What Congress Did in '93, And What It Faces in '94
CONGRESS remains in session, technically. But lawmakers are already looking back on a hectic year - and forward to another challenging term. Some highlights: What Congress accomplished this year
* A deficit-reduction bill Democrats said would lead to savings of close to $500 billion over five years. The figure was later estimated at $433 billion by the Congressional Budget Office.
* The North American Free Trade Agreement, which would phase out tariffs among the United States, Mexico, and Canada, creating the world's largest integrated trading bloc.
* The family-leave bill, requiring companies employing 50 or more people to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for workers with new children or sick family members.
* A defense budget that temporarily bars the military from asking if troops are gay but says open homosexuality is unacceptable. This falls short of President Clinton's early pledge to lift the ban against homosexual soldiers outright.
* A bill providing $18.3 billion to bail out the recession-battered savings and loan industry. This brings the total taxpayer cost of the institutions' failures to more than $150 billion.
* National service, setting up a program giving students up to $9,450 in education aid for performing community service.
* The ``motor voter'' bill allowing people to register to vote when they get driver's licenses or to sign up by mail. What Congress faces next year
* Health care, as lawmakers deal with President Clinton's massive plan to revamp the way Americans get medical care.
* Welfare revamping, another Clinton initiative, which focuses on limiting benefits to two years, followed by assurances of jobs.
* The Brady bill, which would require a five-day waiting period before the purchase of handguns. The measure was bottled up in the Senate because of Republican objections.
* Abortion rights, which supporters have promised to revisit. This follows their failure to greatly expand the circumstances in which the government will help pay for poor women's abortions.
* Campaign finance, over which there are big differences between the House and Senate. The Senate would ban contributions from political-action committees (PACs), and would impose a tax on campaigns exceeding newly set spending limits. The House would allow PACs, and lay the groundwork for government financing for advertising.
* Lobbying disclosure, which would require more detailed revelations by lobbyists about their work, including gifts to lawmakers and their aides.
* A constitutional amendment that would require the federal budget to be balanced. The measure, pushed by conservatives, does not say how the red ink should be erased.