Washington Week Ahead: House aims to repeal 3 percent withholding rule

By Sara Wyant

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 21, 2011 - The legislative focus on job creation continues this week, with Democrats and Republicans still advocating vastly different ways to pay for some of the proposals.  


Both parties want to repeal a regulation, originally designed in 2005 to stop tax evasion among government contractors, which would require federal, state and some local governments to withhold 3 percent of nearly all of their contract payments, Medicare payments, farm payments and certain grants. After being delayed twice, the law is now scheduled to go into effect in 2013.


For counties, this requirement will only apply to jurisdictions that make payments of more than $100 million annually for property or services, with a proposed single payment threshold of $10,000. Additionally, the proposed rules on the requirement provide a threshold of $10,000 that dictates which payments government entities must withhold from, points out the National Association of Counties.


In the U.S. Senate, an effort to repeal the rule failed to clear a procedural hurdle on Thursday. The Obama Administration and the majority of Democrats were opposed to GOP plans to pay for the lost revenues by withdrawing unobligated discretionary funds. When the measure was first enacted, it was estimated to raise about $7 billion over five years.

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President Barack Obama proposed pushing the rule back another year, to 2014, in his jobs plan.


“The House will vote to repeal the 3 percent withholding rule to remove unnecessary costs on businesses already facing uncertainty,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said regarding House business this week. The cost of the House measure, introduced by Rep. Wally Herger, R-CA, will likely be paid for by enacting tighter requirements on eligibility for Medicaid.


Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will be in Iowa today where he will deliver a speech outlining USDA priorities for the 2012 Farm Bill.


For other events in Washington and around the country this week:


Monday, October 24

9 a.m. Secretary Vilsack will give a speech regarding USDA priorities for the 2012 Farm Bill in Ankeny, IA.

On Monday, the Senate is on recess but the House will meet at 2:00 p.m. for legislative business with votes postponed until 6:30 p.m. Seven bills will be considered under suspension of the rules, including:

  1. H.R. 441- Kantishna Hills Renewable Energy Act of 2011 (Rep. Young (AK) - Natural Resources)
  2. H.R. 295- To amend the Hydrographic Services Improvement Act of 1998 to authorize funds to acquire hydrographic data and provide hydrographic services specific to the Arctic for safe navigation, delineating the United States extended continental shelf, and the monitoring and description of coastal changes, as amended (Rep. Young (AK) - Natural Resources)
  3. H.R. 461- South Utah Valley Electric Conveyance Act (Rep. Chaffetz - Natural Resources)
  4. H.R. 320- Distinguished Flying Cross National Memorial Act (Rep. Calvert - Natural Resources)
  5. H.R. 818- To direct the Secretary of the Interior to allow for prepayment of repayment contracts between the United States and the Uintah Water Conservancy District (Rep. Matheson - Natural Resources)
  6. H.R. 1160- McKinney Lake National Fish Hatchery Conveyance Act, as amended (Rep. Kissell - Natural Resources)
  7. H.R. 2594 - European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011 (Rep. Mica - Transportation and Infrastructure)

4-6:00 p.m. Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will join World Food Program USA in honoring Howard G. Buffett and Bill Gates for their contributions to reducing global hunger on Monday, October 24, 2011 at the Department of State.


Food Day, “the grassroots mobilization for healthier diets and improved food policies,” hosted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, will host events throughout the day.


USDA Reports: Crop Progress

Tuesday, October 25

On Tuesday the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.

10:00 a.m., House Committee on Ways and Means will hold a hearing on the U.S.-China economic relationship. 1100 Longworth House Office Building.


10:00 a.m., The Subcommittee on Energy and Power has scheduled a hearing entitled “H.R. 1633, the “Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011”. 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

First lady Michelle Obama will be in Chicago, where she is scheduled to visit a Walgreens store that includes fresh produce as recommended in part of her Let's Move! Initiative. Then she and Mayor Rahm Emanuel will visit Iron Street Urban Farms, a 7-acre site on the city's south side that has local, year-round produce.


USDA Reports: Cotton Ginnings, Poultry Slaughter

Wednesday, October 26

8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m., Secretary Vilsack, Former Secretary Dan Glickman will speak at National Journal's “Healthy Food, Healthy Planet” Policy Summit at the Newseum.

The House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.

10:00 a.m., Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction will hold a hearing entitled “Overview: Discretionary Outlays, Security and Non-Security” 216 Hart Senate Office Building.


10:00 a.m. Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment,“The Economic Importance of Seaports: Is the United States Prepared for 21st Century Trade Realities?” 2167 Rayburn House Office Building.


9:00-11:00 a.m., North American Pollinator Protection Campaign, Public Session, “Our Future Flies on the Wings of Pollinators.” Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.


USDA Reports: Broiler Hatchery, Monthly Milk Cost of Production


Thursday, October 27

The House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. Last votes for the week are expected no later than 3:00 p.m.

1:00 p.m., Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold a hearing entitled, "Lights Out II: Another Look at EPA's Utility MACT Rule.” 2154 Rayburn House Office Building.


USDA Reports: U.S. Export Sales, Vegetables and Melons Outlook


Friday, October 28


The House is not in session.


USDA Reports: Dairy Products Prices, Rice Stocks, Peanut Stocks and Processing, Peanut Prices, Fruit and Tree Nuts Yearbook Tables


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