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March 9, 2007

Senate Domestic Activity

Domestic Agenda

Reid Says He's Running Out of Patience With GOP on Minimum Wage Tax Package
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may push for votes on one of two minimum wage proposals opposed by many Republicans — either a stand-alone wage increase or one incorporating a $1.3 billion House-passed package of tax breaks and offsetting revenue-raisers.

Committee Hearings

Groups Press Senate Committee on Energy Efficiency
The nation’s biggest retailer and a representative for industrial power utilities joined a key conservation group and builders’ group Monday in asking Congress to pass national energy-efficient building regulations and incentives.

In Katrina's Wake, Panel Considers Placing Insurers Under Antitrust Laws
Sen. Trent Lott switched roles Wednesday, testifying before a Judiciary Committee hearing rather than asking questions as a GOP leader.

Debt

Senate Committee Begins Hearings on Credit Industry Lending Practices
Senators took credit card companies to task Thursday for what the chairman of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee called “confusing, misleading and in some cases predatory” lending practices.

Report Finds Medical Debt Increasing
Patients are turning to credit cards to meet rising out-of-pocket medical expenses and are accruing heavy medical debt as a result, according to a new report by advocacy groups Demos and the Access Project.

Hope for Credit Card Consumers
Congress Holds Hearings On Unfair Practices by Credit Card Companies

Taxes

Top Democrats Back Two-Year Tax Patch
Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus plans to move forward this spring on a two-year extension of income exemptions for the alternative minimum tax, likely setting aside efforts for a permanent repeal.

Health

Panel Debates Over Proposed FDA Role in Tobacco Control
Tobacco experts, physicians and even a representative from the Southern Baptist Convention offered testimony Tuesday on a Senate bill that would have the FDA regulate tobacco products.

Smith Proposes Cigarette Tax Increase for Children's Health
A key Senate Republican today said he would support raising cigarette taxes to pay for health insurance for children.

Baucus Seeks $50 Billion in New SCHIP Funds
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., said Tuesday he will seek $50 billion in new funding over the next five years as part of reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

Children's Health Care on Agenda
The success of the decade-old Children's Health Insurance Program is exposing Washington's familiar ideological divisions over health care as Congress begins to work on renewing the state-federal program.

Education

Senators Push Bill Aimed at Math, Science Education Improvements
A group of senators, led by the Democratic and Republican leaders, introduced legislation Monday that would act on President Bush’s call to make improving math and science education a higher priority.

Senate leaders seek funding boost for U.S. math, science education
A high-profile group of U.S. senators, including Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have proposed a bill

Immigration

In Senate, Amnesty Tops List of Divisive Issues
Sen. John McCain laughed at his own answer to the question: What are the hang-ups to negotiating an immigration bill?

Senators Try to Gauge Bush Administration's Stance on Immigration
Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy emerged from his first leadership role in overhauling immigration policy confident that the White House shares Democrats’ desire to enact legislation this year.

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