This Week In Washington…

Posted on April 2, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized |

TOP 5 STORIES as Congress Headed to Recess

The Congress may be in recess, but renovation of the Capitol dome goes on.

The Congress may be in recess, but renovation of the Capitol dome goes on.

The House and Senate passed the GOP Budget Blueprint that reduces spending on benefit programs, reduces the deficit and avoids tax increases.

  • Now that the extravaganza of a 15-hour flurry of non-debated and non-binding voting is a wrap, a look at what rose to the Senate floor is an interesting reveal of passions and issues that will no doubt emerge in the 2016 election.
  • After a career spanning 33 years, Harry Reid’s retirement announcement may have seemed abrupt but according to some insiders, it was the only option for the Nevada senator to avoid further scandal. Look Ahead: New York Sen. Chuck Schumer appears to have the inside track to replace Reid as Senate Democratic leader.
  • And speaking of scandal, New Jersey’s senior Sen. Robert Menendez has triggered some nerves with a 14-count indictment on corruption charges, the first senator in 30 years to be charged with bribery. Menendez is the top Democrat on the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee and an intra-party critic of Obama’s Iran’s nuclear negotiations and policy in Cuba. Look Ahead: Menendez faces a growing chorus of calls for his resignation.
  • The beat goes on for now with Boehner’s “doc fix” as the House passed a bill on March 26 to maintain current payments to doctors who treat Medicare patients. But the Senate adjourned without taking action to permanently repeal and replace Medicare’s sustainable growth rate physician payment formula, a disappointment to most healthcare groups and especially the doctors who will face a huge cut of 21 percent. Look Ahead: The Senate will take up the issue after the recess.
  • Congress may be in recess but politics are anything but restful and the DCCC is taking advantage of the break to go back to school. Democrats will fan out to take up the issue of college affordability in the eye of the storm, college campuses.

The Law: Proposed Rulemakings

  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director Michelle Lee announced a series proposed rulemakings aimed at improving post-grant proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board are on their way.
  • The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is working on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the interplay of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Affordable Care Act dealing with wellness programs.

Coming up: 2015 Governor’s Races

Only three states, Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi will hold elections for governorships on November 3, 2015.

Resources: A quick and easy way to get info fast:

  1. Check here for dates and locations of election events: http://www.uspresidentialelectionnews.com/guide-to-the-2016-presidential-election/
  1. Springtime in Washington usually means out of town visitors and lots of questions that need answers. Here’s a resource for White House tours and other information: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/US-Congress.shtml
  1. And a FAQ about restoration of the Capitol Dome: http://www.aoc.gov/dome/faqs
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