Thursday, December 20, 2007

Legislative Week in Review XI

Congress voted for an omnibus spending bill that capitulated on both President Bush's spending caps (and in a separate bill for SCHIP) and his demand for more war funding (to a tune of $70 billion).

After courageous opposition from Sens. Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold and others, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid put on hold, for now, a FISA update bill that would include telecom immunity.

The Senate also passed additional Myanmar sanctions and a a long-stalled bill inspired by the Virginia Tech shootings that would more easily flag prospective gun buyers who have documented mental health problems and help states with the cost. The House already passed the bill, but it is unclear yet if Bush will veto it or not.

In one major victory this week, the House of Representatives approved an energy bill to boost fuel efficiency that was then signed by President Bush. The House also backed a 7-year terror insurance bill (conceding to the Senate), the Veterans Guaranteed Bonus Act, mortgage tax relief, and a House commission made new ethic recommendations.

Additionally, Congress passed a bill strengthening citizen access provided by the Freedom of Information Act and an AMT fix, but one that does not pay for itself.

UPDATE: Bush pocket vetoes the defense appropriations bill. He signed the CHIP extension, an open government bill, and a Sudan divestment bill, however.

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