Inside Congress: House Bumbles Tax Deal and Senate Prepares to Read Omni

Following the ins-and-outs of Congress is never easy, but it’s even more difficult during a lame duck session.  With just nine days before Christmas, things remain unsettled in the House and Senate.  Below is a breakdown of our latest intelligence.

House: At 10:00 am, the House was supposed to begin consideration of the rule that would govern debate on the President’s tax deal, which passed the Senate yesterday.  Instead, they abruptly pulled the rule from the floor because they did not have the votes.  What happens next is anyone’s guess…but we’ll keep you posted on the burgeoning House rebellion.

Senate: At some point today, the Senate will pivot to the massive $1.1 trillion omnibus, which would fund the government through September 2011.  Because the Senate is currently in executive session, unanimous consent must be granted or 51 Senators must vote in favor to proceeding.  Then, according to some reports, a Senator will ask the entire 1,924-page omnibus be read.  That could take upwards of 40 hours.

Then, at some point during the weekend once the reading has finished, Senator Reid will begin the process of ending debate, which itself takes several days.  At this time, it is not clear if the pork-laden omnibus will have the 60 votes necessary to end debate.  If not, the Senate is likely to consider another funding vehicle.

Only after they resolve the issue of funding the government, which could take until Wednesday or Thursday, will the Senate jump back to consideration of the dangerous New START Treaty.

Our House and Senate team are in the Capitol now, and they’ll help keep you posted. Things change fast… so stay tuned…

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