Small Business Jobs, Congressional Pay Cut Drive Legislative Searches

A proposal to cut congressional pay is also popular.

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6. Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2010 (H.R. 4667) 

Not on list last week

Sponsor: Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) 

As the title suggests, this bill seeks to increase the rates of veterans' benefits such as disability compensation and dependent compensation, as well as the clothing allowance for some disabled veterans. The bill passed the House unanimously, 407-0, and also passed the Senate with unanimous consent last week, and has been presented to President Obama. Once signed, its changes would go into effect on December 1, 2010. 

7. National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 (H.R. 5136)

Not on list last week 

Sponsor: Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO) 

The National Defense Authorization Act specifies the budget and expenditures of the Department of Defense. A version of it is passed every fiscal year to authorize defense spending. This year's bill has been more controversial than past defense authorization bills, however, as a portion of it would pave the way for repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the military's current policy prohibiting homosexuals from serving openly in the armed forces. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also attached to the bill the Dream Act, which would provide a path to permanent residency to alien minors who graduate from high school. Senate Republicans filibustered the Defense Authorization Act last week, blocking an up-or-down vote and stopping the bill's progress.


8. Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009 (H.R. 45) 

Not on list last week 

Sponsor: Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) 

Named after a Chicago teenager who was gunned down in 2007 on a public bus, this act would tighten gun ownership provisions in the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, a 1993 law that mandated background checks on gun buyers. The Blair Holt act would require anyone possessing a firearm to first obtain a firearm license. The bill was introduced at the start of 2009 and has remained in the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security since February of that year. [See who in Congress gets the most from gun rights groups.]


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

Previous ranking: 7 

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. 4, 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. [See who gets the most from health professionals.]

10. Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2010 (H.R. 4213) 

Previous ranking: 5 

Sponsor: Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) 

This bill, which President Obama signed into law on July 22, went through several versions and was known by several names, including the "American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act" and "Tax Extenders Act." In its final version, the bill extends unemployment benefits until the end of November 2010, and also includes a provision establishing retroactive payment of benefits to those whose benefits had recently expired. The bill was only passed after a partisan struggle in the Senate, where it was filibustered by Republicans who said they did not want to add the bill's $34 billion price tag to a budget deficit of over $1 trillion.

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