With the contentious elections looming in November, no one is expecting any great accomplishments out of Congress this year. But room remains for bipartisanship on a few issues. Here are five such possibilities that Politico
- Tax reform — The supercommittee that collapsed just before Thanksgiving actually made substantial progress on comprehensive tax reform. And there’s at least room for serious discussion of the issue in Congress this year.
- Infrastructure — Spending on local roads, bridges, and railroads is appealing for both parties. Senate Republicans rejected the Democratic plan for $60 billion of spending on infrastructure jobs last year because of the millionaires tax that would have been used to fund it. But Congress at least looks set to approve a long-term highway transportation bill before the money runs out March 31.
- Energy — Cap and trade is dead. But smaller bills, such as a popular energy efficiency package proposed by Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., might pass muster this year. The bill would encourage businesses and homeowners to use technology such as computer-controlled thermostats and energy-efficient motors to save energy and create jobs. The legislation passed the Senate Energy Committee last year 18-3, with strong support from both parties. “I think energy is an area where there is always bipartisanship,” Portman said.
- Defense — Republicans want to stave off automatic cuts in defense spending, and Democrats want to stave off automatic cuts in social spending. So it may be possible to pass a compromise bill that does both.
- “Doc fix” — A comprehensive overhaul of Medicare probably is out of the question this year. But it is possible that Congress will adopt a “doc fix” to prevent doctors who serve Medicare patients from having to take a pay cut.
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