Customs Bill (Dec. 8)

Mike & Co. —

Most of the activity on Capital Hill this week is focused on the FY 2016 budget, but it has become so rider-ridden that few expect it to be competed by the Friday deadline for passage.  Instead it is becoming likely that Congress will adopt a short-term continuing resolution that will push votes on (some number of) riders and final passage into next week. 

Meanwhile, Congress leaders are quietly putting the finishing touches on a customs enforcement measure, a key part of Obama’s trade agenda.  They’re aiming to finish the measure this week and send it over to the White House, but top Democrats aren’t sold yet.

Sander Levin, Ways and Means’ ranking member, said he isn’t “optimistic that this committee will report the measure which reauthorizes the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, streamlines trade rules that aim to keep importers from skirting U.S. antidumping and countervailing duties, adds new protections for intellectual property rights and provides more tools to identify and address currency manipulation.

The impetus behind the bill, per top Senate Finance Committee Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden: “Too often, companies sneak counterfeit goods past our borders. Foreign governments spy on our businesses and enforcers. They bully our firms into relocating jobs and turning over intellectual property.”

Back tomorrow with the state of play on the FY 2016 budget and the riders under consideration. 

Dana 

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