U.S. House of Representatives 107th Congress First
Tax Cut Passes House
Bill Clears House
Overturned by House
Senate 107th Congress First Session
Overturned by Senate
Bill Approved by Senate Committee
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 107TH CONGRESS FIRST SESSION
TAX CUT PASSES HOUSE
March 8, 2001, the House of Representatives voted 230-198 in favor
of an across-the-board tax cut for almost $1 trillion over the next
10 years. (Economic Growth and Tax Relief Act of 2001
To see how your representative voted visit: http://clerkweb.house.gov/cgi-bin/vote.exe?year=2001&rollnumber=45)
measure would gradually reduce the current five graduated income tax
rates at 15 percent, 28 percent, 31 percent, 36 percent and 39.6 percent.
The new rates would be 10 percent, 15 percent, 25 percent and 33 percent
to provide tax relief immediately, the bill would create a retroactive
tax cut for January 1, 2001, applied to the first $12,000 of taxable
income for couples and $6,000 of taxable income. This legislation
would reduce the lowest tax bracket of 15 percent to an interim 12
percent and would result in a maximum tax cut this year of $180 for
an individual and $360 for a couple.
the plan is completely implemented, six million families who currently
pay taxes would no longer be required to according to the current
Espo, "House OK's Bush Tax-Cut Plan, The Associated Press, March 8,
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DONATION BILL CLEARS HOUSE
House of Representatives, on March 7, 2001, unanimously passed 404-0
the Organ Donation Improvement Act of 2001 that encourages organ donation,
including the first federal money to encourage Americans to consider
donating while still alive and putting aside issues about how to distribute
scarce organs for transplants. (To see how your representative voted
measure, for which 31 members did not vote, would help pay travel
costs and other expenses for many people who donate a section of liver
number of living donations doubled during the 1990s, as medical techniques
improved and the demand for organs become more acute. Traditional
organ donation after death has continued to grow very slowly.
current debate and vote is in stark contrast to the last time the
House considered the issue of organ donation, At that time, legislatures
were sharply divided over how available organs should be distributed.
current system gives preference to patients in the local areas and
is supported by most members. However, others argue, even if they
live outside the local area organs should be offered to the sickest
now, that debate is largely on hold. The power to order changes in
the allocation system lies with the Department of Health and Human
Services, however whether officials will use it is unclear.
of the attention has turned to donation, where there is more consensus
for now. For grants to states and organ banks, to reimburse travel
and other expenses for certain living donors the legislation approved
on March 7, 2001, authorized $ 5 million annually.
grants that would help states develop registries of people who wish
to donate and for public education about donation it allows for $15
million. However, through the annual budget process, the money still
must be appropriated.
a letter, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said
that the Bush administration supports the legislation but the Secretary
has promised to offer his own program promoting organ donation.
measure now heads to the Senate, where Senator Richard Durbin (Democrat-Illinois)
is working on a similar bill that would put more emphasis on encouraging
Meckler, "House Clears Organ Donation Bill," The Associated Press,
March 8, 2001)
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RULE OVERTURNED BY HOUSE
follow the Senate's lead and repeal Clinton administration regulations
aimed at reducing repetitive-motion injuries in the workplace the
House voted 223-206 in favor of Senate Joint Resolution S. J. Res.
) 6 to overturn the ergonomics rule. (To View S. J. Res. 6 visit:
see how your representative voted: http://clerkweb.house.gov/cgi-bin/vote.exe?year=2001&rollnumber=33)
further information, refer to the article: "Ergonomics Rule Overturned
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SENATE 107TH CONGRESS FIRST SESSION
RULE OVERTURNED BY SENATE
overturn, new work-place ergonomic rules that took effect four days
prior to former President Clinton leaving office, the Senate on March
6, 2001 passed S. J. Res. 6. The resolution was sent to the House,
where the leaders of the Republican majority said they can pass another
"resolution of disapproval, after it was approved by a 56-44 vote,
mostly following party line.
see how your senators voted visit: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/vote1071/vote_00015.html
the President would have to intercede in order to repeal former President
Clinton's regulations, the administration indicated on March 6, 2001,
that it would sign the resolution repealing the regulation issued
by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
White House said in a declaration of support, issued March 6, 2001,
as the Senate debate unfolded, "These regulations would cost employers,
large and small, billions of dollars annually while providing uncertain
Congressional Review Act was used by senators in their vote to the
overturn of the OSHA rules. Use of the 1996 Act would kill the regulations
as well as similar standards being issued without congressional approval.
