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The Week Ahead in Congress

June 20, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

The House kicks things off this week with a handful of suspension votes — mainly on renaming post offices — and then gets down to more serious business starting Wednesday. On their schedule for the second half of the week is companion legislation to the Senate-passed bill to revamp the US patent system, a bill to reduce environmental protections so that oil companies can more easily obtain permits to drill off the coast of Alaska, and the 2012 Defense Department spending bill. Despite cutbacks in just about every other area of government, the Defense bill would actually increase the Department’s budget by $17 billion over last year’s level, from $513 billion to $530 billion. And that doesn’t include the extra $119 billion that is being tacked on as “emergency spending” for continuation of the Global War on Terror.

The Senate will start off with votes on a couple judicial nominees and on confirmation of CIA Director Leon Panetta to replace the retiring Robert Gates as the Secretary of Defense. After that, they’ll attempt a vote on ending debate of a once-bipartisan jobs bill, the Economic Development Revitalization Act, which may no longer have enough bipartisan support to end the debate with 60 votes due to disagreements over amendments. If that vote fails, they plan on moving to the “Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act,” which would essentially force the Republicans to live up to their end of the “gentleman’s agreement” on Senate procedure that was negotiated at the beginning of this session by blocking them from blocking some Presidential appointees. The bill has bipartisan co-sponsorship at the moment, but conservative activists have begun to label it an attempt by Obama to become America’s first dictator, so who knows what will happen with it.

The full House schedule is below:

THE WEEKLY WHIP: FRIDAY, JUNE 17, 2011

First Vote Of The Week: Tuesday 6:30 p.m.
Last Vote Predicted: Friday 3:00 p.m.

MONDAY, JUNE 20, 2011
On Monday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for pro forma session. No votes are expected in the House.

TUESDAY, JUNE 21, 2011
On Tuesday, the 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 (5 Bills)

  1. H.R. 1632 – To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 5014 Gary Avenue in Lubbock, Texas, as the “Sergeant Chris Davis Post Office” (Rep. Neugebauer – Oversight and Government Reform)
  2. S. 349 – A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 4865 Tallmadge Road in Rootstown, Ohio, as the “Marine Sgt. Jeremy E. Murray Post Office” (Sen. Brown – Oversight and Government Reform)
  3. S. 655 – A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 95 Dogwood Street in Cary, Mississippi, as the “Spencer Byrd Powers, Jr. Post Office” (Sen. Cochran – Oversight and Government Reform)
  4. H.R. 771 – To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1081 Elbel Road in Schertz, Texas, as the “Schertz Veterans Post Office” (Rep. Cuellar – Oversight and Government Reform)
  5. H.R. 672 – Election Support Consolidation and Efficiency Act (Rep. Harper – House Administration/Science, Space, and Technology)

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 22, 2011 AND THE BALANCE OF THE WEEK
On 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 with last votes no later than 3:00 p.m.

H.R. 1249 – America Invents Act (Rep. Smith (TX) – Judiciary/Budget) (Subject to a Rule)

H.R. 2021 – Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011 (Rep. Gardner – Energy and Commerce) (Subject to a Rule)

H.R. 2219 – Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2012 (Rep. Young (FL) – Appropriations) (Subject to a Rule)

Possible Consideration of Legislation Related to H.R. 658FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act (Rep. Mica – Transportation and Infrastructure/Science, Space, and Technology/Judiciary)

For a detailed look at the Senate plan, here’s the Reid-McConnell agreement that was settled on last Thursday:

During Thursday’s session of the Senate, Senator Reid filed cloture on the motion to proceed to Calendar #75, S.679, the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011.  The Senate then entered into the following unanimous consent agreement.

  • At 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 21, 2011, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session to consider Calendar #34, the nomination of Michael H. Simon, of Oregon, to be US District Judge for the District of Oregon with one hour for debate equally divided and controlled  between Senators Leahy and Grassley.  Upon the use or yielding back of time (at approximately 12pm), the Senate will conduct a roll call vote on confirmation of the Simon nomination.
  • Following this vote, the Senate will recess until 2:15 p.m. for the weekly party conferences.
  • At 2:15 p.m., the Senate will consider Executive Calendar #183, Leon E. Panetta to be Secretary of Defense with 2 hours for debate equally divided between the two Leaders, or their designees.  Upon the use or yielding back of time (at approximately 4:15pm), the Senate will conduct a roll call vote on confirmation of the Panetta nomination.
  • Following this vote, the Senate will resume consideration of  S. 782, the EDA bill and conduct a roll call vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the bill.
  • If cloture is not invoked, the Senate will immediately conduct an additional roll call vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to S. 679, the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011.
  • Therefore, Senators should expect up to 4 roll call votes on Tuesday, June 21st:

    • at approximately12pm

      • Confirmation of the Simon nomination
    • at approximately 4:15pm

      • Confirmation of the Panetta nomination
      • Motion to invoke cloture on S.782, the Economic Development Act
      • Motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to S.679, the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act
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