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The Week Ahead

September 12, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Time to start paying attention again. It’s mid-September, the “August” recess is officially over, and Congress is coming back into session today to get back to taking care of the people’s business.

Clearly, there are some enormous issues facing Congress as they return. The unemployment rate is creeping back up (it’s at 9.6% and is expected to stay high for some time), long-term unemployment is off the charts, and the expiring 2001 Bush tax cuts need to be dealt with. That’s not to mention the 372 bills that this session of Congress has started working on but never finished, which deal with such critical issues as climate change, post-Citizens campaign finance reform, and food safety.

We’re now just 50 days out from a super contentious mid-term election, which mean that, more than ever, everything that happens on the Hill is going to be done with the political implications considered first and foremost. But in todays political climate it’s not always clear what the implications of certain actions are. Leaving the policy questions aside, is it good politics for the GOP to vote down an extension of the Bush tax cuts for people earning leass than $250,000 because they prefer an extension for everyone? Is another extension of federal unemployment benefits, which are set to expire on November 30, smart politics for the Democrats? There’s a lot of uncertainty out there about how the legislative game should be played right now in order to maximize electoral benefits in November, which makes it an ideal time to contact your Rep. and/or Sens. to tell them what you care about and what you think their legislative priorities should be. You can write them directly from their profile pages on OpenCongress (look them up by zipcode here). We also provide their D.C. office phone numbers if you’d rather speak with an aide.

Here’s what the House has on their schedule for the week:



On Monday, the House is not in session.


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

Suspensions (8 Bills)

  1. H.Res. __Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the terrorist attacks launched against the United States on September 11, 2001 (Reps. Hoyer/Boehner)
  2. H.Res. 1052 – Honoring the members of the Army National Guard and Air National Guard of the State of Oklahoma for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States since September 11, 2001 (Rep. Boren – Armed Services)
  3. H.Res. 1251 – Recognizing and honoring the United States troops who gave their lives on D-Day at the Battle of Normandy (Rep. Poe – Armed Services)
  4. H.R. 6102 – To amend the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 to extend the authority of the Secretary of the Navy to enter into multiyear contracts for F/A-18E, F/A-18F, and EA-18G aircraft (Rep. Taylor – Armed Services)
  5. H.Res. 1571 – Acknowledging and congratulating Miami Dade College on the occasion of its 50th anniversary of service to the students and residents of the State of Florida (Rep. Ros-Lehtinen – Education and Labor)
  6. H.Res. 1564 – Commending and congratulating Michigan Technological University on the occasion of its 125th anniversary (Rep. Stupak – Education and Labor)
  7. H.Res. 1480 – Commending the University of Southern California Trojan men’s tennis team for its victory in the 2010 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men’s Tennis Championship (Rep. Watson – Education and Labor)
  8. H.Res. __Expressing support for designation of the week beginning September 19, 2010, as “National Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week” (Rep. Grijalva – Education and Labor)


On Wednesday and Thursday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for legislative business. On Friday, no votes are expected in the House. 

Suspensions (19 Bills)

