This week, the House votes on a tax-filing simplification act, a bill to increase student access to federal loans (USSA evaluation here), whether to allow up to 24 developing countries to qualify for new debt relief under the Jubilee Act, and a beaches bill that was postponed from last week. The beach legislation enjoys wide support, but a series of GOP-proposed amendments–including possible attempts to expand offshore natural gas leasing and insert the text of the Senate-passed Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act legislation–is expected to provoke debate. The House also votes on the Contracting and Tax Accountability Act, which would deny certain government contracts to firms with seriously delinquent tax debts.
On the Senate side, members will consider technical corrections to the 2005 surface transportation law, and may additionally take up an act to ban discrimination based on genetic information and an omnibus veterans’ benefits measure.
Meanwhile, Congress holds appropriations hearings, as well as hearings on the impact of the credit market on student loans, abuses of tomato workers, nuclear terrorism, shortfalls in ground force readiness, how to prevent a nuclear Iran, detecting contract fraud and federal contracts awarded to AEY, Inc. With the latest extension of the farm bill expiring this Friday, both chambers’ conferees will continue negotiations on the bill, which have sputtered for months over how to finance a $10-billion spending increase and $2.5 billion in Senate-added tax breaks under current pay-go rules.