Morning Action: Lawmakers Flee Washington
Recess. After ramming through a 1,582-page, $1.111 trillion spending bill through Congress in less than four days, lawmakers fled Washington to begin yet another recess. That does not mean things will be quiet, though. As the Wall Street Journal reports, we could see big news next week on the House’s “piecemeal” amnesty push:
House Republican leaders are preparing for the first time to endorse legal status for many of the 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally, a step that could jump-start the moribund immigration debate.
As early as next week, House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) and other GOP leaders will release a one-page set of principles outlining how they hope to overhaul the immigration system, people familiar with their plans say. It will stop short of offering the sort of path to citizenship endorsed by the Senate, but represents a major step toward what immigration advocates and Democrats have long sought.
Retirement. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) will retire at the end of the year due to health concerns.
Sen. Tom Coburn, who has spent a combined 15 years here rooting out government waste and warning about mounting U.S. debt, will resign after the current session of Congress, foregoing the final two years of his term.
Coburn, R-Muskogee, has been battling a recurrence of prostate cancer but said he wasn’t leaving early because of his health.
In a brief interview, Coburn said he wanted to focus on the next stage in his life.
Flood. When the Senate reconvenes in late January, it will seek further changes to the recent reforms made to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). A one-year delay of important, much-needed reforms was included in the omnibus spending bill. CQ (sub. req’d) reports:
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) 13% filed a motion to limit debate on the motion to proceed to the measure (S 1926) before adjournment Thursday. The Senate is scheduled to vote on the motion when it returns for legislative business Jan. 27.
Despite the bill not moving this week, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), who has been pushing for action on the issue, predicted senators would overwhelmingly support the delay.
Meanwhile, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) 52%, who is running for Landrieu’s seat in this fall’s elections, is pushing a similar proposal (HR 3693) in the House.
The omnibus makes it easier for Lucas to pass a farm bill. Western members wanted the omnibus to reinstate funding for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program that sends money to local governments in areas where the federal government owns most of the land, thereby limiting property tax revenue. House leaders promised this would be taken care of in the farm bill and Lucas was all too happy to comply, knowing this adds momentum to passing the farm bill in late January.