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Copyright 2000 The National Journal, Inc.  
The National Journal

 View Related Topics 

MARCH 4, 2000

SECTION: CONGRESS; Pg. 704; Vol. 32, No. 10

LENGTH: 515 words

HEADLINE: The Sausage Factory: House-Senate Committee Action: Feb. 28-Mar 2

BYLINE: National Journal News Service


Hot Bills
Here is the status of major legislation on the congressional
front burner:

     Patients' Rights
House: Approved a bipartisan patients' rights and insurance
access bill (H.R. 2990) last October, 275-151.

     Senate: Approved GOP leadership bill (S. 1344) with
narrower reforms favored by insurers last July, 51-49.

     Outlook: As a House-Senate conference committee convened
on March 2, plenty of differences remained. But GOP leaders,
apparently feeling election-year pressure, have predicted
agreement on giving patients at least a limited right to sue
insurers, and President Clinton this week signaled a willingness
to compromise.      Digital Signatures
House: Approved H.R. 1714 on Nov. 9, 1999, 356-66.

     Senate: Approved S. 761 on Nov. 19, 1999, by unanimous

     Outlook: Senate Democrats have taken their time naming
conference negotiators, reportedly to let Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-
Vt., seek informal agreements on consumer issues raised by the
bill, which would set legal standards for e-commerce and online

     Africa Trade
House: Approved H.R. 434 on July 16, 1999, 234-163.

     Senate: Approved an amended H.R. 434 on Nov. 3, 1999, 76-

     Outlook: The Senate bill, which includes a Caribbean
trade initiative (S. 1389), still must be reconciled with the
House measure. Negotiators have begun meeting informally, and
Republican leaders say a final bill could clear Congress by early

     School Aid
House: Approved H.R. 1995 on July 20, 1999, 239-185; and H.R. 2
on Oct. 21, 1999, 358-67.

     Senate: Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee
began to mark up S. 2 on March 1.

     Outlook: A fierce floor debate over who controls the way
federal aid to schools is spent awaits the Senate, which is
trying to pass a single, comprehensive renewal of the Elementary
and Secondary Education Act instead of separate bills, as the
House prefers. Senate Democrats say they will try to incorporate
President Clinton's school spending priorities.

     Rural Satellite TV
House: Agriculture Committee approved H.R. 3615 on Feb. 16, 41-0.

     Senate: A unanimous consent agreement requires action by
March 30.

     Outlook: Sens. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, and Conrad Burns, R-
Mont., have a bill to provide $ 1.25 billion in federal loan
guarantees for rural satellite television service. Jurisdictional
issues may slow down final approval, as the House Commerce
Committee wants a say in the outcome. But constituents are keenly
interested in this issue.

     Social Security Earnings Limit
House: Approved H.R. 5 on March 1, 422-0.

     Senate: S. 279 has been referred to the Finance

     Outlook: The bill, which allows full Social Security
benefits for people who keep working beyond retirement age, has
strong bipartisan support, and President Clinton says he'll sign
it if lawmakers don't weigh it down with election-year goodies.

LOAD-DATE: March 7, 2000

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