This Week in Congress: Leadership Elections Loom Large (June 16 — 20)

House Analysis: This week the House will be consumed with leadership elections, which are scheduled for Thursday.  As a result, the legislative agenda is sparse with just a handful of suspension bills and DOD appropriations on the schedule.

Major Floor Action:

  • H.R. 4870, the  Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2015

Senate Analysis:  This week the Senate will continue consideration of judicial nominations and will begin the appropriations process with a “minibus.”  All eyes will once again be on Harry Reid to see how many amendments, if any, senators are allowed to offer.  Budget watchers will also be looking at the bill for gimmicks that hide spending increases, in violation of the established budget caps.

Major Floor Action:

  •  H.R. 4660, a vehicle for for a “cluster” of three Senate spending bills: Commerce-Justice-Science (S 2437), Transportation-HUD (S 2438) and Agriculture (S 2389) measures
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This Week in Congress: May 12 — 16

The House is out of session this week.  

Senate Analysis: This week the Senate will continue work on the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S. 2282). Debate on the bill, which opposed by Heritage Action and numerous conservative groups, has been less about substance than Senate procedure; specifically whether Senators will be allowed to offer amendments.  The debate over amendments is likely to spill over into the debate over so-called tax extenders, which are expected on the Senate floor later in the week.  That debate could highlight a growing rift between President Obama and some Senate Democrats how to approach expiring tax provisions.

Major Floor Action

Major Committee Action

  • College Athletes and Academics will be the subject of a hearing in the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee
  • Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act will be marked up in the Environment and Public Works Committee
  • Boko Haram will be the subject of a hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on African Affairs
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This Week in Washington: March 24 – 28

The House and Senate are back after a week-long recess.   Two issues are expected to be front and center this week: the Ukraine aid package and action on the Medicare “Doc Fix.”  Before the congressional recess, the House passed legislation intended to demonstrate support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s takeover of Crimea.  The Senate amended the legislation to include controversial and long-stalled legislation that would weaken U.S. control at the IMF.  At this point, there is not a clear path forward on the Ukraine package.  The House and Senate will also consider some legislation — likely a short-term patch — to address the pending cut to Medicare’s doctor reimbursement rate.

Major House Floor Action

  • H.R. 2824 – Preventing Government Waste and Protecting Coal Mining Jobs in America
  • Possible action on Ukraine and Doc Fix legislation

Major Senate Floor Action

  •  S.2124 – Ukraine and IMF legislation
  • S.2110 — Medicare SGR Repeal and Beneficiary Access Improvement Act of 2014
  • S.2148 — a retroactive extension of emergency unemployment benefits
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Cloakroom: Home for Christmas

Both the House and Senate are out of session this week.  

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Cloakroom: This Week in Congress

House

Analysis: This week, the House may vote on the farm bill conference report, which is a tentative framework reconciling the flawed House and Senate farm bills. One of the glaring flaws in the compromise is that it replaces direct payments — a program that pays farmers even when they have not produced anything that year — with a new program that does the same thing, wasting billions of taxpayer dollars in the process. Alternatively, the House may pass a one month extension of the current farm bill. In addition, the House may consider legislation pertaining to the Sustainable Growth Rate in Medicare. Finally, they may move forward with a budget deal between the House and Senate, as no deal was reached last week according to reports. If no deal is reached, the House may vote to pass a clean Continuing Resolution (CR).

Major Floor Action:

  • H.R. 2642 – Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013
  • H.Con.Res. 25 – Establishing the budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2014 and setting forth appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2015 through 2023

Major Committee Action:

Senate

Analysis: The Senate may move to reconsider the nomination of Mel Watt, who has long been a proponent of increased government intervention in housing, to serve as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Conservatives note that in the past, he was involved in creating policies that hinder low-income and middle-income individuals’ ability to become homeowners. The Senate may also vote to confirm Patricia Ann Millett to be United States Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit. Millett was the first judicial nominee to receive a cloture vote requiring only a simple majority to end debate after Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) 13% invoked the nuclear option to change the Senate rule requiring 60 votes to end debate. Finally, the Senate may also continue consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014.

Major Floor Action:

  • S. 1197 — National Defense Authorization Act
  • S. ­­­­___ — Possible legislation related to the minimum wage

Major Committee Action:

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