This week: Tax feud enters second week

The Senate’s effort to restore dozens of expired tax breaks could spill into a second week when the chamber returns on Tuesday.

Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who crafted the so-called tax extenders bill, said he hopes to quickly reach an agreement with Republicans on amendments, and that the measure could be brought back to the floor as soon as this week.

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Both Republicans and Democrats generally support the bill, but GOP senators blocked progress on Thursday in anger over Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) refusal to allow amendments, part of a broader fight over floor procedure.

How quickly the Senate returns to the bill is an open question. Few around Washington expect a final resolution for the measure to come before November’s elections.

Republicans are continuing to press for a vote on repealing ObamaCare’s medical device tax, but Wyden has yet to show any interest in allowing one.

The appropriations process will also keep chugging along this week. The House will take up its third appropriations bill for fiscal 2015, a $52 billion measure to provide funding for the Commerce Department, Justice Department and science programs.

On Tuesday, House appropriators will mark up the fiscal 2015 Agriculture appropriations bill. That same day in the Senate, a separate subcommittee will mark up a spending bill for the Department of Veterans Affairs, military construction and other agencies. The next day, another Senate subcommittee will discuss spending needs for the Small Business Administration and the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.

The Senate could take a step toward filling one of several vacancies at the Federal Reserve this week. The Senate is set to vote Tuesday on limiting debate on the nomination of Stanley Fischer to serve as vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. Fischer has faced little opposition throughout the nomination process and appears cleared for confirmation.

The House Financial Services Committee has a busy slate this week. On Tuesday, the full committee will meet to discuss how financial regulators go about identifying and overseeing the most critical cogs of financial markets.

The Dodd-Frank financial reform law created the Financial Stability Oversight Council to pick out “systemically significant” financial institutions and subject them to heightened oversight. Republicans, no fans of the Wall Street overhaul, have been critical of the process and hope to put some pressure on the matter next week.

Tuesday afternoon a subcommittee will gather to discuss five different bills that would tweak how the nation’s domestic insurance industry operates, discussing the measures with a range of insurance experts.

Wednesday could be a feisty day for the panel. In the morning, the Oversight subcommittee will grill a pair of officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about claims there is widespread discrimination at the agency. The panel subpoenaed the officials after they refused to testify at an earlier hearing, where an agency attorney blasted the work environment.

Another subcommittee will follow that up with an afternoon hearing on legislative proposals to tweak the agency. Republicans have long tried to alter the agency’s operations, but Democrats dismissed those efforts as attempts to weaken the new bureau.

On Wednesday, a Senate Finance subcommittee will convene to discuss Social Security and ways to preserve it for future retirees.

The Federal Reserve will make a few headlines on Wednesday. Chairwoman Janet Yellen is scheduled to deliver the commencement address at New York University, and hours before that, the Fed will release the minutes of its latest policy meeting.

U.S. and European Union officials will launch the fifth round of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations on Monday in Arlington, Va.

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