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This week in Congress: Tax battles, Iran sanctions, GSA scandal

Legislators are hoping to finalize a new round of Iran sanctions that meets the approval of both houses. Also on the docket: a second hearing on profligate waste and mismanagement in the disgraced GSA.

In August, Congress will still be locked in a partisan showdown on whether to renew Bush-era tax rates for all Americans, or just some of them.

The Senate last week passed Democratic tax legislation that conformed to President Barack Obama‚??s plan to extend the rates to only Americans making $250,000 or less per year; now the Republican-controlled House will have a chance to vote the bill down. Meanwhile, a House vote also is expected on its version of the extension, which continues the tax cuts for all income brackets.

Legislators also are hoping to finalize a new round of Iran sanctions that meets the approval of both houses. The sanctions legislation passed months ago in the House and Senate, but some are concerned that trade loopholes authorized by the Obama administration could keep the final package from winning House support.

Finally, the House may vote on a package that extends disaster aid programs and other farm support, while holding off on bringing up the farm bill until after the August summer break.

On Wednesday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a second hearing on profligate waste and mismanagement in the disgraced General Services Administration. Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee will consider a bill by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) to make English the official language of the United States and require naturalized citizens to learn it.

And the sequestration show is going on the road: Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) announced that they will be traveling to town hall meetings in Virginia, New Hampshire, Florida and North Carolina to talk about the damage expected if $500 trillion is cut from the Defense budget beginning next year.

Written By

Hope Hodge first covered military issues for the Daily News of Jacksonville, N.C., where her beat included the sprawling Marine Corps base, Camp Lejeune. During her two years at the paper, she received investigative reporting awards for exposing a former Marine who was using faked military awards to embezzle disability pay from the government and for breaking news about the popularity of the designer drug Spice in the ranks. Her work has also appeared in The American Spectator, New York Sun, WORLD Magazine, and The Washington Post. Hodge was born near Boston, Mass., where she grew up as a lover of Revolutionary War history and fall foliage. She also discovered a love of politics and policy as a grassroots volunteer and activist on Beacon Hill. She graduated in 2009 with a degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from The King's College in New York City, where she served as editor-in-chief of her school newspaper and worked as a teaching assistant when not freelancing or using student discounts to see Broadway shows. Hope‚??s email is HHodge@eaglepub.com

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