Recapping Last Week in Congress
Last week in the House was almost all about the Republican freak-out over regulations, both real and imagined. First, the BANANAS-worthy Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act. Then, the "Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act," which might as well have been the Unicorn Prevention Act.
The Senate's week was also about Republican freak-outs, but in the Senate, Republicans are in the minority, so a freak-out takes the form of a filibuster. And last week saw several: Caitlin Halligan's nomination for the DC Circuit bench; Richard Cordray's nomination to head the CFPB, and; the various alternatives on the payroll tax cut extension.
This Week in Congress
This could be the last week of the first session, and the House kicks its week off with... a slate full of post office, federal building and even park naming bills. Eighteen suspension bills in total are scheduled for the floor this week (not all naming bills, though), as Members scramble to get their non-controversial housekeeping done before the break. Other than the suspensions, the only business that actually appears on the schedule is consideration of a House Republican version of the payroll tax cut extension, and the conference reports on the MilCon appropriations bill and the defense authorization bill. We know, however, that there are still a number of unfinished appropriations bills, the latest temporary extensions of which are scheduled to expire at the end of the week. So we'll either see them bring another omnibus bill to wrap that up, or I suppose they could possibly tuck it into the conference report on MilCon, if they can get an agreement on that.
The Senate stares down the barrel of another couple of filibusters, starting with two on ambassadorial nominations. And one of these in particular really appears to break new ground in audacity, that being the filibuster of Mari Carmen Aponte's nomination as Ambassador to El Salvador, because as the NYT's Gail Collins puts it, Republicans "don’t like a boyfriend she lived with almost 20 years ago."
The rest of the Senate schedule is a catch-all notice that Senators should expect votes on the conference reports (defense authorization and MilCon approps), plus more votes on the payroll tax cut extension.
What that tells us is that both the House and Senate will likely combine a few of the last pending measures together, and tack a few bonus items on to any vehicle that moves, with both parties in both houses likely trying to cram as many of their preferred fixes to the various expiring measures (the Medicare "doc fix," unemployment insurance, etc.) into those bills as they think they can get away with. In addition, the Senate will need to hold its vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment (thanks to the one remaining effective provision of this summer's debt ceiling deal). Some week!
Full floor and committee schedules are below the fold.
In the House, courtesy of the Office of the Democratic Whip:
THE WEEKLY WHIP: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2011
First Vote Of The Week: Monday 6:30 p.m.
Last Vote Predicted: ???
MONDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2011
On Monday, House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for Morning Hour debate and 2:00 p.m. for legislative business with votes postponed until 6:30 p.m.
Suspensions (8 Bills)
- S. 384 - A bill to amend title 39, United States Code, to extend the authority of the United States Postal Service to issue a semipostal to raise funds for breast cancer research (Sen. Feinstein - Oversight and Government Reform)
- H.R. 3220 - To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 170 Evergreen Square SW in Pine City, Minnesota, as the “Master Sergeant Daniel L. Fedder Post Office” (Rep. Cravaack - Oversight and Government Reform)
- H.R. 3246 - To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 15455 Manchester Road in Ballwin, Missouri, as the “Specialist Peter J. Navarro Post Office Building” (Rep. Akin - Oversight and Government Reform)
- H.R. 2158 - To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 14901 Adelfa Drive in La Mirada, California, as the “Wayne Grisham Post Office” (Rep. Linda Sanchez - Oversight and Government Reform)
- H.R. 2767 - To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 8 West Silver Street in Westfield, Massachusetts, as the “William T. Trant Post Office Building” (Rep. Olver - Oversight and Government Reform)
- H.R. 2845 - Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 (Rep. Shuster - Transportation and Infrastructure)
- H.R. 2668 - A bill to designate the station of the United States Border Patrol located at 2136 South Naco Highway in Bisbee, Arizona, as the “Brian A. Terry Border Patrol Station'” (Rep. Issa - Transportation and Infrastructure)
- H.R. 1264 - To designate the property between the United States Federal Courthouse and the Ed Jones Building located at 109 South Highland Avenue in Jackson, Tennessee, as the "M.D. Anderson Plaza" and to authorize the placement of a historical/identification marker on the grounds recognizing the achievements and philanthropy of M.D. Anderson, as amended (Rep. Fincher - Transportation and Infrastructure)
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2011 AND THE BALANCE OF THE WEEK
On Tuesday, Wednesday and 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.
Suspensions (10 Bills)
- H.R. 3421 - Fallen Heroes of 9/11 Act (Rep. Shuster - Financial Services)
- H.R. 886 - United States Marshals Service 225th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act (Rep. Womack - Financial Services)
- H.R. 1905 - Iran Threat Reduction Act of 2011 (Rep. Ros-Lehtinen - Foreign Affairs)
- H.R. 2105 - Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Reform and Modernization Act of 2011 (Rep. Ros-Lehtinen - Foreign Affairs)
- H.Res. 306 - Urging the Republic of Turkey to Safeguard Its Christian Heritage and to Return Confiscated Church Properties (Rep. Royce - Foreign Affairs)
- H.Res. 376 - Calling for the repatriation of POW/MIAs and abductees from the Korean War (Rep. Rangel - Foreign Affairs)
- H.R. 2719 - Rattlesnake Mountain Public Access Act of 2011 (Rep. Hastings (WA) - Natural Resources)
- H.R. 443 - To provide for the conveyance of certain property from the United States to the Maniilaq Association located in Kotzebue, Alaska (Rep. Young (AK)- Natural Resources)
- S. 278 - Sugar Loaf Fire Protection District Land Exchange Act (Sen. Udall (CO) - Natural Resources)
- H.R. 313 - Drug Trafficking Safe Harbor Elimination Act of 2011 (Rep. Smith (TX) - Judiciary)
H.R. 3630 - Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011 (Rep. Camp - Ways and Means/ Energy and Commerce/Financial Services/Foreign Affairs/Transportation and Infrastructure/ Agriculture/Oversight and Government Reform /House Administration/Budget/Natural Resources/ Rules/Intelligence) (Subject to a Rule)
Conference Report on H.R. 2055 - Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 (Rep. Rogers (KY) - Appropriations) (Subject to a Rule)
Conference Report on H.R. 1540 - National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Rep. McKeon - Armed Services) (Subject to a Rule)
In the Senate, courtesy of the Office of the Majority Leader:
Senate Floor Schedule for Monday, December 12, 2011
Following any Leader remarks, the Senate will be in morning business until 4:30pm with Senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each.
At 4:30pm, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session to consider the following nominations:
- #360 Norman L. Eisen – to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Czech Republic
- #501 Mari Carmen Aponte – to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of El Salvador
There will be one hour of debate equally divided and controlled between Senators Kerry and Lugar or their designees. Upon the use or yielding back of time, the Senate will vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the Eisen nomination. If cloture is invoked, the Senate will immediately vote on confirmation of the Eisen nomination. Upon disposition of the Eisen nomination, the Senate will vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the Aponte nomination. Further, if cloture is not invoked on the Eisen nomination, the Senate will vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the Aponte nomination.
Therefore, at approximately 5:30pm on Monday, Senators should expect up to 3 and at least 2 roll call votes in relation the following:
- Motion to invoke cloture on the Eisen nomination
- If cloture is invoked, confirmation of the Eisen nomination
- Motion to invoke cloture on the Aponte nomination
Additionally, Senator Reid announced that the Senate expects to consider the following additional items next week: additional nominations, remaining appropriations bills, balanced budget amendments, and payroll tax, unemployment insurance, Medicare reimbursement, tax extenders, all of which are set to expire at the end of the year.