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Copyright 2000 The National Journal, Inc.  
The National Journal

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April 8, 2000

SECTION: CONGRESS; Pg. 1130; Vol. 32, No. 15

LENGTH: 531 words

HEADLINE: The Sausage Factory: House-Senate Committee Action, April 3-6

BYLINE: National Journal News Service


Hot Bills
House: Referred bills to cut federal gasoline taxes to the Ways
and Means Committee.

     Senate: Passed a budget amendment opposing gasoline tax
cuts on April 6, 66-34; floor action is pending on S. 2285.

     Outlook: Formidable bipartisan opposition will very
likely scuttle the election-year initiative by Senate Majority
Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., to cut fuel taxes by 4.3 cents a
gallon for the rest of this year and to tap the budget surplus to
pay for highway projects. The plan failed a key test vote in the
Senate's budget debate, and its endorsement by House leaders now
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 told an audience on April 4
that he will soon sign the bill, which allows full Social
Security benefits for people who keep working beyond the current
retirement age of 65.

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: Staff-level talks are now yielding compromises
on access to obstetricians and specialty care, but big obstacles
remain on such issues as the patient appeals process and the
scope of the bill. GOP leaders remain committed to finishing work
by late April.

House: Approved H.Con.Res. 290 on March 24, 211-207.

     Senate: Began debating S.Con.Res. 101 on April 4.

     Outlook: Lawmakers will be hard-pressed to get a joint
budget resolution passed by an April 15 deadline. Democrats will
keep pushing domestic spending priorities over tax cuts, as
Republican appropriators demand more flexibility in drafting the
spending bills.

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

     Senate: Finance Committee filed S. 2346 with the Senate
on April 4.

     Outlook: Senate Republicans intend to pass by April 14 a
bill that's more generous than the House bill, despite the
President's threat to veto anything as large as the House bill.
But the Senate bill must survive a barrage of likely Democratic
amendments, including attempts to scale back the legislation's
cost and to provide tax breaks for child care and college.

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 quite unlikely to satisfy White
House demands that they separate tax cuts from the wage increase.

LOAD-DATE: April 19, 2000

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