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Thread: GOP House leaving town with work incomplete

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    Thumbs down GOP House leaving town with work incomplete

    WTF is wrong with our congress?! Lame-duck congress is right!

    House leaving town with work incomplete

    Story Highlights
    •House to vote on bill requiring measures to reduce fetal pain during abortions
    •Representatives will also vote on Vietnam trade bill
    •Tax breaks package expected to pass
    •Congress will adjourn before passing budget bills for 13 cabinet agencies


    WASHINGTON (AP) -- The defining theme of the waning days of Republican congressional rule is a GOP leadership hawking an abortion restriction that has no chance of becoming law, loading up tax breaks with unrelated matters and dumping an unfinished budget on Democrats.

    And it's all with the blessing of the White House.
    (HOLY SHIT! did CNN just really report that?!? My brain is spinning!)

    "It's appropriate that the do-nothing Congress is ending by doing nothing," said Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, the next House majority leader.

    That's not exactly true.

    Congress on Wednesday renewed the $2.1 billion-a-year Ryan White CARE Act for the prevention and treatment of AIDS, after the Senate unanimously approved it.

    Congress on Tuesday sent Bush legislation to spend $38 million to preserve the notorious internment camps where the government kept Japanese-Americans behind barbed wire during World War II -- a stark reminder of how the United States turned on some of its citizens in a time of fear.

    On Wednesday the House is taking up a package of trade benefits for developing countries highlighted by a measure to establish permanent normal trade relations with Vietnam. The House earlier rejected the Vietnam bill under an expedited procedure requiring a two-thirds majority, but it's backed by the administration and has a good chance of winning congressional approval.

    And the Senate passed a bill to improve the government's preparedness and performance standards in the event of a pandemic or biological attack.

    Meanwhile, House and Senate negotiators were working out final details on a package of tax breaks, many which expired at the beginning of the year, aimed at helping middle class taxpayers and businesses.

    But Republicans about to lose their thrones are doing nothing not sanctioned by Bush before the 109th Congress shuts down after a final, four-day work week. On Wednesday, the administration released a statement saying the president strongly supports the fetal pain bill, which would require women at 20 weeks of pregnancy and beyond to be informed that an abortion would cause the fetus pain.

    Budget bills punted to new Congress
    Late Tuesday, Republicans killed a $4.8 billion drought relief package under threat of a presidential veto. They are punting nine unfinished spending bills until next year, forcing newly minted Democrats to untangle next year's federal budget.

    And the House postponed a showdown vote on opening 8 million more acres in the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling, worried about achieving the two-thirds supermajority needed to pass the measure under special rules.

    But those same rules did not hold House GOP leaders back from setting a vote Wednesday on a bill to limit fetal pain during late-term abortions, a measure GOP leaders shied away from offering before the November midterm elections and which stands no chance of passing the Senate even under GOP control.

    Proponents, however, said bringing it up has educational and symbolic value. Sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, the bill would require abortion providers to tell women seeking abortions after 20 weeks of gestation that such a process will cause the fetus pain, a statement that some scientists dispute. The woman would then be required to either accept or reject fetal anesthesia in writing.

    Bringing up the bill is a final jab at Democrats who have professed to favor informed consent laws, according to the measure's sponsors. Smith also said its very floor debate, short though it would be under special rules, has educational value to anyone who might hear it.

    And Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, a possible presidential contender, has said he would try to bring it up in the Senate this week if the measure gets the required two-thirds majority House rules require.

    Since any senator can halt legislation, any such move by Brownback would be almost guaranteed to be blocked by abortion rights senators.

    Still, Smith's bill isn't as controversial as it sounds. NARAL-Pro Choice America, an abortion rights group, doesn't oppose it. And House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi, D-California, was not planning a floor speech on the bill.

    In other congressional action:


    The House put off until Thursday a vote on a temporary spending bill for 13 Cabinet departments whose budgets are long overdue. The measure will keep domestic agencies on autopilot at or just below current levels through February 15.

    The action would kick decisions on more than $460 billion in unfinished budget business to incoming Democratic leaders, subtracting from the new majority's time for their own agenda.

    It's likely that Democrats will jam all of the unfinished budget work into a mammoth "omnibus" spending bill.

    Republicans "forfeit any right to complain about any action that we are forced to take on appropriations bills next year to clean up their chaotic mess," said Rep. David Obey, D-Wisconsin.


    House and Senate negotiators were working out final details on a package of tax breaks, many which expired at the beginning of the year, aimed at helping middle class taxpayers and businesses.

    The provisions include deductions for research and development initiatives and for higher education costs. There are also tax breaks for teachers who personally buy classroom supplies and state and local sales tax deductions for taxpayers in states with no state income tax.

    The tax measure enjoys wide bipartisan support, a reason that lawmakers were considering combining it with other more difficult bills. Among the additions could be the bill to expand offshore oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, trade benefits for developing countries and a bill to prevent cuts in Medicare payments to physicians.

    Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


    Find this article at:
    http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/12/....ap/index.html
    Last edited by AliceInWonderland; December 6th, 2006 at 04:35 PM.

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