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Copyright 2000 The National Journal, Inc.  
The National Journal

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April 1, 2000

SECTION: CONGRESS; Pg. 1059; Vol. 32, No. 14

LENGTH: 519 words



     Here is the status of major legislation on the
congressional front burner:
House: Sent five bills, which cut federal gasoline taxes from
between 4.3 cents a gallon to 10 cents, to the Ways and Means

     Senate: Floor action is pending on S. 2285.

     Outlook: After groping for a response to rising gas
prices, Republican leaders now agree that cutting gas taxes by
4.3 cents a gallon for one year, and suspending the entire 18.4
cent tax for a year if prices hit $ 2, might mollify angry
motorists. But their plan to tap the budget surplus to fill the
funding gaps for highway projects could backfire, creating more
rage down the road.
House: Approved final version of H.R. 5 on March 28, 419-0.

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

     Outlook: President Clinton is expected to sign the bill,
which allows full Social Security benefits for people who keep
working beyond the current retirement age of 65, by mid-April.
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: House-Senate negotiators reportedly have moved
closer to a deal on an appeals process for health maintenance
organization patients who are denied medical care, but other
obstacles remain to reaching a compromise bill.
House: Approved H.Con.Res. 290 on March 24, 211-207.

     Senate: Budget Committee approved a draft budget on March
30, 12-10.

     Outlook: Senate GOP leaders struck a deal with
conservatives to commit surplus funds toward debt relief, enforce
fiscal discipline, and limit use of gimmicks to hide spending
increases. But critics foresee a return to gimmicks when
appropriators try to implement an ambitious spending and tax
cutting plan.
House: Approved H.R. 6 on Feb. 10, 268-158.

     Senate: Finance Committee approved a draft bill on March
30, 11-9.

     Outlook: Senate Republicans have set an April 14 target
date to pass a bill with more tax cuts than the House version,
despite the President's threat to veto anything as large as the
House bill. But the Senate bill must survive a likely floor
challenge from critics of its price tag.
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 mixed small-business tax relief and a three-year wage hike
with bankruptcy reform legislation. Senators are trying to
untangle the issues but seem unlikely to satisfy White House
demands that they separate tax cuts from the wage hike.

LOAD-DATE: April 3, 2000

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