s increasing debt. To see the full membership of the commission, please view NCSL’s Deficit Reduction Commission page at http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?TabId=19596. (NCSL staff contacts: Molly Ramsdell, Jeff Hurley)