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Copyright 2000 The National Journal, Inc.  
The National Journal

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March 25, 2000

SECTION: CONGRESS; Pg. 966; Vol. 32, No. 13

LENGTH: 586 words

HEADLINE: House-Senate Committee Action, March 20-23

BYLINE: National Journal News Service


     Spring arrived at the Capitol, but it was still the dark
days of winter in several committees, as Democrats and
Republicans squared off over education tax credits and reforms to
the Immigration and Naturalization Service. One ray of sunshine
broke through when House and Senate panels compromised on help
for families who adopt children from overseas.
Hot Bills
Here is the status of major legislation on the congressional
front burner:

House: Approved H.R. 5 on March 1, 422-0.      Senate: Approved H.R. 5 on March 22, 100-0.

     Outlook: This popular bipartisan bill, which allows full
Social Security benefits for people who keep working beyond the
current retirement age of 65, heads soon to President Clinton,
who has indicated he will sign it.

House: Approved a bipartisan patients' rights bill (H.R. 2723) on
Oct. 7, 1999, 275-151, then merged it with an insurance access
bill (H.R. 2990).

     Senate: Approved S. 1344 with narrower reforms favored by
health insurers on July 15, 1999, 53-47.

     Outlook: Despite mounting pressure to clear the three
biggest obstacles to a compromise bill-involving the bill's
scope, who decides when care is a "medical necessity," and
liability provisions-few encouraging signs of progress have
surfaced. GOP leaders, who had hoped to have a final bill by
March 31, remain committed to finishing work by Easter.

House: Approved H.R. 1714 on Nov. 9, 1999, 356-66.

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

     Outlook: Despite delays in naming Senate negotiators, key
GOP players are now crafting a compromise bill, which would set a
legal standard for e-commerce and online contracts. Senate
Democrats are already plotting moves aimed at adding stronger
consumer protections to any final version.

House: Debated H.Con.Res. 290 on March 23.

     Senate: Canceled Budget Committee drafting sessions on
March 22 and 23.

     Outlook: The Republican budget-writing process is
threatening to implode (as it did in 1998), as conservatives
vigorously challenge top leaders with demands for a tighter lid
on nondefense spending in fiscal 2001. Senate Majority Leader
Trent Lott, R-Miss., is willing to bypass a divided Budget
Committee and bring a budget resolution directly to the floor,
but the GOP may not have the political muscle needed to pass a
federal budget.

House: Approved H.R. 3846 on March 9, 282-143, then attached it
to a small-business tax cut bill (H.R. 3081).

     Senate: Approved amended version of H.R. 833 on Feb. 2,

     Outlook: House Republicans sweetened a tax cut bill by
adding a $ 1 minimum-wage increase over two years, while the
Senate GOP mixed small-business tax relief and a three-year wage
hike with bankruptcy reform legislation. The White House says
this legislative stew has too many ingredients.

House: Approved H.R. 6 on Feb. 10, 268-158.

     Senate: Finance Committee plans to draft a bill soon.

     Outlook: Senate Republicans are taking their time
deciding whether to move tax cuts one at a time or in a big
package. They also are likely to ignore the President's threat to
veto a cut as large as the House marriage penalty bill.

LOAD-DATE: March 29, 2000

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