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

Volume 20   Issue 11- March 28, 2013


STATES MAKE “MARKETPLACE” STATEMENT

States secured a major win last week with the overwhelming Senate support of an amendment to the FY 2014 budget resolution language calling for congressional approval of the collection of state and local sales and use taxes from remote and electronic sellers. Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi offered the bipartisan language supporting the NCSL-backed Marketplace Fairness Act to S. Con. Res. 8 as a floor amendment. They garnered 75 votes, including a majority of members from both political parties. Although budget resolution language does not equate to actual legislation, it is a definitive marker that will greatly enhance future advocacy efforts this year. NCSL thanks state legislators who communicated their support of the Marketplace Fairness Act to their U.S. senators. It contributed mightily to a most resounding and unprecedented favorable vote on this issue. We ask that you continue to contact your delegation as this legislation is expected to be considered later this year. More will follow. NCSL staff contacts: Neal Osten, Max Behlke


BUDGET BATTLE ON DECK

The Senate’s adoption of the budget resolution on Friday was the first time the chamber has approved the spending measure in four years. Before adoption (on a 50-49 vote) more than 70 amendments were considered, including a vote in support of the Marketplace Fairness Act (see story above). Designed by Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, the budget plan would replace the sequester cuts with savings split between revenue increases and spending cuts and would provide immediate stimulus funding for infrastructure and job training programs. What’s next? Leaders in both the House and Senate have signaled they will try and reconcile their budget resolutions, although both also recognized numerous policy and political obstacles remain. “We will make the case for our approaches to the budget,” House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, who devised the House budget resolution that was also adopted last week, stated. “We will try to make divided government work.” Also on tap is the president’s delayed FY 2014 budget proposal, which is now expected to be released in early April. Additional NCSL information on the House and Senate budget resolutions is available here: http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/budget/fy-2014-ryan-murray-budget-resolutions.aspx. NCSL staff contacts: Michael Bird, Jeff Hurley


APPROPRIATIONS CLOSURE

On March 26, the president signed H.R. 933, which closes out the FY 2013 federal appropriations process. Highlights of H.R. 933 and program-by-program appropriations summaries can be found on NCSL’s webpage (http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/budget/fy-2013-continuing-resolution-update.aspx). NCSL staff contacts: Michael Bird, Jeff Hurley


SKILLS ACT PASSES IN HOUSE

On March 15, the House adopted the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Learning Skills (SKILLS) Act, sponsored by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), by a party-line vote of 215 - 202. The SKILLS Act (H.R. 803) would consolidate or eliminate 35 programs, and create a Workforce Investment Fund to serve as the primary source of support for employers, workers, and job seekers. It would also reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act, which has not been reauthorized or renewed since it was enacted in 1998. H.R. 803 would likely fail if introduced in the Senate, as the administration and Democratic lawmakers have expressed strong opposition to the bill. NCSL has held meetings with both House Education and Workforce Committee and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee staff on the majority and minority sides to present NCSL’s Labor and Economic Development Committee’s directive on WIA Reauthorization and Funding. This policy can be found here: http://www.ncsl.org/state-federal-committees.aspx?tabs=855,26,670. NCSL staff contact: Jon Jukuri


ON THE HORIZON

The April congressional table has not been set, but the menu of possibilities is extensive. Senate floor action on gun violence will commence. … Senate and House “gangs of eight” may finally release their immigration reform recommendations. …With March’s House and Senate passage of respective budget resolutions, and the unveiling of the president’s FY 2014 proposed budget, questions of compromise and “grand bargain” possibilities will surface. … April showers will bring a May federal debt ceiling breach. … which will  lead right into NCSL’s May 2-4 Spring Forum in Denver, Colo.