Healthcare, Financial Reform, and Debit Card Tax Top Most Searched Bills

Rumors spur search for bill with 1 percent tax on debit card transactions.

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5. FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act (H.R. 1586) 

Previous ranking: 3 

Sponsor: Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY)

This bill originally intended to make flying more efficient and comfortable for passengers. One provision required air carriers to submit "emergency contingency plans" describing how the airline would provide basic necessities to passengers in an airplane grounded for an extended period of time. However, all of these provisions were stricken and replaced with Senate Amendment 4575, which seeks to provide funding for education and Federal Medical Assistance Percentages. The bill now provides states with extra money to pay teacher salaries and fund Medicaid. With these new provisions and none of the original, air-travel-related text, the bill passed the House and was signed by President Obama on August 10.

6. Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4872)

 Previous ranking: 6

 Sponsor: Rep. John Spratt (D-SC) 

The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, which contains amendments to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (No. 1, above), was passed one week after the Patient Protection Act. Among the key changes that H.R. 4872 made are the closure of the Medicare "donut hole" and the lowering of the penalty for not having insurance. This bill also reforms the student loan system, including among its many provisions the elimination of the program via which federal student loans were administered through private institutions.

7. Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act of 2009 (H.R. 3534) 

Not on list last week 

Sponsor: Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV) 

The CLEAR Act was introduced as a response to the BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and aims to increase accountability in the management of mineral and energy resources. The bill, which passed the House on July 30, would establish new Interior Department agencies to enforce safety and environmental standards around energy production, as well as to regulate the leasing of federal lands to be used in energy production. [See who gets the most campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry.]

  

8. Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010 (H.R. 5297) 

Not on list last week 

Sponsor: Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) 

The Small Business Jobs and Credit Act includes provisions to establish a $30 billion fund to increase loan availability to small businesses, as well as an initiative to help fund states' lending programs. This bill passed the House in June and is currently waiting for Senate action. President Obama has made clear that he thinks this bill is a key to economic recovery, and has asked Congress "to make passing a small business jobs bill its first order of business when it gets back into session."

  

9. United States Postal Service's CSRS Obligation Modification Act of 2010 

Previous ranking: 7

Sponsor: Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA)

When Rep. Lynch introduced this bill on July 16, he asserted that the U.S. Postal Service has paid a disproportionately large share into the Civil Service Retirement System compared to what its retired employees are receiving in benefits. This bill seeks to correct this discrepancy by changing the methodology by which retirement benefit costs for postal workers are allocated. [See who is receiving the most in campaign contributions from retirees.]

 10. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1)

Previous ranking: 8 

Sponsor: Rep. David Obey (D-WI)

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is the economic stimulus package signed into law by President Obama in February 2009. The $787 billion in provisions are going toward investing in healthcare and education, as well as numerous infrastructure projects, like improving public transportation and broadband access. To help maintain transparency in the implementation of the act, the federal government has set up Recovery.gov, a website that allows users to track where and on which projects stimulus money is being spent. [See which industries contribute to members of the House Committee on Appropriations.]