A weekly outreach to our friends and colleagues in Canada
Weekly Washington Wrap
- History seems to be repeating itself as Congress tries to wrap things up this week and head out of town for Christmas. You may recall that last year, Congress passed the health care law on Christmas Eve. This year, debate over spending levels to fund government and to fund the extension of tax breaks and unemployment benefits threaten to keep Congress in Washington up to December 24.
- Yesterday, the Senate passed a tax-cut measure that will extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for two years and extends unemployment benefits for 13 months. The House is expected to follow suit today, but the measure will go back to the Senate if any changes are made. The tax bill passed by 81-19 in the Senate, but grumblings continue among angry Democrats who believe President Obama unfairly caved to Republican demands to extend tax breaks for the wealthy and some angry Republicans who say this bill plunges the US even deeper into debt. After passing the tax package, the Senate turned to a $1.108 trillion omnibus spending package. The certainty of its passage is unclear because the Senate bill contains $8 billion in earmarks in sharp contrast to the House-passed measure that has no earmarks and funds the government for one year at last year’s spending levels.
- Legal challenges to the new health care law also caught the attention of Washington policymakers this week. On Monday, a federal court in Virginia ruled the health care law unconstitutional because of the law’s “individual mandate” requiring most Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014. Today, a federal court in Florida hears oral arguments based on a similar challenge to the law filed by attorneys general in 20 states and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). There is a growing consensus that several controversial issues in the health care law will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.
We are winding down a most busy year here at Team Wilkins. In the last two weeks, David Wilkins has made two different trips to Washington, D.C., and has spent time in Montreal and Atlanta, as well as a number of days here in our state's capital city, Columbia, where he has been shepherding SC Governor-elect Nikki Haley's transition team.
In this most holy of seasons, when it's good to reflect back on the year just lived and look ahead to the one quickly approaching, we are truly grateful to our Canadian friends and clients and the privilege of working with you on so many important policies, projects and issues that impact our all-important US-Canada bilateral relationship.
As we look ahead to 2011, and the slated timeframe for changing the mission in Afghanistan, as always it is with profound appreciation and respect for the Canadian Forces who have worked tirelessly in freedom's name. We wish all of them and their families a safe and joyous Christmas and New Year.
A Wilkins Winter Wonderland – Southern Style
Susan and David at home with grandchildren, Clary and Whit, Marnie (holding Lily) and James, and Stephanie and Robert
Back in '11
Early next year, Team Wilkins already has a number of northern trips planned including to Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary and Toronto.
We will also have a lot to tell you about the ever-changing US political landscape, especially in advance of the 2012 presidential race (which, by the way, started the day after this November's midterm election.)
Look for your Carolina-Canada Connections to resume right after the New Year and we look forward to seeing you in 2011.
Until then, on behalf of all of us at Nelson Mullins and especially David, Ashley, Tom, Craig, Justin and Christy we wish all of you a truly blessed Christmas as well as peace and prosperity this coming year. May God bless Canada and the United States of America.
If you are interested in the possibility of having Ambassador Wilkins speak at an event, please contact Christy Cox at Christy.Cox@nelsonmullins.com or call 803.255.9470.
The articles published in this newsletter are intended only to provide general information on the subjects covered. The contents should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Readers should consult with legal counsel to obtain specific legal advice based on particular situations.