Still, there is real disappointment among business advocates that Congress did not act before the coming lame-duck session, when lawmakers will be consumed with addressing the expiration of the George W. Bush-era tax cuts (PL 107-16; PL 08-27) and the automatic budget cuts required by last year’s agreement to raise the debt ceiling.
“We were hoping to avert this scenario, just because of the uncertainty in lame-duck scenarios,” said Wenk. Last week, senior lawmakers on both sides of the aisle reiterated their interest in passing the bill after Congress returns in November.
“I am very optimistic,” said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, chairman of the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee. “The votes are here in the House, and the votes are there, I believe, in the Senate.”
“It’s one of the things we’d be interested in getting done,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York. The Senate’s third-ranking Democrat said he would support the measure if it has “the right safeguards.”
That likely includes the human rights provisions known as the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act that were included in the legislation. Although that is widely expected, the House and Senate have produced different versions (HR 4405; S 1039), and it is unclear which language will ultimately be attached.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.