OpenCongress Blog

Blog Feed Comments Feed More RSS Feeds

This Week in Congress - Let's Make a Deal

October 18, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Another slow week on the floors of the Senate and the House, but behind the scenes things continue to heat up on health care reform.

Both chambers are hoping to finalize the merging of the health care bills that have been passed through their committee – two in the Senate and three in the House – so they can get then to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) for a budget score and bring them to the floor for votes as soon as possible. The House is currently set to adjourn for the year on October 30th, so I think it’s safe to say that it truly is crunch time.

The House received preliminary budget scores form the CBO last week that show that their two competing versions of health care legislation are both on target to satisfy President Obama’s total cost target of $900 billion over 10 years. Democratic House leaders are hoping to send a final version of the legislation to the CBO early this week so they can get an official score by early next week and move on to the actual floor debate shortly thereafter. But before they send a bill to the CBO, they have to reach a final agreement on the details of the public option plan (will it be tied to Medicare reimbursement rates or not?) and how they are going to finance the the bill (surtax on millionaires like the bills passed by the House committees, or some variation of the Senate’s plan to tax insurance companies’ “Cadillac” plans?).

Officially, the Senate is on the same schedule as the House, but realistically they have a lot more to work out before they’re ready to send a final bill to the CBO for budget scoring. Among other things, the three senators involved in the negotiations – Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV], Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Bauc us [D, MT] and former stand-in HELP Committee Chairman Sen. Christopher Dodd [D, CT] – will have to find some kind of compromise between the HELP bill that includes a public option plan that require the HHS Secretary to negotiate rates with providers and the Finance bill that does not include a public option. Based on the various reports and rumors circulating over the weekend, the negotiators appear to be leaning towards a plan to allow individual states to opt out of a public plan tied to Medicare rates and, in stead, set up other systems for providing competition in the health insurance market, like a non-profit co-op. For a complete run down of all the differences between the HELP and Finance bills that the negotiators will be working on ironing out this week, see the chart in this blog post.

We’ll be watching the reports out of both chambers and reporting the developments on this blog. Grab the RSS feed and stay tuned. Below are the full legislative schedules for the week in the Senate and the House.

First, the House:


On Monday, the House will not be in session.



On Tuesday, the House will meet at 12:30 p.m. for Morning Hour and 2:00 p.m. for legislative business with votes postponed until 6:30 p.m.


Suspensions (6 Bills)

  1. H.R. 3763 - To amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to provide for an exclusion from Red Flag Guidelines for certain businesses (Rep. Adler – Financial Services)
  2. H.R. 3319 – To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 440 South Gulling Street in Portola, California, as the “Army Specialist Jeremiah Paul McCleery Post Office Building” (Rep. McClintock – Oversight and Government Reform)
  3. H.R. 3819 – To extend the commercial space transportation liability regime (Rep. Gordon – Science and Technology)
  4. H.Res. 793 – Supporting the goals and ideals of National Chemistry Week (Rep. Reyes – Science and Technology)
  5. H.Res. 558 – Supporting the increased understanding of, and interest in, computer science and computing careers among the public and in schools, and to ensure an ample and diverse future technology workforce through the designation of National Computer Science Education Week (Rep. Ehlers – Science and Technology)
  6. H.Res. 797 – Expressing the sense of Congress with respect to raising awareness and enhancing the state of cyber security in the United States, and supporting the goals and ideals of the sixth annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month (Rep. Clarke – Science and Technology)



On Wednesday and Thursday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for legislative business. On Friday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business.


Suspensions (12 Bills)

  1. H.R. 3792 - Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 (Rep. Pallone – Energy and Commerce)
  2. H.R. 3632 – Federal Judiciary Administrative Improvements Act of 2009 (Rep. Johnson (GA) – Judiciary)
  3. H.Con.Res. 177 – Raising the awareness of the need for crime prevention in communities across the country and expressing support for designation of October 1, 2009, through October 3, 2009, as “Celebrate Safe Communities” Week, and October as “Crime Prevention Month” (Rep. Reichert – Judiciary)
  4. H.Res. 811 – Expressing support for designation of October 2009 as “National Principals Month” (Rep. Davis (CA) – Education and Labor)
  5. H.Res. 837Recognizing Kentucky Wesleyan College for their service as an institution of higher education for over 150 years (Rep. Guthrie – Education and Labor)
  6. H.Res. 660 – Recognizing the distinguished history of the Laurinburg Normal Industrial Institute (Rep. Kissell – Education and Labor)
  7. H.Res. 836Expressing support for Teen Read Week (Rep. Roe – Education and Labor)
  8. S.Con.Res. 43 – Authorizing the use of the rotunda of the Capitol for the presentation of the Congressional Gold Medal to former Senator Edward Brooke (Sen. McConnell – House Administration)
  9. H.Res. 823 – Expressing deep condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues of those killed and injured in the attack on the United Nations World Food Program office in Islamabad, Pakistan, on October 5, 2009, and support for the WFP’s mission to bring emergency food aid to the most vulnerable people of Pakistan and around the world (Rep. DeLauro – Foreign Affairs)
  10. H.Res. 761 – Remembering and commemorating the lives and work of the Jesuit Fathers on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of their deaths at the University of Central America Jose Simeon Canas located in San Salvador, El Salvador on November 16, 1989 (Rep. McGovern – Foreign Affairs)
  11. H.Res. 672 – Calling on the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to release imprisoned bloggers and respect Internet freedom (Rep. Loretta Sanchez – Foreign Affairs)
  12. H.Res. 175 – Condemning the Government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of its Baha’i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights (Rep. Kirk – Foreign Affairs)


