Property:U.S. Chamber of Commerce 2007 House Scorecard description

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A

America Competes Act +By a 367-57 vote, the House passed H.R. 2272, the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act. The Chamber strongly supported this legislation, which emphasizes more funding for math and science education and science focused research and development, allowing the United States to remain competitive. The legislation lays the foundation for significantly increased federal investment for math and science research and education by authorizing funding for numerous programs such as the National Science Foundation; the National Institute of Standards and Technology; the Technology Innovation Program; and a new cutting-edge energy research agency, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy. If America is to remain competitive in the global, knowledge-based economy, it needs to restore excellence in math and science education and research. The COMPETES Act, which was signed into law on August 9, will do much to bolster these efforts.
Andean Trade Preference Act extension (2007) +In June the House passed, under suspension of the rules, H.R. 1830, the Andean Trade Preference Act Extension, 365-59. The Chamber strongly supported this legislation, which extends the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA), previously set to expire on June 30, 2007, through the end of February 2008. Both the foreign policy and the economic policy interests of the United States benefi t from an extension of this act. For more than 15 years, the Andean Trade Preferences Act has surpassed expectations as a tool to generate trade, growth, and jobs in its benefi ciary countries. In Colombia and Peru alone, ATPA and the industries it supports have led directly to the creation of approximately 1.5 million jobs. H.R. 1830 passed the Senate under a unanimous consent agreement and was signed into law by the president on June 30. The Chamber will continue its efforts to garner approval for the trade promotion agreements with Panama and Colombia.

C

Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007 +On August 1, 2007, the House passed H.R. 3162, the Children’s Health and Medicare Protection Act of 2007, by a vote of 225-204. The Chamber strongly opposed this legislation because it would have raised the federal excise tax on tobacco and made signifi cant cuts to Medicare Advantage plans to fund this important public program. Prejudicing a narrow sector of the economy to fund a broad-based entitlement program hurts consumers, businesses, and regions in the United States whose economic well-being relies upon tobacco-based agricultural and industrial activities. Additionally, cutting Medicare Advantage plans acts as a double blow to the employer priorities of reducing health care costs through market competition and promoting superior health care for all Americans. Multiple iterations of this legislation were considered by the House and Senate, but the tobacco tax and cuts to Medicare Advantage were considered throughout. The legislation was vetoed by the president, and attempts to override the veto were unsuccessful.
Children's Health and Medicare Protection Act of 2007 +On August 1, 2007, the House passed H.R. 3162, the Children’s Health and Medicare Protection Act of 2007, by a vote of 225-204. The Chamber strongly opposed this legislation because it would have raised the federal excise tax on tobacco and made signifi cant cuts to Medicare Advantage plans to fund this important public program. Prejudicing a narrow sector of the economy to fund a broad-based entitlement program hurts consumers, businesses, and regions in the United States whose economic well-being relies upon tobacco-based agricultural and industrial activities. Additionally, cutting Medicare Advantage plans acts as a double blow to the employer priorities of reducing health care costs through market competition and promoting superior health care for all Americans. Multiple iterations of this legislation were considered by the House and Senate, but the tobacco tax and cuts to Medicare Advantage were considered throughout. The legislation was vetoed by the president, and attempts to override the veto were unsuccessful.
Congressional actions on the federal budget/110th Congress +With the Chamber’s support, the House passed 267-154 an amendment to H.R. 2829, the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act of 2008, that would have extended a moratorium on small business compliance with costly and overly burdensome requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Section 404 requires management and an external auditor to report on the adequacy of a company’s internal control over financial reporting. While the Chamber supports effective internal controls and the intent of Sarbanes-Oxley, it strongly believes that smaller companies should not have to bear the disproportionately burdensome costs of Section 404 until the implementation of Section 404 has been fixed. Although this amendment did not become law, in mid-December, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it would delay the implementation of reporting requirements imposed on small businesses by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The Chamber will continue working to protect small businesses from being unfairly and disproportionately burdened, In July, the House passed H.R. 3074, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 268-153, with the Chamber’s full support. This legislation provides the necessary funding to ensure that the U.S. transportation system is the safest and most efficient in the world. The business community depends on a safe, reliable transportation system to remain competitive and productive. H.R. 3074 addresses the enormous demands of the U.S. transportation infrastructure system by providing funding for highway and transit programs authorized by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). In addition, it provides full funding for the Federal Aviation Administration to improve the safety, performance, and capacity of the nation’s aviation system. This bill was ultimately folded into the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 and signed into law by the president on December 26., In a related measure in November, the House agreed to the conference report for H.R. 3074, by a 270-147 vote. The passage of this package was crucial to ensuring that the necessary funding levels for transportation programs were met in the final Consolidated Appropriations Act.,

