Recapping Last Week in Congress
My favorite kind of week to recap: Congress was in recess for the Thanksgiving holiday last week. But just as a reminder, when our heroes last left us, they had debated a doomed "Balanced Budget Amendment," a federalization of concealed carry gun permitting, and quietly passed another continuing appropriations measure. This latest one funds much of the government (the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services', Food and Drug Administration, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Transportation; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, and other small agencies) through the end of the fiscal year, though some departments remain on only a short-term lifeline, through December 16th.
This Week in Congress
This week in the House will set off your B.S. meter for sure. Here's what's pending (besides the customary suspension bills to begin the week):the "Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act," the "Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act," and the "Regulatory Accountability Act." And yet, I'm not expecting much in the way of Democracy, Fairness, Flexibility Improvements or Accountability. Just to mix things up a bit, the House will also consider a bill to terminate taxpayer financing of presidential election campaigns and party conventions and the Election Assistance Commission.
The Senate schedule begins with a resumption of consideration of the defense authorization bill, with just a quick detour for the consideration of one more judicial nomination. The defense bill is quickly shaping up to be a major battle, though. Look for the biggest confrontations to be over detainee policy, an area in which Congress has recently discovered it may actually have an interest, versus the "unitary executive" and "commander in chief" model that prevailed until... well, until about the time the commander in chief job changed hands. Still, the fact that Congress should be taking a greater interest here doesn't necessarily mean they'll do a particularly good job of it. In fact, Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) doesn't think it they have, and his amendment to strike the relevant provisions of the bill likely be one of the biggest fights this week. With a long (and growing) list of amendments pending, the defense bill could consume the entire week, if not more. But we should also note that there are indications that the Senate could shift its attention to the extension of the payroll tax cut, or at least try to. We'll have to wait and see how much dust Republicans are interested in kicking up on that subject.
Full floor and committee schedules are below the fold.
In the House, courtesy of the Office of the Democratic Whip:
THE WEEKLY WHIP: WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2011
First Vote Of The Week: Tuesday 6:30 p.m.
Last Vote Predicted: Friday 3:00 p.m.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2011
On Monday, the House is not in session.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2011
On Tuesday, the House will meet at 2:00 p.m. for legislative business with votes postponed until 6:30 p.m.
Suspensions (4 Bills)
- H.R. 1801 - Risk-Based Security Screening for Members of the Armed Forces Act (Rep. Cravaack - Homeland Security)
- H.R. 2465 - Federal Workers Compensation Modernization and Improvement Act (Rep. Kline - Education and the Workforce)
- H.R. 3012 - Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act (Rep. Chaffetz - Judiciary)
- H.R. 2192 - National Guard and Reservist Debt Relief Extension Act of 2011 (Rep. Cohen - Judiciary)
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2011
On Wednesday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for Morning Hour debate and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.
Suspension (1 Bill)
- H.Res. 364 - Designating room HVC 215 of the Capitol Visitor Center as the "Gabriel Zimmerman Meeting Room" (Rep. Wasserman Schultz - Transportation and Infrastructure)
H.R. 3094 - Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act (Rep. Kline – Education and Workforce)
The Rule provides for one hour of general debate and makes in order the following amendments:
Rep. Bishop (NY) Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Boswell Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Walz Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Jackson-Lee Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2011 AND THE BALANCE OF THE WEEK
On Thursday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for Morning Hour debate and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business. On Friday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business with last votes no later than 3:00 p.m.
H.R. 3463 – To reduce Federal spending and the deficit by terminating taxpayer financing of presidential election campaigns and party conventions and by terminating the Election Assistance Commission (Rep. Harper – House Administration/Ways and Means) (Subject to a Rule)
H.R. 527 - Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2011 (Rep. Smith (TX) -Judiciary) (Subject to a Rule)
H.R. 3010 - Regulatory Accountability Act of 2011 (Rep. Smith (TX) - Judiciary) (Subject to a Rule)
In the Senate, courtesy of the Office of the Majority Leader:
Senate Floor Schedule for Monday, November 28, 2011 (and pro formas)
The Senate will convene at 11:00am on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 for a pro forma session only, with no business conducted and at 10:30am on Friday, November 25, 2011 for a pro forma session, with no business conducted.
The Senate will convene at 1:00pm on Monday, November 28, 2011. Following any Leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of S.1867, the Department of Defense Authorization Act.
At 5:00pm, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session to consider Calendar #270, the nomination of Christopher Droney, of Connecticut, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit with 30 minutes of debate equally divided and controlled between Senators Leahy and Grassley or their designees. Upon the use or yielding back of time (at approximately 5:30pm), the Senate will conduct a roll call vote on confirmation of the Droney nomination.
Additional roll call votes in relation to amendments to the DoD Authorization act are possible Monday evening.