H.R. 3585 – Solar Technology Roadmap Act of 2010 (Rep. Giffords – Science and Technology) (Subject to a Rule)


H.R. 3619 - Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 (Rep. Oberstar – Transportation and Infrastructure) (Subject to a Rule)

And in the Senate:

Convenes: 2:00pm

Morning Business until 4:30pm with senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each.

Following Morning Business, the Senate will resume the motion to proceed to S.1776, the Medicare Physicians Fairness Act of 2009, with the time until 5:30pm equally divided and controlled between the Leaders or their designees.

We expect to reach an agreement to consider S.1776. As a result, there will be no roll call votes on Monday.

… Besides the Medicare Physicians Fairness bill, Democrats will continue this week to try to find some kind of agreement with Repubilcans on passing a 14-week extension of unemployment insurance benefits (H.R. 3548). Republicans claim to be supportive of the extension, but they have blocked the bill each time the Democrats have brought it up for quick passage in the past few weeks.

As always, Congress Matters has prepared the full committee schedule for the week.

Read all blog posts here, or subscribe to our RSS feed to keep up with what’s really happening in Congress.

Like this post? Stay in touch by following us on Twitter, joining us on Facebook, or by Subscribing with RSS.


  • danijos 10/19/2009 5:36am

    H.R. 3548 should have been taken care of 2 weeks ago, in the mean time People have lost their homes, vehicles which is essential to be able to live sleep and get back and fourth to a Job if 1 should ever come up! People are committing suicide Because they cant find a job , have lost everything and can not provide for their families. You all need to sit down and come up with some kind of solution Quick, Stop dilly dallying around with peoples lives while you sit comfy in your chair and reap the the rewards. Instead of giving yourself Raise’s you should all be getting a salary cut to help out the Budget! And pass H.R. 3548 so other Americans can get their lives back!

  • Anonymous 10/19/2009 7:25am

    H.R. 3548 is being stalled due to unemployment rates, stock market going up and stimulus money starting to work as the Obama administration and Democrates are saying. They have until december when the majority will run out of benefits. There is no rush at this point! because we have until Mid-December to get a bill passed!

  • Anonymous 10/19/2009 9:01am
    Link Reply
    + -1

    yes, suicides, no food,no heat, no gas, default on everything. i’m packing a few things to get out on the street. i’ve asked some neighbors to take what i haven’t sold in my home.
    i don’t know where I’ll go or what i’ll do. i’ve worked all my life and it has come to this- homeless, penniless and defeated. My government- useless. THese senators should rot in hell but live long enough to go thru what they’ve done to the unemployed. They all know our small ub payments go immediately and directly right back into the economy. They’re not very intelligent and they don’t care about anything but themselves. Preening selfish assholes

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/19/2009 9:14am
    Link Reply
    + -1

    unfortunately, we gather together for funerals
    fortunately- we are alive and we can do something
    write in and voice your desire to get this passed NOW.
    My senators here in NY know me by my first name and i’m
    going to dc tonite to stand on the senate steps and heckle
    its members LOUDLY when they convene tomorrow morning!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 10/26/2009 4:10am

    No RUSH ? Just because unemployment benefits haven’t run out for everyone doesn’t meen they haven’t run out for a lot of people. Myself being one of them. How can congress just sit back and be comfortable about this issue when there are Americans out here that are on there last leg. Please, please do something one way or the other. In other words; tell me if I should jump, or not jump ?

