Cloakroom: Happy Independence Day!

The House of Representative and Senate are both in recess this week for the 4th of July.  Both chambers will return the following week.

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Cloakroom: June 17 – June 21

House Cloakroom

Analysis:  This week the House will take up their version of the farm bill.  Like the Senate bill that has already passed it is a nearly $1 trillion reauthorization of food stamps and agriculture subsidies.  The Heritage Foundation has compiled a list of 20 unjustified programs from the bill, including a tax on Christmas trees.  Also on the floor next week will be a bill banning abortions in the District of Columbia after 20 weeks when unborn babies are capable of feeling pain.

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Cloakroom: Immigration Hits the Senate Floor

House Cloakroom: June 10 – 14 

Analysis: This week the House will take up their annual authorization of the Department of Defense.  This bill with lay out the programs and policies for the department for the 2014 fiscal year that Congress will later fund through the appropriations process.  The Heritage Foundation lists the top 10 items Congress needs to include in the bill here.

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Cloakroom: Appropriations Season

House Cloakroom: June 3 – June 7

Analysis: This week the House will begin taking up the 12 annual appropriations bills that fund the government.  Up first will be the bills that fund the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Homeland Security and military construction.  The two bills will be considered under an open rule ensuring a lively floor process with unlimited amendments.  The funding levels in these bills will be adjusted by the sequester enforced spending reductions.

Major Floor Action:

  • HR 1919 – Safeguarding America’s Pharmaceuticals Act of 2013
  • HR 2216 – Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act
  • HR 2217 – Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2013 
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Cloakroom: May 20 – May 24

House Cloakroom: May 20 – May 24

Analysis:  This week the House will take up the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and student loan rate reform.  The Northern Route Approval Act does just what its name suggests, approve the Keystone pipeline.  This pipeline will be source of jobs and energy for Americans and approval is currently being held up by the Obama administration.  The Smarter Solutions for Students Act reforms the way the government charges interest on student loans.  The current rate of 3.4% is going back up to 6.8% this summer.  Instead of Congress picking an interest rate this reform would tie the interest rate to the Treasury rate plus 2.5% making it a variable rate.

Major Floor Action:

  • HR 3 – Northern Route Approval Act
  • HR 1911 – Smarter Solutions for Students Act

Major Committee Action:

  • The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on the IRS scandal.
  • The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on immigration reform.
  • The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on Medicare reform.
  • The House Agriculture Committee will hold hearing on the future of the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission.


Senate Cloakroom: May 20 – May 24

Analysis:  This week the Senate will consider S. 954. This nearly $1 trillion bill has initial 10 year cost estimates of $955 billion dollars—80% of which is in food stamps. The bill would lock in new entitlement programs with shallow loss crop insurance (ARC) and target price supports (AMP).

Major Floor Action:

  • S 954 – Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013

Major Committee Action:

  • The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on the IRS scandal.
  • The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx to be Secretary of Transportation.
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