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This week in Congress: Bush tax cuts and oil moratorium


With August recess just a few weeks away, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has termed this work period ???red tape reduction week,??? which is aimed at placing a moratorium on government regulations and giving U.S. businesses and the economy more opportunity to make a recovery.

In addition to the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act, the House is expected to take a vote to extend the Bush tax cuts. While the measure is likely to pass the House easily, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) promised last week to block a vote on the extension when it arrives on his floor.

In the Senate, legislators may consider an alternative proposal that only extends the cuts for those making $250,000 or less and caps rates on capital gains and dividends at 20 percent. Senators may also begin consideration of a cybersecurity bill sponsored by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) that allows the government and private companies to share information about threats.

On Wednesday, the House Committee on Homeland Security will hold a full-panel hearing on existing threats to the homeland, and the House Committee on Natural Resources will question administration officials about President Barack Obama???s moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Senate Committee on Finance will take up education tax incentives and tax reform Wednesday, while the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will hold a subcommittee panel hearing on Iran???s support for terrorist activity the same day.

Legislators for both houses and parties will continue to use every opportunity to beat the gong on the pending specter of sequestration as the countdown to ???devastating??? budget cuts to defense and domestic programs ticks to within 160 days.