E

Employment discrimination legislation (U.S.) +Despite strong opposition by the Chamber, the House passed 225-199, H.R. 2831, the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. This bill would amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and several other anti-discrimination laws to effectively abolish the statute of limitations in many cases. H.R. 2831 is purported to overturn the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., which rejected the “paycheck theory” of compensation discrimination that would have permitted claims to be filed many years after an alleged act of discrimination occurs. If signed into law, H.R. 2831 would not only reverse this commonsense decision, but it could be applied broadly and create a situation where claims could be fi led decades after an allegedly discriminatory act occurred. This legislation is now awaiting action in the Senate. The Chamber will continue to oppose this wrongheaded approach and work to preserve the intent of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

F

Federal housing and mortgage legislation (U.S.) +Despite the Chamber’s strong opposition, the House approved 220-190 an amendment to H.R. 3221, New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act, to establish an unworkable 15 percent nationwide renewable electricity mandate. A requirement that 15 percent of electricity in every state come from renewables (wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, ocean, tidal, and incremental hydropower) is unworkable. Such a mandate would have ignored clean energy sources such as nuclear energy and clean coal and would have resulted in a wealth transfer from states without capacity for renewable energy to states abundant in renewable resources. A similar mandate was rejected by the Senate, and it was not included in the energy legislation that became law.

I

Internet Access Moratorium Tax bill +With the support of the Chamber, the House passed H.R. 3678, the Internet Tax Freedom Act Amendments Act of 2007, 402-0. The legislation provided for the extension of the Internet tax moratorium for an additional seven years, through November 1, 2014. Every day, millions of Americans make countless transactions online, doing everything from buying products to managing their bank accounts. Extension of the Internet tax moratorium prevents consumers from unnecessary and burdensome taxes on Internet access.
Internet Tax Freedom Act Amendments Act of 2007 +With the support of the Chamber, the House passed H.R. 3678, the Internet Tax Freedom Act Amendments Act of 2007, 402-0. The legislation provided for the extension of the Internet tax moratorium for an additional seven years, through November 1, 2014. Every day, millions of Americans make countless transactions online, doing everything from buying products to managing their bank accounts. Extension of the Internet tax moratorium prevents consumers from unnecessary and burdensome taxes on Internet access.

L

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007 +Despite strong opposition by the Chamber, the House passed 225-199, H.R. 2831, the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. This bill would amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and several other anti-discrimination laws to effectively abolish the statute of limitations in many cases. H.R. 2831 is purported to overturn the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., which rejected the “paycheck theory” of compensation discrimination that would have permitted claims to be filed many years after an alleged act of discrimination occurs. If signed into law, H.R. 2831 would not only reverse this commonsense decision, but it could be applied broadly and create a situation where claims could be fi led decades after an allegedly discriminatory act occurred. This legislation is now awaiting action in the Senate. The Chamber will continue to oppose this wrongheaded approach and work to preserve the intent of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

M

Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2007 +Despite strong opposition by the Chamber, the House passed H.R. 4, the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2007, by a vote of 255-170. The bill would have not only removed the non-interference provision, a vital component of the Medicare Modernization Act, but would have gone further to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate drug prices. Ensuring robust competition in the overwhelmingly popular Medicare Part D program is among the Chamber’s highest priorities for meeting the health care needs of retirees, employees, and businesses across the country. This program allows pharmacy benefit managers, who provide drug coverage for 190 million Americans, to negotiate drug prices while offering competing versions and multiple plan offerings to seniors. This protects Medicare beneficiaries from government-imposed price controls. The Senate considered similar legislation, S. 3, that would have removed, but would not have required, the non-interference provision. Neither were signed into law.
Medicare legislation +Despite strong opposition by the Chamber, the House passed H.R. 4, the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2007, by a vote of 255-170. The bill would have not only removed the non-interference provision, a vital component of the Medicare Modernization Act, but would have gone further to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate drug prices. Ensuring robust competition in the overwhelmingly popular Medicare Part D program is among the Chamber’s highest priorities for meeting the health care needs of retirees, employees, and businesses across the country. This program allows pharmacy benefit managers, who provide drug coverage for 190 million Americans, to negotiate drug prices while offering competing versions and multiple plan offerings to seniors. This protects Medicare beneficiaries from government-imposed price controls. The Senate considered similar legislation, S. 3, that would have removed, but would not have required, the non-interference provision. Neither were signed into law.