  1. H.R. 2039 - Congressional Made in America Promise Act (Rep. Kaptur – House Administration) 
  2. H.R. 3116 – Berry Amendment Extension Act (Rep. Kissell – Homeland Security) 
  3. Senate Amendments to H.R. 3978 – First Responder Anti-Terrorism Training Resources Act (Rep. Rogers (MI) – Homeland Security) 
  4. H.Res. 1375 – Recognizing the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment (Rep. Cooper – Judiciary) 
  5. H.R. 4862 – To permit Members of Congress to administer the oath of allegiance to applicants for naturalization (Rep. Serrano – Judiciary) 
  6. H.Res. 1595 – Recognizing the 50th anniversary of the passage of legislation that created real estate investment trusts (REITs) and gave millions of Americans new investment opportunities that helped them build a solid foundation for retirement security and has contributed to the overall strength of our economy (Rep. Levin – Ways and Means)
  7. H.R. 5366 – Overseas Contractor Reform Act (Rep. Welch – Oversight and Government Reform)
  8. H.R. 5873 – To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 218 North Milwaukee Street in Waterford, Wisconsin, as the “Captain Rhett W. Schiller Post Office” (Rep. Ryan (WI) – Oversight and Government Reform)
  9. S. 2868 – Federal Supply Schedules Usage Act (Sen. Lieberman – Oversight and Government Reform)
  10. H.Res. 1522 – Expressing support for designation of the last week of September as National Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Week and the last Wednesday of September as National Previvor Day (Rep. Wasserman Schultz – Oversight and Government Reform)
  11. H.Res. __Expressing condolences to and solidarity with the people of Pakistan in the aftermath of the devastating floods that began July 22, 2010 (Rep. Berman – Foreign Affairs)
  12. H.R. 5282 – To provide funds to the Army Corps of Engineers to hire veterans and members of the Armed Forces to assist the Corps with curation and historic preservation activities (Rep. Barrow – Transportation and Infrastructure)
  13. H.R. 5651 – To designate the Federal building and United States courthouse located at 515 9th Street in Rapid City, South Dakota, as the “Andrew W. Bogue Federal Building and United States Courthouse” (Rep. Herseth Sandlin – Transportation and Infrastructure)
  14. H.R. 5706 – To designate the facility of the Government Printing Office located at 31451 East United Avenue in Pueblo, Colorado, as the “Frank Evans Government Printing Office Building” (Rep. Salazar – Transportation and Infrastructure)
  15. Senate Amendment to H.R. 3562 – An act to designate the federally occupied building located at 1220 Echelon Parkway in Jackson, Mississippi, as the ‘James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and Roy K. Moore Federal Building’ (Rep. Thompson (MS) – Transportation and Infrastructure)
  16. H.R. 5773 – To designate the Federal building located at 6401 Security Boulevard in Baltimore, Maryland, as the “Robert M. Ball Federal Building” (Rep. Cummings – Transportation and Infrastructure)
  17. H.Res. 1583 – Observing the fifth anniversary of the date on which Hurricane Rita devastated the coasts of Louisiana and Texas, remembering those lost in the storm and in the process of evacuation, recovery, and rebuilding; saluting the dedication of the volunteers who offered assistance in support of those affected by the storm, recognizing the progress of efforts to rebuild the affected Gulf Coast region, commending the persistence of the people of the States of Louisiana and Texas following the second major hurricane to hit Louisiana that season, and reaffirming Congress’ commitment to restore and renew the Gulf Coast region (Rep. Boustany – Transportation and Infrastructure)
  18. H.Res. 1577 – Observing the fifth anniversary of the date on which Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, saluting the dedication of volunteers who offered assistance in support of those affected by the storm, recognizing the progress of efforts to rebuild the affected Gulf Coast region, commending the persistence of the people of the States of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, and reaffirming Congress’ commitment to restore and renew (Rep. Cao – Transportation and Infrastructure)
  19. H.Res. 1473 – Supporting backcountry airstrips and recreational aviation (Rep. Rehberg – Transportation and Infrastructure)

H.R. 4785 – Rural Energy Savings Program Act (Rep. Clyburn – Agriculture/Energy and Commerce) (Subject to a Rule)

* Conference Reports may be brought up at any time.

* Motions to go to Conference should they become available.

* Possible Motions to Instruct Conferees.

And here’s what the Senate is saying:

Monday, Sept. 13th.

Convenes: 2:30pm

following any Leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to a period of morning business until 3:30pm with senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each.

At 3:30pm, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session to consider the nomination of Jane Stranch, of Tennessee, to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit. There will be 2 hours for debate with the time equally divided and controlled between Senators Leahy and Sessions, or their designees.

At 5:30pm on Monday, September 13, the Senate will proceed to vote on confirmation of the nomination of Jane Stranch to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit.

As a reminder, Senator Reid filed 4 cloture motions with respect to the Small Business Jobs bill (HR5297). The filing deadline for first degree amendments to HR5297 and the Reid for Baucus-Landrieu amendment #4594 (Substitute) is 3:00pm on Monday, September 13.

Tuesday, Sept. 14th.

At 11:00am, on Tuesday, September 14, the Senate will proceed to a cloture vote on Johanns amendment #4596 (1099 reporting). If cloture is not invoked, the Senate would proceed to a cloture vote on the Nelson (FL) amendment #4595 (1099 reporting). If cloture is invoked, there would be up to 30 hours for debate. If cloture is not invoked, the Senate would proceed to a cloture vote on the substitute amendment #4594 to HR5297, Small Business Jobs.

The small business bill is essentially a piece of the Democrats fall job-growth package. It would create a $30 billion small business lending fund, funnelled though banks holding less than $10 billion in assets, and provide $12 billion in tax breaks to help small businesses grow and add new employees. It has been blocked in the Senate by Republicans since late June, but Sen. George Voinovich’s [R, OH] change of heart recent change of heart should give the Democrats the 60 votes they need to move forward with it.

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