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Legislative Agenda & Election Year Politics

Congress began its election-year session with many believing it will be long on political maneuvering and less on accomplishments.  The first issue for the Senate is the extension of unemployment benefits which expired the end of last year.  The Senate is considering a bill that would restore between 14 and 47 weeks of benefits to an estimated 1.3 million long-term jobless.  This will be a very political issue within the Senate and between the Senate and the House.  

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A key issue for this week will be completing the appropriations for the remainder of fiscal year 2014.  Funding for the federal government to continue to operate expires this Wednesday.  The House Republican leadership plans to continue to focus on health care reform.  They believe this will be a key issue in the November Congressional elections.  Other issues for Congress this year are the farm bill, Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), immigration reform, fiscal year 2015 appropriations, trade promotion authority, expired tax cuts (research and development, biodiesel, wind energy, etc), and tax reform.  We can expect each party to raise certain issues for election year purposes (health care and immigration reform) with little chance that legislation will be finalized.  

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