N

National Security Foreign Investment Reform and Strengthened Transparency Act of 2007 +With strong backing by the Chamber, the House passed H.R. 556, the National Security Foreign Investment Reform and Strengthened Transparency Act, by a 423-0 vote. This bipartisan bill makes certain that the administration’s process for vetting proposed foreign investments in the United States meets national security objectives while preserving an open, fair, and nondiscriminatory investment environment. Foreign investment in the United States supports employment for more than 5.1 million Americans who typically earn compensation well above the national average. In 2005, a number of foreign-owned companies reinvested $59 billion in profits back into the U.S. economy, providing U.S. firms with capital for expansion of production facilities and resources for increased research and development spending.
New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act +Despite the Chamber’s strong opposition, the House approved 220-190 an amendment to H.R. 3221, New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act, to establish an unworkable 15 percent nationwide renewable electricity mandate. A requirement that 15 percent of electricity in every state come from renewables (wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, ocean, tidal, and incremental hydropower) is unworkable. Such a mandate would have ignored clean energy sources such as nuclear energy and clean coal and would have resulted in a wealth transfer from states without capacity for renewable energy to states abundant in renewable resources. A similar mandate was rejected by the Senate, and it was not included in the energy legislation that became law.

P

Part D Medicare Drugs Price bill +Despite strong opposition by the Chamber, the House passed H.R. 4, the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2007, by a vote of 255-170. The bill would have not only removed the non-interference provision, a vital component of the Medicare Modernization Act, but would have gone further to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate drug prices. Ensuring robust competition in the overwhelmingly popular Medicare Part D program is among the Chamber’s highest priorities for meeting the health care needs of retirees, employees, and businesses across the country. This program allows pharmacy benefit managers, who provide drug coverage for 190 million Americans, to negotiate drug prices while offering competing versions and multiple plan offerings to seniors. This protects Medicare beneficiaries from government-imposed price controls. The Senate considered similar legislation, S. 3, that would have removed, but would not have required, the non-interference provision. Neither were signed into law.
Peru-United States Free Trade Agreement +With strong support from the Chamber, the House passed H.R. 3688, the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act by a 285-132 vote in November. This trade agreement brings tangible commercial benefits to American workers, farmers, and firms while advancing key U.S. foreign policy interests. The agreement provides a level playing field for American workers and farmers, ensuring that the United States gets liberalized access to the dynamic Peruvian market. Currently, most Peruvian products enter the U.S. market duty free, while American exports face an average tariff of 11 percent for manufactured goods and 16 percent for agricultural goods. This agreement corrects this unfair trade imbalance by eliminating nearly all tariffs on U.S. exports to Peru within a few years. The U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that this agreement will add $1.1 billion to U.S. exports and $2.1 billion to U.S. GDP.

R

Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2007 +Despite strong opposition from the Chamber, the House approved by a vote of 221-189, H.R. 2776, the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2007. If enacted, this legislation would have established punitive taxes on the oil and natural gas sector. The Chamber supports efforts to increase renewables and energy conservation. However, fossil fuels constitute 86 percent of the nation’s energy mix and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. H.R. 2776 unfairly and punitively singled out the oil and natural gas industry for what would have amounted to a modern-day version of the 1980–1988 Windfall Profi t Tax. This 1980s-era tax reduced domestic oil production and increased foreign oil imports. Throughout 2007, the Chamber strongly opposed several schemes considered in the House and Senate to single out the oil and natural gas sector for new taxes. Despite the vote on H.R. 2776, no punitive tax increases were included in energy policy legislation ultimately signed into law by President Bush on December 19.

T

Terrorism Risk Insurance Revision and Extension Act of 2007 +This legislation extends the previous Terrorism Risk Insurance Act for seven years. Despite efforts to better protect the homeland, not enough has changed since the attacks of September 11, 2001, to justify allowing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act to expire. Catastrophic terrorism remains an uninsurable risk because, unlike most insurable natural disasters, its frequency and location cannot be predicted, and its potential scale can be devastating. Congress and the administration recognized the terrorism insurance crisis and passed the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002, which was extended in 2004. This legislation created a partnership between the government and the private sector to provide businesses with a much-needed sense of security in the event of a catastrophic domestic terror attack.

