Government Relations

Government Relations Legislative Update

Government Relations Legislative Update

Updates on state and federal issues relating to the UW System.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Federal Update for Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The House returns for legislative business today, January 17, and the Senate on January 23.

As discussed previously, Congress in the next several weeks must decide whether and how to continue beyond the end of February the payroll tax holiday, unemployment benefits, and the "doc" fix that prevents a significant cut in Medicare payments to physicians, all of which were extended for two months in late December. Also on the tax agenda are extensions of several popular provisions that expired on December 31, including the R&D tax credit, the above-the-line tuition tax deduction, and the IRA charitable rollover.

At the same time, the Administration is engaged in final preparations for the President's FY13 budget, which is expected to be released February 6.

Over the next two months, Politico reports, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) plans to address not only the full-year extension of the payroll holiday package, but also extension of the Federal Aviation Administration authorization, House Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) highway and energy bills, and legislation aimed at prohibiting Members of Congress from profiting from insider trading on stocks while they serve in elective office.

When the Senate reconvenes for legislative business on Monday, January 23, the chamber will consider a judicial appointment, with a vote late that afternoon. On Tuesday, January 24, the Senate is scheduled to hold a cloture vote on consideration of the Protect IP Act (S. 968), aimed at curtailing online piracy of copyrighted content.

The National Science Board on January 10 released a report ( on the merit review process at the National Science Foundation (NSF), the federal agency that the Board oversees. The Board found that the NSF merit review criteria remain appropriate for evaluating proposals for NSF funding, but recommended that the agency better define the two criteria of intellectual merit and broader impacts.

(AAU and the UW System Office of Federal Relations contributed to this report.)