The Senate voted 64-30 in favor of the SCHIP bill again. This time it did not achieve a veto-proof margin as some supporters weren't there and others (such as our own Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison) switched their position. House and Senate negotiators will now try to come up with another version that can win enough support to override a Bush veto.
The Ways and Means Committee voted 22-13 in favor of a bill that would provide temporary relief from the alternative minimum tax and pay for it in part by raising taxes on private equity fund manager. Majority Leader Reid has said the Senate will not wave "pay-go" rules for the AMT fix, but it is not clear that Rangel's proposal will fly there. The House Ways and Means Committee also voted 39-0 for a free trade pact with Peru.The Senate's Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Private Sector and Consumer Solutions to Global Warming and Wildlife Protection approved a climate change bill by a 4-3 vote. The measure would limit greenhouse gas emissions thought to contribute to global warming. It may see a floor vote by year's end.
Meanwhile, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 17-4 to send to a floor vote the Reagan-era "Law of the Sea" treaty supported by President Bush. With Senate ratification, the United States would join 155 nations that are party to a convention that sets rules and settles disputes over navigation, fishing and economic development of the open seas and establishes environmental standards. Treaty supporters, after making little headway for years, have gained momentum recently with concerns that the melting of the global ice cap will trigger a rush of claims by Arctic countries, including Russia, to previously iced-in resources.
House and Senate panels voted Tuesday to eliminate a five-year expiration date for registered phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are weighing the possibility of adding a “millionaire’s amendment” to presidential campaign finance reform measures. As it applies to Senate races, the amendment states that if a candidate exceeds the statutory threshold by 10 times, then the cap on the amount of money other candidates can accept from a single donor can be raised. Unfortunately, the Senate appears deadlocked over legislation that would require members to file their campaign finance forms electronically. Oh well.