‘Line’ Items: Running of the Bulls Edition

Running for the Exits – The “Running of the Bulls” has begun in Pamplona, Spain. Combine that with the celebrations over the country’s World Cup victory yesterday and you have quite a volatile mix. Washington has its own precarious situation, though not nearly as colorful or fun. A full agenda and little time on the Congressional calendar will make for a hectic rush, especially in the Senate. Congress returns this week from its July Fourth recess with a small window before it leaves again for a month-long August recess. Lawmakers may be running like mad, but they won’t be very bullish.

Small Business Looks to Avoid Being Gored by Tax Politics – The Senate this week will consider legislation to improve lending to small businesses (HR 5297), but other issues could get in the way of fast adoption. The bill will create a $30 billion lending poll and add $12 billion in tax incentives for small businesses. Some legislators also want to include in the measure a controversial provision to extend the estate tax at lower levels.

Seeing Red in the War Supplemental – The Senate must also consider the supplemental spending bill passed by the House just before the recess to fund operations in Iraq and Afghanistan that also includes about $23 billion in domestic funding. But many doubt that version can pass the Senate.

Mid-Session Review Lost in the Stampede? – July 15 is the deadline for the administration to produce its mid-year adjustment of budget and economic projections, but that deadline is often missed. Amid fears that the new numbers will not be as good as had been hoped, it is not clear when the update will be released. However, Congress will get a report on the economic picture Wednesday as White House Council of Economic Advisers Chair Dr. Christina Romer will testify before the Joint Economic Committee on “The Economic Outlook.”

Will Energy Reform Get a Chance to Run? – Senate Majority Leaders Harry Reid (D-NV) wants to bring energy legislation to the Senate floor this month in spite of the cramped agenda the body already faces. It is not clear if putting a price on carbon will be a part of any energy bill that comes to the floor, as agreement continues to be elusive.

Tax Cuts Are the Bull Waiting to Get in the China Shop – What to do about the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts that will expire at the end of the year remains to be a simmering debate just waiting to boil over in Washington. The Senate Finance Committee will wade into the topic Wednesday with a hearing.