U

U.S. House of Representatives record vote 1014, 110th Congress, Session 1 +With the support of the Chamber, the House passed H.R. 3678, the Internet Tax Freedom Act Amendments Act of 2007, 402-0. The legislation provided for the extension of the Internet tax moratorium for an additional seven years, through November 1, 2014. Every day, millions of Americans make countless transactions online, doing everything from buying products to managing their bank accounts. Extension of the Internet tax moratorium prevents consumers from unnecessary and burdensome taxes on Internet access.
U.S. House of Representatives record vote 1040, 110th Congress, Session 1 +On November 6, the House voted to override the president’s veto of H.R. 1495, the Water Resources Development Act, 361-54, with the full support of the Chamber. This comprehensive water resources legislation is long overdue and provides the coordinated federal agenda needed to better protect the United States against severe weather and flooding and to facilitate commerce at the nation’s waterways and ports. H.R. 1495 provides the Army Corps of Engineers with the resources needed to undertake hundreds of fl ood control, navigation, and environmental mitigation projects over the next two years and ensures that transportation demands are met. Following House action to override the president’s veto, the Senate on December 8 voted to override the veto. The measure became law. The Water Resources Development Act—typically authorized on a two-year basis—is an important Chamber priority and had not been reauthorized since 2000.
U.S. House of Representatives record vote 1060, 110th Congress, Session 1 +With strong support from the Chamber, the House passed H.R. 3688, the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act by a 285-132 vote in November. This trade agreement brings tangible commercial benefits to American workers, farmers, and firms while advancing key U.S. foreign policy interests. The agreement provides a level playing field for American workers and farmers, ensuring that the United States gets liberalized access to the dynamic Peruvian market. Currently, most Peruvian products enter the U.S. market duty free, while American exports face an average tariff of 11 percent for manufactured goods and 16 percent for agricultural goods. This agreement corrects this unfair trade imbalance by eliminating nearly all tariffs on U.S. exports to Peru within a few years. The U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that this agreement will add $1.1 billion to U.S. exports and $2.1 billion to U.S. GDP.
U.S. House of Representatives record vote 110, 110th Congress, Session 1 +With strong backing by the Chamber, the House passed H.R. 556, the National Security Foreign Investment Reform and Strengthened Transparency Act, by a 423-0 vote. This bipartisan bill makes certain that the administration’s process for vetting proposed foreign investments in the United States meets national security objectives while preserving an open, fair, and nondiscriminatory investment environment. Foreign investment in the United States supports employment for more than 5.1 million Americans who typically earn compensation well above the national average. In 2005, a number of foreign-owned companies reinvested $59 billion in profits back into the U.S. economy, providing U.S. firms with capital for expansion of production facilities and resources for increased research and development spending.
U.S. House of Representatives record vote 1102, 110th Congress, Session 1 +In a related measure in November, the House agreed to the conference report for H.R. 3074, by a 270-147 vote. The passage of this package was crucial to ensuring that the necessary funding levels for transportation programs were met in the final Consolidated Appropriations Act.
U.S. House of Representatives record vote 23, 110th Congress, Session 1 +Despite strong opposition by the Chamber, the House passed H.R. 4, the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2007, by a vote of 255-170. The bill would have not only removed the non-interference provision, a vital component of the Medicare Modernization Act, but would have gone further to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate drug prices. Ensuring robust competition in the overwhelmingly popular Medicare Part D program is among the Chamber’s highest priorities for meeting the health care needs of retirees, employees, and businesses across the country. This program allows pharmacy benefit managers, who provide drug coverage for 190 million Americans, to negotiate drug prices while offering competing versions and multiple plan offerings to seniors. This protects Medicare beneficiaries from government-imposed price controls. The Senate considered similar legislation, S. 3, that would have removed, but would not have required, the non-interference provision. Neither were signed into law.
U.S. House of Representatives record vote 526, 110th Congress, Session 1 +By a 257-174 vote, the House rejected an amendment to H.R. 2641, the Energy and Water appropriations bill, which would have prevented vital national interest electricity transmission corridors from being designated. The Chamber strongly opposed this amendment. National interest transmission corridors were established in the Chamber-supported Energy Policy Act of 2005 to provide a federal backstop for siting of new electricity transmission lines to address serious near-term problems of ensuring adequate delivery of electricity. The Chamber will continue to fight efforts in Congress to undo the national interest electricity transmission corridor provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
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