Until now the 1996 Congressional Review Act has never been used.
regulations, intended to reduce repetitive stress injuries, would
have affected 102 million American workers. Businesses indicated that
implementing the regulations would cost between $20 billion and $120
billion. If the rules are repealed, a new "comprehensive approach"
to dealing with repetitive-motion injuries will be pursued said Labor
Secretary Elaine Chao.
Tim Hutchinson, (Republican-Arkansas) said, "OSHA has grossly underestimated
the cost effect of its proposal. My great concern is for the small
businesses of this country."
cost of compliance to employers nationwide is estimated at $4.5 billion
by OSHA. Employers will save $9 billion annually in lower medical
insurance premiums and greater productivity. An average $250 annually
would be the cost for updating a work station. In the United States
(U.S.), 1.8 million workers had injuries related to ergonomics, with
600,000 missing work annually as a result say officials. Covered by
the regulations would have been health problems like carpal tunnel
syndrome as well as other ailments related to repetitive motion, contact
stress, vibration, force and awkward postures.
groups opposed the new workplace ergonomics rules while labor unions
a decade-long OSHA struggle to regulate repetitive-motion injuries,
the Clinton administration issued the 600-plus pages of rules in November.
distributing information to employees and beginning the process of
receiving and responding to injury reports, the rules gave businesses
until October to comply with the first regulation.
the first 90 days they are out of work, recuperating employers would
have been required to pay with musculoskeletal injuries from repetitive
stress 90 percent of their normal wages was another provision.
costs would cut deeply into small businesses' revenue and make some
employers exoert jobs to countries that lack adequate job-safety rules
said Senator Hutchinson.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce summary handed out on Capitol Hill said,
"OSHA's rush to issue an ill-conceived, expensive and unscientific
ergonomics standard is irresponsible government at its worst. The
rule will cost businesses billions of dollars, yet the benefits to
workers-if any-are uncertain."
Strope, "Congress To Repeal Workplace Rules," The Associated Press,
March 8, 2001;Leigh Strope, "House To Vote on Ergonomics Rules," The
Associated Press, March 7, 2001; Tom Ramstack, "Senate votes to undo
ergonomics rules," The Washington Times, March 7, 2001; Leigh Strope,
"Unions Want Ergonomics Regulations, The Associated Press, March 2,
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BILL APPROVED BY SENATE COMMITTEE
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved an
education bill on March 8, 2001, that included key proposals of President
Bush's plan "No Child Left Behind." (To view the plan visit: http://www.ed.gov/inits/nclb/index.html
) However, key modifications sought by Republicans and Democrats
were left out.
week's 20-0 vote (To view the markup of The Better Education for Students
and Teachers Act go to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and
Pensions web site: http://www.senate.gov/~labor/107hearings/107hearings.htm
and click on March 7-8, 2001 Full Committee) was only the first step
in what will likely be a protracted debate over the federal government's
role in schools with both sides making that clear. Choosing instead
to let senator's address them on the Senate floor, the committee did
not even consider a couple of the President's most contentious proposals.
It was unclear when the debate would take place at a press conference.
On the other hand, on the legislation the House of Representatives
has not yet taken action.
far, both the Republicans and Democrats have compromised on the measure.
For example, Democrats have sought to consolidate or eliminate some
of the programs they favor. Also some of the Republican demands were
withheld as a result of the 50-50 breakdown of the Senate.
