8:25 PM 06 May 1998
TO: DIRECTOR FRANK RAINES DEPUTY DIRECTOR JACK LEW DEP. DIRECTOR FOR MANAGEMENT ED DESEVE EXECUTIVE ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR JOSH GOTBAUM FROM: OMB LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS DATE: MAY 6, 1998 ,SUBJECT: LEGISLATIVE REPORT ISTEA: Conferees met for 15 minutes this afternoon. Shuster complained that the meetings on the House side which need to be happening in order to resolve the funding levels have not yet occurred; he expressed concern that the conference wonO,t be able to complete action by Memorial Day. ,The conferees then adopted a minor package of staff recommendations. The conference will not meet again until next week. Also today, House Ways & Means Chairman Archer announced he would vote against the ISTEA conference report (and declined to serve as a conferee) when Speaker Gingrich appointed Ways & Means conferees who are committed to extending the ethanol subsidy through 2006. Archer wants to let the subsidy expire in 2000. The House Science Committee held a hearing today to review the status of NASA's Space Station program, and, in particular, the Administration's response to: 1) A NASA commissioned independent report ("Chabrow report") that claims the Station program is underfunded by $130 million -$250 million/yr, and 2) the continuing funding shortfall in Russia that is delaying the delivery of the Service Module, a critical component for the early assembly of Station. Witnesses included Duncan M09re (OSTP), Dan Goldin (NASA), and Jay Chabrow (chairman of the independent cost, assessment task group) . 'During questioning, Sensenbrenner was critical of OMB's statement for the record that additional cost growth for Station should be offset within NASA's budget. He was particularly bothered that human space flight was the area cited first for reduction, as he strongly supports this area. He asked Dr. Moore to identify specific offsets. Moore said the Administration would respond by June 15th, a deadline set in the recent supplemental, as to whether any additional funding is required for Station for FY,1999 and, if so, where the offsets will be. CONGRESS -- TODAY (5/6): SENATE: continued consideration of H.R. 2676 - IRS Reform Bill [SAP sent, 5/5: Administration supports passage, with modifications and has serious concerns about costs] While under consideration, the Senate took.the following action on the bill: o Rejected (voice) Kennedy alternative amendment which would have paid for the bill by extending Superfund taxes. o Adopted (56-42) Roth amendment that allows taxpayers with incomes over $100,000 to convert their traditional IRAs to so-called Roth IRAs, which allow individuals to withdraw both contributions and investment earnings tax-free upon retirement. '0 Rejected (25-74) Bond amendment that would have replaced language to establish a nine-member part-time IRS oversight board with provisions to create a five-member full-time IRS Board of Governors. HOUSE: Passed (403-16) H.R. 1872 - Communications Satellite Competition and Privatization Act of 1997 [No SAP] Later this evening, the House plans to vote on the Riggs amendment and complete action on H.R. 6 - Higher Education Amendments of 1998 [SAP sent, 4/28 & Riley letter sent, 4/28 & 5/5: Senior advisers veto threat] CONGRESS - TOMORROW (5/7): SENATE: On Thursday, convene at 9:30am to possibly complete action on H.R. 2676 - IRS Reform Bill. [SAP sent, 5/5: Administration supports passage, with modifications and has serious concerns about costs] HOUSE: Convene at 10:00am for legislative business. H.R. 3694 - Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 1999 [SAP pending: Administration supports] The House is also expected to move to the Conference Report on HR 2646 - Coverdell Education Savings Account conference report. CONGRESS -- FRIDAY (5/8) SENATE: Session unlikely because Senate Democrats have an out-of-town weekend retreat. ,HOUSE: Not in session CONGRESS - LONG-RANGE SCHEDULE SENATE: Following completion of the IRS Reform Legislation, the Senate will proceed to consideration of the Ag Resear~h conf. report. Several D&high-techD8 bills including slamming, Internet pornography, Internet gambling, & Internet tax bill could be taken up the week of the 11th along with floor action on HR 2646 - Coverdell Education Savings Account conference report. Tobacco and or DOD authorization could be the week of the 18th. Also possible for May is an ISTEA conference report (Raines letter sent 4/30; Slater letter sent 5/1), nuclear waste storage legislation; and the Caribbean Basin Initiative enhancements. HOUSE: Rules Committee action on H.R. 10 - Financial Services Competition Act of 1997 has been postponed until next week (expected Tuesday, 5/12) [Treasury letter pending; SAP pending: Sect. of Treasury veto recommendation] Also next week, floor action is possible on HR 2646 - Coverdell Education Savings Account conference report. On the tentative House schedule is an ISTEA conference report (Raines letter sent 4/30; Slater letter sent 5/1), 'legislation on religious persecution, Internet taxation, Internet gambling, securities litigation reform, bankruptcy reform, preventing crimes against children, and the FY99 budget resolution. Campaign finance is also possible May 15. t.