By Sara Wyant
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
Washington, Nov. 29 –The House and Senate return Monday from their Thanksgiving break to resume the lame-duck session. The first day back in the upper chamber will bring votes to potentially unravel one of the more onerous small business provisions included in the health care overhaul bill which requires businesses to file Form 1099 reports to the government whenever they spend more than $600 on a single vendor. The new Form 1099 requirements were created as a $17 billion revenue raiser for the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act.
Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) is once again offering legislation to repeal the 1099 tax paperwork mandate. Amendment 4702 by Sen. Johanns will completely repeal the new reporting requirements and offset the cost of the change by permanently rescinding $39 billion in non-Defense Department discretionary spending. Another repeal amendment will be offered by Sen. Max Baucus.
Both amendments were agreed to by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and will be brought to the floor as part of a unanimous consent agreement governing voting on the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, S.510.
The other big Senate vote on the first day back will be on a binding earmark moratorium, sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO). Even though earmarks represent only about one percent of federal spending, the ban is viewed as an important litmus test on whether Congress can start to rein in federal spending.
Only after those votes might the food-safety bill get passed the night of Nov. 29.
On Tuesday, House leaders are scheduled to consider S. 3307, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Earlier this year, the Senate unanimously passed the measure, a five-year reauthorization of the child nutrition programs which provides an additional $4.5 billion over 10 years for the school lunch program and is widely supported by over 90 nutrition organizations. But some anti-hunger advocates are opposed to the move, arguing that Congress should not use a cut in future food stamp benefits to pay for improvement to child nutrition programs.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) may hold a vote mid-week on legislation that would extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts only for families with income less than $250,000, while allowing the upper brackets to expire. On Tuesday, the White House will host its first high-level bipartisan meeting with House and Senate leaders on the issue.
Other key events and meetings this week:
Monday, Nov. 29.
· The White House will host a conference call Monday with reporters to discuss the next steps in securing final passage of the Claims Settlement Act of 2010. That Act, which recently passed the Senate, would provide long-awaited funding for the agreements reached in the Pigford II lawsuit, brought by African American farmers, the Cobell lawsuit, brought by Native Americans over the management of Indian trust accounts and resources, and four separate water rights suits made by Native American tribes. The House passed similar legislation earlier this year and is expected to take up the Senate version of the legislation as early as this week.
· Democrats will control 58 seats in the upper chamber after Sen.-elect Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) takes the oath of office later on Monday.
· USDA’s Economic Research Service will release Monthly milk cost of production estimates.
Tuesday, Nov. 30.
· This will be the first public meeting of the president’s fiscal commission since co-chairmen Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson released their draft proposal on Nov. 10. The commission is scheduled to deliver its final report at this meeting, which begins at 9:30 a.m. in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. A live web cast is available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/live.
The fiscal debt commission holds a second day of public meetings on Wednesday, beginning at 9:30 a.m. in Dirksen.
· The American Farm Bureau Federation; the American Soybean Association; the National Association of Wheat Growers; the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; the National Corn Growers Association; the National Cotton Council; the National Farmers Union; the National Milk Producers Federation; the National Pork Producers Council; and the Public Lands Council will host a press conference to urge Congress to act on estate tax reform during the lame-duck session.
· USDA’s Economic Research Service issues a report on Farm Income and Costs, Fruit and Tree Nut Outlook, and Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade.
· Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack tapes an interview for the Colbert Report.
A scheduled 23% cut to Medicare payments to doctors takes effect unless the House has passed the “doc fix.”
The Senate will take up a two-week Continuing Resolution after House passage, which is expected Wednesday. Their actions will keep the government funded through Dec. 17. The current CR expires Dec. 3.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
· Event: Secretary Vilsack will speak at the National Rural Housing Conference – Washington, D.C.
· Deputy Secretary Merrigan will speak at the 3rd Annual Young Farmers Conference – Pocantico Hills, N.Y.