Congress recessed for 16 days in mid-April and when it returned, the major issues facing both houses were President Bush’s proposal for $726 billion in tax cuts, defense spending and Congressional “pork.”
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has raised its estimates of budget deficits. Earlier this year, the prediction was for a deficit of $46 billion for the current fiscal year. However, individual tax receipts were recently projected to run some $40 billion below expectations, and that has caused experts to guess that the deficit could go upwards of $70 billion.
Ah, yes, there is considerable trouble in River City, and it isn’t a pool hall like in the 1950s Broadway musical. In this case, the river is the Potomac, the city is Washington and the trouble is that the Senate Republicans and Democrats do not seem to be able to join hands to break through their agonizingly slow pace and move forward to pass stalled legislation.
Pushed by President Bush for legislation intended to stimulate the nation’s economy, Congress has taken action on two bills that may affect the purchase of new aircraft by boosting depreciation deductions. While the bills use the term “qualified property” as eligible for depreciation deductions, new aircraft could possibly fit that definition.
• At the end of March, lawmakers took a spring break that ended in mid-April, leaving in a holding pattern approval of House and Senate supplemental emergency spending bills totaling $124 billion for the Iraq war. On their return, they
Congress bailed out of Washington in early December and was scheduled to land back in place on January 20. The recess provided ample time for reviewing legislative accomplishments and failures during the first session of the 108th Congress and for taking a look at what might happen in the second session.
At the start of last year, GIFAS merged with GITEP, an association of French defense and security electronics firms, bringing its total membership to 234 companies, including 199 equipment makers. The aerospace sector companies together employed 118,000 people in France–half a percent down on 2003. When the figures included the GITEP workforce, the total was 129,800.
• Congress closed up shop on September 29, and November 13 was set as the date for what might be a lame-duck Congress to reconvene. The long interval freed legislators who are up for election to go to their home districts and do battle for votes. Democrats are hoping that the scandals surrounding Republican congressmen will influence voters to restore the Democrats to majorities in the House and Senate.
— Following tradition, Congress escaped Washington’s heat and humidity by taking its customary recess in August. Left pending was President Bush’s nomination of John Roberts Jr., to replace Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who retired. That gave the Democrats time to take potshots at the nominee’s previous court records and opinions and the press time to dig into his past as part of the media vetting process.
•Congress took a legislative break from November 18 to December 12 but, before leaving, both houses passed H.R.3058, the FY2006 Transportation, Treasury and Housing appropriations bill that provides funding for those agencies through September. The bill authorizes $13.8 billion for the FAA, $276 million more than the agency’s budget for FY2005, and $1.1 billion more than President Bush requested.
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