  • Anonymous 10/19/2009 9:10am


  • MilwaukeeBroad 10/19/2009 11:40am
    Link Reply
    + -1

    Looks like the GOP has forgotten where all the federal money comes from and why it is in short supply nowadays. OK, let’s remind them. Everybody pay your federal taxes to your state. We’ll have all the money we’ll need to jumpstart our own state/local economies and get our own unemployed neighbors working again. This is what it will take to shake down every crooked politician in Congress and every greedy Wall Street exec and CEO. They’re living high on the hog while the rest of us starve. And it will stay that way until we the people spell it out for them. Pay your federal taxes to your state and let Washington have a recession for once.

  • Anonymous 10/19/2009 12:05pm
    Link Reply
    + -1


  • Anonymous 10/19/2009 12:22pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    Many people have already run out and thousands more lose their payments every day. This is not something that can wait… people are suffering NOW! Cal Senator Reid and ask him to show some “Leadership”.
    Even if you have called in the past week, call again TODAY. Call the number and press 1. You will then have to wait a few minutes to speak with an “aide”. Tell them that you are tired of the games being played by both sides and you want action TODAY! If we all let them know how we feel, there is a much better chance of getting them to act. We need to show them that there are many of us suffering because of their inaction. Call now or don’t complain when this bill doesn’t get passed soon:

    Senator Reid: 202-224-3542

  • ca23 10/19/2009 1:34pm

    The Republicans need to stop playing politics and pass this bill!!!! I called today Sen. Reid’s office and they are working to come to agreement so they can bring bill to unanimous vote… so let’s keep pressuring Republicans!
    See article by Senator Gillibrand from Huffington Post

  • ca23 10/19/2009 1:35pm

    The Republicans need to stop playing politics and pass this bill!!!! I called today Sen. Reid’s office and they are working to come to agreement so they can bring bill to unanimous vote… so let’s keep pressuring Republicans!
    See article by Senator Gillibrand from Huffington Post

    So Call Senator McConnell, Senator Gregg, Senator Kyl, & Senator Hatch and all other Republican senators!
    Gregg, Judd – (R – NH) Lead Republican on budget committee
    (202) 224-3324
    Hatch, Orrin G. – (R – UT)
    (202) 224-5251
    Kyl, Jon – (R – AZ)
    (202) 224-4521
    McConnell, Mitch – (R – KY)
    (202) 224-2541

  • Anonymous 10/19/2009 2:02pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    Just lost my car today when the bank refused to grant me an extension on my payments. I have used my car to apply for jobs now I just have to depend on my friends to take me if by the grace of god I will be called for an interview. I was given by my landlord another month to catch up with my rent or else…..I hope that the people in congress can pass the pending bill.

  • Anonymous 10/19/2009 2:25pm

    Gees I look on the computer each day to see if something has been done. Nothing. Every representative in my state voted against this bill. I don’t know what is going to have to happen to get them to wake up. I guess go camp on their doors.

  • Anonymous 10/19/2009 4:26pm

    i lost my benefits the last week in september and my landlord is giving me a few more days to come up with my rent. before she starts the eviction process. then i will have to pay court cost and everything. used the last few dollars to get an extension on my power bill. signed up for foodstamps, but what good will they do if i have no where to use them. I am about to have a stroke. Never had high blood pressure, but now i am taking 4 pills a day. when my medicine runs out i will just be out. all organizations that help the needy are out of funds because so many people are turning to them for help. i am not trying to live above my means, i am just trying to live. i cant ask my family, because it seems to me every time that i talk to some one with a job they are having a harder yime than me. ahter this week i wont have a phone to even get a call back for a job interview. PLEASE JUST PASS THE BILL SO WE CAN SURVIVE. ITS A SHAME TO BE HOMELESS IN THE DEAD OF WINTER!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous 10/21/2009 11:15am

    PLEASE PASS THIS BILL H.R.3548, I don’t know how I am going to tell my children that we will be living in our car soon, let alone eat a hot cooked meal at our soup kitchen at the local church. With out these benefits our lives will be destroyed. Where will my children go after school? They will have no home to go to. Thier childhood will be dramatized with worrying about adult issues, I am sure this will affect them in school too! What are you Republicans thinking? When you go home tonight take a long hard look at your children and think of how you would tell your children that you are homeless and you have no place to cook them dinner! How will that make you feel? Live like us for a week and I bet you pass this ASAP! Demacrats HELP US TODAY!!! PLEASE!!!!

  • Anonymous 10/21/2009 3:22pm

    Please pass the unemploymnet extension, we are living in America not a third world county…what is wrong with all of you….what about helping our brothers…SHAME ON ALL OF YOU.

  • Anonymous 10/21/2009 3:25pm


  • Anonymous 10/22/2009 4:28pm


Due to the archiving of this blog, comment posting has been disabled.