This Week in CongressApril 22, 2008 - by Donny Shaw
(Cross-posted from Congresspedia, The citizen’s encyclopedia on Congress. Links to Congresspedia articles are in parentheses.)
This week in Congress, Democrats are looking at cutting a deal with President Bush over the Columbia Free Trade Agreement and the Senate will hold new hearings on global warming legislation hearings on Earth Day. Meanwhile, a new battle for extending Iraq War funding looms on the horizon.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is considering what to do about a trade agreement with Colombia (CP). She pressed the House to adopt a rule change earlier this month that prevents President Bush from requiring a vote on the agreement. Now, Democrats are investigating potential deals involving the trade agreement, while the White House has asked that Pelosi change her mind.
Some Democrats have proposed exchanging reworked trade adjustment assistance for a vote on the FTA. Others have suggested a deal for the reform of the Foreign Service Intelligence Act (CP) or an expanded State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
A standoff also looms over war funding for the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Congress is set to debate $108 billion for the rest of 2008, with another $70 billion in Pentagon requests for 2009 also on the horizon, and Democratic leaders will probably tie domestic programs—specifically, extended unemployment benefits—to any defense cash.
Following calls by President Bush to voluntarily reduce carbon emissions, the Senate Finance Committee this week will hear testimony on the taxation implications of cap-and-trade programs, which place limits on carbon emissions but also gives credits to organizations that produce carbon lower levels. Those credits can then be purchased or traded in a market-system.
The Senate Environment Committee last year approved legislation—America’s Climate Security Act of 2007 (CP)—to establish a cap-and-trade program, and the full chamber is expected to begin debate on the measure in early June. President Bush has opposed such a program of mandatory emissions caps, and prefers a technology-based approach. He’ll face pressure to sign any climate legislation approved in Congress this year, which many see as more favorable to business than anything that will come during the next administration.
For a complete list of Senate and House hearings this week, see the original post on Congresspedia.