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CISPA, Postal Service bills among Congress' spring cleaning

April 23, 2012|By Lisa Mascaro
  • Opponents of Senate Bill 1789 hold up signs that read "Save America's Postal Service" during a protest in Harlingen, Texas.
Opponents of Senate Bill 1789 hold up signs that read "Save America's… (Jesse Mendoza / Valley Morning…)

WASHINGTON -- It's legislative spring-cleaning time in Congress, where lawmakers are engaged in a busy week of should-pass legislation as both parties seek to tally accomplishments before taking a break to campaign during the upcoming recess.

The Senate is closing in on passage of a long-debated overhaul to the Postal Service that would save Saturday delivery and make it more difficult for the government to close rural post offices.

The postal bill still faces dozens of possible amendments, including one from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), that would clamp down on government conference spending, coming after the General Services Administration scandal in Las Vegas. If the final bill clears the Senate, it could provide momentum for a resolution to the Postal Service's financial problems.

The Senate is also to begin consideration of the proposed Violence Against Women Act, a usually bipartisan bill that faces resistance from Republicans because of expanded protections -- and costs -- in the new version offered by Democrats.

Sensitive that Democrats have this year portrayed Republicans as being engaged in a war on women, the GOP is expected to offer its own version of the bill to shield the party's senators from criticism they are blocking the effort.

In the House, lawmakers are to consider the proposed Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, which has drawn criticism from advocates of Internet freedoms, as our colleagues reported recently.

Elections are fueling the legislative debate, and on Tuesday the Pennsylvania primary will see two Democrats, Rep. Jason Altmire and Rep. Mark Critz in a head-to-head showdown similar to others this cycle as redistricting draws lawmakers into each others’ turf.

Congress is racing toward the end of the week, when the House and Senate are scheduled to recess for campaigning and other home-state activities until May 7.

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Original source: CISPA, Postal Service bills among Congress' spring cleaning

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