Tim Hutchinson, (R-Arkansas) said in an interview, "I think that while
there's some modest steps in the right direction on flexibility, consolidation
of programs, and...the testing that the President wanted, the two
key components of the President's proposal are omitted."
Hutchinson said, one of those components is the President's proposal
for "charter" states and districts, which allow states or school systems
to convert most Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) funding
into a block grant in exchange for negotiating with the Department
of Education five-year performance agreements. The President's voucher
proposal which would allow parents of students in persistently failing
school to take their portion of federal funding elsewhere to pay for
public or private school tuition, or outside tutoring was the other.
measure would mandate that states test students in Title I schools
annually in grades three-eight and authorized funding of up to 50
percent of the cost to assist states in creating and administering
those exams. Also contained in the bill were the President's proposed
program to improve mathematics and science instruction as well as
a version of the Presidents K-2 and early-reading initiatives.
some additional flexibility in spending aid, another of the President's
priority would be provided by the measure. It would, for example,
combine into a single, more flexible funding source seven existing
technology programs. And combined into a broader teacher quality funding
category the President has proposed would be the federal class-size
amendment from Senator Patty Murray, (Democrat-Washington) that would
have provided $2.4 billion to reduce elementary school class sizes
through third grade was rejected by the committee.
eliminated would be more than a dozen programs including those for
the creation of smaller learning environments in high schools, for
school renovation, arts and physical education.
assist schools form partnerships with colleges and universities to
improve science and math instruction, the measure provides funding.
An amendment from Senator Jeff Sessions, (Republican-Alabama) that
would give schools flexibility in spending federal "Safe and Drug
Free Schools" funds for school uniforms, background checks for teachers,
metal detectors and other safety-related uses was approved by committee.
Hillary Clinton, (Democrat-New York) proposed three amendments to
improve teacher and principal recruitment which were adopted.
Kress, the President's education adviser said in an interview the
bill is an "extremely fine first step. We would like to see some further
steps in consolidation and flexibility and we think there really needs
to be greater parental choice as part of the consequences [for failing
Kress said when asked how wedded the President is to the inclusion
of the proposal for "charter" states and districts that, "we'll see
how much consolidation we can achieve. If we can keep moving down
the consolidation road it may become necessary."
the debate, considerable time was spent trying to save some of the
very programs that were combined or repealed, and trying to create
new ones were Democrats.
were introduced for example to preserve separate programs for school
renovation and for class-size reduction which were both defeated by
a 10-10 party-line vote.
professional development, Senator Edward M. Kennedy (Democrat - Massachusetts)
sought a guarantee that 50 percent of the teacher-quality money be
set aside ($1.5 billion). However, the proposal was rejected and Republicans
called it a set backward.
Judd Gregg, (Republican-New Hampshire) said, "The prescriptive input
approach hasn't worked. This amendment ends up undermining...the whole
concept of the bill."
the President really wants to fulfil the vision of his "No Child Left
Behind" education plan,much higher federal spending would be required
argued Democrats throughout the deliberation. Furthermore, the President's
proposal to increase the Education Department's discretionary budget
by about six percent next fiscal year would not be enough they suggested.
assurances that the President would agree to a bigger spending increase
Senator Hillary Clinton, said she could not be able to vote for the
bill on the Senate floor. She said, "I can't vote for something that's
going to be a Trojan horse."
Edward M. Kennedy, the ranking Democrat on the Health, Education,
Labor, and Pension Committee, on March 8, 2001, as the panel prepared
for final vote said, "Although we have some very important differences,
I think we've got a good bill that's out of this committee. I want
to see a better bill, and I'm counting on a better bill."
the Education Department the President proposed a $44.5 billion budget
which was an 11.5 percent increase over the original budget this year.
W. Robelen, Senate Ed. Committee Unanimously Approves K-12 Bill,"
Education Week, March 14, 2001; Greg Toppo, "Senate Panel OK's Education
Bill," The Associated Press, March 8, 2001)
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