Weekly Summary – Due to July 4th, the House and Senate will be in recess this week. After the amount of last minute wrangling and finagling the House engaged in last week, they deserve a break! Congressman Bill Thomas, Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee pulled off two ‘squeaker’ votes last week, passing two different pieces of legislation with only one vote margins. The first was a bill to strengthen the House’s negotiating position as they begin to conference the trade bill with the Senate. Earlier this year, the House passed a clean Trade Promotion Authority Act to provide President Bush with the ability to negotiate trade deals.
Unwilling to allow President Bush this victory, Majority Leader Daschle decided to bog the measure down on the Senate side with tons of ancillary legislation. They added a Trade Adjustment Act, which in addition to spending billions and billions more, would for the first time, provide health benefits to displaced workers.