CQ Roll Call: Congress Returns, Transportation Fight Looms | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Filed Under:

CQ Roll Call: Congress Returns, Transportation Fight Looms

Play associated audio

David Hawkings, CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing

Members of Congress return to Capitol Hill this week after a week away.  Just before the break, both houses were able to pass legislation extending a payroll tax break and other measures set to expire at the end of the month. David Hawkings, editor-in-chief of the CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing, talks with WAMU 88.5 Morning Edition host Matt Bush about whether that spirit is likely to continue into the rest of the legislative session. Here are some highlights: 

Whether bipartisan goodwill is still in the air: "I don't think that deal has really laid the groundwork at all for any sort of happy spring or summer or fall in Washington," Hawkings says. "It was probably the exception that's going to prove the rule, which is that this is going to be a very slow and behind the scenes legislative session with not a lot … getting finished."

On prospects for federal mass transit funding for local projects, given Congress's pending overhaul of transportation funding: "There was sort of a total breakdown on the House side of the speaker of the House's ambitious plan, which actually included cutting off the guarantee of mass transit money, which would of course be extremely hurtful in our area," Hawkings says. "This would have impacted significantly on the ability of the Purple line to get done, or the rail line to Dulles or the rehabilitation of Metro cars."

The latest on the transportation fight: "It appears as though now Republicans who wanted to dedicate virtually all the money to roads and bridges are now being forced to back down," Hawkings says. "They will come back probably next week with legislation that would at least preserve mass transit funding." 

On the likelihood that contraception and/or other unrelated items will be added to the bill in the Senate: "Republican conservatives are going to propose an amendment that would essentially negate the controversial contraception language that was so much in the new a few weeks ago," Hawkings says. "It would essentially allow any organization that has a conscientious objection to providing contraception coverage as part of their health plans to get out of the new mandate."

If the contraception provision would ultimately succeed: "It is unlikely to ever make its way into law," Hawkings says. "This will be a pattern for much of the year, when the few bills that are on the floor will more often than not become the vehicle for politically potent but ultimately, legislatively, not-that-long-lasting language."  

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, July 28

You can see two solo exhibits featuring work that speaks in metaphor.
NPR

Rust Devastates Guatemala's Prime Coffee Crop And Its Farmers

Central American coffee farmers are facing off against a deadly fungus that has wiped out thousands of acres of crops. Coffee companies like Starbucks are pooling money to support them in the fight.
NPR

When Did Companies Become People? Excavating The Legal Evolution

The Supreme Court has been granting more rights to corporations, including some regarded as those solely for individuals. But Nina Totenberg finds the company-to-person shift has a long history.
NPR

What It's Like To Own Your Very Own Harrier Jump Jet

The Harrier Jump Jet is known for vertical take-offs and landings. It also has an accident-prone track record, but that didn't dissuade one pilot from buying his dream plane.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.