The Cloakroom: Feb. 28 – March 4

Senate Analysis:

After a week away from DC, the Senate returns with only five days left before funding for the government expires on Friday, March 4. Senator Reid and his colleagues refused to consider the House passed version of the Continuing Resolution (CR); and, instead Reid is pushing for the Senate to pass a one month extension of the CR at current spending levels to give both chambers more time to compromise. Speaker Boehner has stated repeatedly that any short-term extension should include spending cuts.  Sadly, instead of looking for real budget cuts, Senator Reid and company seems focused on criticizing the House passed version of the CR.

On Monday, instead of beginning debate on the CR on the Senate floor, Senator Reid has indicated that he will take up the Patent Reform Act and hold votes on several judicial nominees.

House Analysis:

The House returns next week from the Presidents’ Day recess to tackle a shortened two week Continuing Resolution (CR) package unveiled on Friday that includes $4.1 billion in spending cuts. HR 1, passed on February 12th in the House, cut spending by $61 billion for the remainder of the fiscal year, but the Senate has refused to take up the package and, in general, refused to be serious about making significant spending reductions in any kind of bill. According to the House Appropriations Committee, the short term CR will be on the floor on Tuesday and will include cuts suggested in the Obama administration’s Fiscal 2012 budget terminating eight programs for a total of $1.24 billion as well as remaining earmarks in a CR bill passed in December totaling $2.7 billion. The current bill funding the government expires on Friday, March 4th.  See this to strip through all the rhetoric in the budget cutting numbers.

Senate Floor Action:

  • S. 23: The Patent Reform Act of 2011
  • The Senate version of the CR

House Floor Action:

  • Continuing Resolution – Current bill funding the government expires on Friday, March 4th. This measure would be an extension of two weeks.

Senate Committee Action:

House Committee Action:

  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a full committee hearing on the “Impact of Health Care Overhaul on Medicaid and the States”.
  • The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Health Care, District of Columbia, Census and the National Archives will hold a hearing on “DC School Voucher Program Oversight”.
  • The House Financial Services Committee will hold a full committee hearing on “Government Sponsored Enterprises Overhaul”.
  • The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing on “EPA Greenhouse Gas Regulations and Jobs”.
  • The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit will hold a hearing on the “Effect of Dodd-Frank on Small Businesses”.

Content originally posted on The Foundry.

Dustin Carmack contributed to this analysis.

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