The Senate and House chambers are empty this week, as members of Congress head for home for a brief visit with their constituencies before Tuesday's election. Both groups left unfinished business behind in Washington, and will return next week to try to wrap up the FSC (Foreign Sales Corporation) bill, and some miscellaneous spending and tax bills.
Hope is still alive for a tax bill that will reflect an increase in the amount taxpayers can contribute to retirement accounts such as IRAs and 401(k)s, but no agreement was achieved between the two houses and the President before Congress took its break.
The FSC bill is required to bring the U.S. in alignment with World Trade Organization rules, and the current legislation expired November 1. The House had previously passed a version of an FSC bill, but the Senate added an amendment that required House action, and no resolution occurred before the House recessed.
The FSC bill is also tied into legislation that includes a $240 billion tax cut and some other changes, and both the House and Senate are trying to structure the language of the bill carefully so that President Clinton won't veto the legislation.
The European Union has asked the World Trade Organization to begin assessing 100 percent tariffs on goods imported from the United States on November 17 unless the U.S. FSC regulations are modified by that date.