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

Volume 17   Issue 13 - March 23, 2010 


ATTENTION READERS!

HEALTH CARE REFORM BRIEFING ON FRIDAY

On Friday, March 26, NCSL will host a conference call on federal health care reform legislation (H.R. 3590) signed into law today. Also on the agenda is discussion of developments and action on H.R. 4872, reconciliation legislation that amends H.R. 3590. NCSL will provide information on the key provisions that will take effect immediately and an overview of Medicaid provisions. State legislators and legislative staff can obtain conference call details by sending an email to ncsl-statefederal-office@ncsl.org. Please go to NCSL’s Federal Health Reform web page, http://www.ncsl.org/IssuesResearch/Health/FederalHealthCareReform/tabid/17639/Default.aspx for daily-updated information. A recording of the March 26 call will be made available on this page. (NCSL staff contacts: Joy Johnson Wilson, Rachel Morgan)


ANOTHER “JOBS” BILL MOVES QUICKLY

The House of Representatives this week is expected to take up recent introduced legislation that would provide $5.7 billion for summer youth jobs, disaster assistance and small business loan programs. The bulk of the funds in H.R. 4899, “Jobs Bill #5,” would be designated for Midwest flood relief, Haitian assistance and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita expedited arbitration processes. And$600 million would be for grants to states for job-training programs for teenagers and young adults. Senate action on H.R. 4899 is unlikely to occur until health care reform reconciliation legislation is resolved. (NCSL staff contacts: Molly Ramsdell, Jeff Hurley)


TANF EMERGENCY CONTINGENCY FUND EXTENSION RESURFACES

Later this week, the House of Representatives is expected to consider H.R. 4849, Ways and Means Committee-passed legislation that would extend the Build America Bonds program through 2013. The program, which provides state and local governments with an optional borrowing mechanism, is currently scheduled to expire Dec. 31, 2010. H.R. 4849, “Jobs Bill #4,” will include a manager’s amendment (Michigan Representative Sander Levin) that will give states a one-year, $2.5 billion extension of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Contingency Fund. The NCSL-supported extension would continue the authority for this program through Sept. 30, 2011. Senate action is unlikely until health care reform reconciliation is resolved. (NCSL staff contacts: Molly Ramsdell, Jeff Hurley [generally], Sheri Steisel, Lee Posey [TANF])


WE ARE NOT TRYING TO CONFUSE YOU

NCSL is self-assigning numbers to the various pieces of “active” legislation that makes up what is referred to in Washington, D.C., as the “jobs agenda.” In addition to the two bills highlighted in summaries above, “Jobs Bill #1” (H.R. 2847) is now law (highway authorization extension; a Build America Bonds expansion). “Jobs Bill #2” (H.R. 4213) remains at the desk of the House awaiting a leadership decision to vote it up or down or amend and send back to the Senate. It contains Medicaid match extension, extended unemployment insurance benefits and COBRA premium subsidies, and tax extenders. “Jobs Bill #3 (H.R. 4812), legislation that would provide state and local governments with $100 billion in education, law enforcement, and homeland security job preservation, creation and training, is still pending in its house of origin. (NCSL staff contacts: Molly Ramsdell, Jeff Hurley)


NEGOTIATIONS FORTHCOMING AS SENATE DISCUSSES FINANCIAL REFORM

On March 22, the Senate Banking Committee passed the Restoring American Financial Stability Act, commonly referred to as the Senate’s financial reform. The unnumbered bill, which passed on a 13-10 party-line vote, is expected to face opposition when it eventually reaches the Senate floor, as many controversial provisions have yet to be agreed upon. The legislation would establish a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the Federal Reserve and create an agency to monitor risk within financial institutions. Given the length of the 1,300-page legislation and potentially hundreds of pending amendments, NCSL will provide updates as discussions continue. (NCSL Staff Contacts: Neal Osten, Jeff Hurley)