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The Week Ahead in Congress

May 31, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

The House kicks things off this week with a vote on raising the debt ceiling by more than $2 trillion. But don’t worry, it won’t pass. The Republicans have put the bill on the calendar in order to prove a point. By allowing a vote on it and watching it get voted down, they hope to get more leverage over the Democrats in the battle over attaching spending cuts to the debt bill.

However, the fact that this debt ceiling bill is so clearly symbolic makes it a less effective bargaining move. Or at least it should. The Republicans have put it on the suspensions calendar, which means that it would take a 2/3rds majority to pass. That’s just not realistic. Of the 11 times the debt ceiling has been raised since 1997, only once has it had 2/3rds support in the House. Furthermore, the Republican leadership is not whipping this, so there is no reason for anyone to vote for it. Raising the debt ceiling has always been something that the majority-party leadership forces their caucus to do, against the political instincts of individual members, for the common good.

The complete House floor schedule is below:

MONDAY, MAY 30TH
On Monday, the House is not in session.

TUESDAY, MAY 31ST
On Tuesday, the House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for morning hour and 2:00 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m.

Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules:

1) H.R. 1954 – To implement the President’s request to increase the statutory limit on the public debt (Sponsored by Rep. Dave Camp / Ways and Means Committee)


2) H.R. 1484 - Veterans Appeals Improvement Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Bob Filner / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)


3) H.R. 802 – To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish a VetStar Award Program (Sponsored by Rep. Bob Filner / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)


4) S. 1082 – Small Business Temporary Extension Act of 2011 (Sponsored by Sen. Mary Landrieu / Small Business Committee)


5) S.Con.Res. 16 – Authorizing the use of Emancipation Hall in the Capitol Visitor Center for an event to celebrate the birthday of King Kamehameha (Sponsored by Sen. Kahikina Akaka / House Administration Committee)


6) H.R. 1194 – To renew the authority of the Secretary of Health and Human Services to approve demonstration projects designed to test innovative strategies in State child welfare programs (Sponsored by Rep. Jim McDermott / Ways and Means Committee)

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 1ST, AND THE BALANCE OF THE WEEK
On Wednesday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.

On Thursday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.

On Friday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. Last votes for the week are expected no later than 3:00 p.m.

H.Con.Res. 51 – Directing the President, pursuant to section 5© of the War Powers Resolution, to remove the United States Armed Forces from Libya (Subject to a Unanimous Consent Agreement)
(Sponsored by Rep. Kucinich / Foreign Affairs Committee)

H.R. 2017 – The Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2012 (Subject to a Rule)
(Sponsored by Rep. Robert Aderholt / Appropriations Committee)

H.R. __ - The Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012
(Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. John Culberson / Appropriations Committee)

The Senate is out of session for the week.

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