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The Week Ahead

September 20, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

I know a lot of you out there are waiting on the Senate to take up legislation extending unemployment insurance to 99ers and other exhaustees, but it looks like this week will instead be used to hold a couple politically-charged votes on a bill that Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] doesn’t even plan on finishing until after the November midterms. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the immigration-related DREAM Act are scheduled for debate and votes this week as amendments to the 2011 Defense AUthorization Act, which Reid said on Thursday most likely won’t be completed until the lame-duck session.

These are issues that the Democrats — and Reid in particular — seem to think can motivate the Democratic base to get out and vote and help them hold seats come election time. They don’t seem too worried that ignoring the unemployed will backfire electorally. To date, they have done nothing to advance legislation to help exhaustees. And time is running out — the Senate is set to adjourn until mid November on October 8, though senators are pressuring Reid to let them go home a week early to work on their campaigns and the buzz seems to be that Reid is going to give in.

To be clear, the fact that unemployment insurance is not on the schedule this week is not a surprise. Before S.3706 (a.k.a. the 99ers bill) ever gets a vote, we’ll see the procedural wheels begin to turn with the first indication being the scheduling of a mark-up session in the Senate Finance Committee. But it’s still noteworthy that even with all the problems in our economy, the Senate is choosing to spend this critical penultimate legislative session on stuff that is not designed to help those suffering from the recession and is not even inteded to step forward in the legislative process any time soon. (By the way, you can subscribe the RSS feed for actions on S.3706 to be alerted right away if something does start to happen with the bill.)

Here’s a look at what’s happening in the House this week:

First Vote of the Week… Wednesday 6:00 p.m.
Last Vote Predicted… Friday p.m.


On Monday, the House will meet at 2:30 p.m. for pro forma session. No votes are expected in the House.


On Tuesday, no votes are expected in the House, which is a change to the previously announced schedule.


On Wednesday the House will meet at 2:00 p.m. for legislative business with votes postponed until 6:00 p.m. On 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 (39 Bills)

  1. H.R. 4347 – Department of the Interior Tribal Self-Governance Act (Rep. Boren – Natural Resources)
  2. H.R. 5811 – To amend the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and Alabama and Coushatta Indian Tribes of Texas Restoration Act to allow the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Tribe to determine blood quantum requirement for membership in that tribe (Rep. Reyes – Natural Resources)
  3. H.R. 4195 – To authorize the Peace Corps Commemorative Foundation to establish a commemorative work in the District of Columbia and its environs (Rep. Farr – Natural Resources)
  4. H.R. 5494 – To direct the Director of the National Park Service and the Secretary of the Interior to transfer certain properties to the District of Columbia (Rep. Norton – Natural Resources)
  5. H.R. 5152 – Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park Boundary Adjustment Act of 2010 (Rep. Gingrey – Natural Resources)
  6. H.R. 5194 – Mt. Andrea Lawrence Designation Act of 2010 (Rep. McKeon – Natural Resources)
  7. H.Con.Res. 294 – Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway (Rep. Perriello – Natural Resources)
  8. H.Res. 1503 – Expressing support for the goals and ideals of National Estuaries Day (Rep. Castor – Natural Resources)
  9. H.Res. 1508 – Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of John James Audubon in Henderson, Kentucky (Rep. Whitfield – Natural Resources)
  10. Senate Amendment to H.R. 1454 – Multinational Species Conservation Funds Semipostal Stamp Act (Rep. Brown (SC) – Natural Resources)
  11. H.R. 3470 – Nationally Enhancing the Wellbeing of Babies through Outreach and Research Now Act (Rep. Cohen – Energy and Commerce)
  12. H.R. 5756 – Training and Research for Autism Improvements Nationwide Act (Rep. Doyle – Energy and Commerce)
  13. H.R. 2923 – Combat Methamphetamine Enhancement Act (Rep. Gordon – Energy and Commerce)
  14. H.R. 3199 – Emergency Medic Transition (EMT) Act (Rep. Harman – Energy and Commerce)
  15. H.R. 5809 – Safe Drug Disposal Act of 2010 (Rep. Inslee – Energy and Commerce)
  16. H.R. 1745 – Family Health Care Accessibility Act (Rep. Tim Murphy – Energy and Commerce)
  17. H.R. 5710 – National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Reauthorization Act of 2010 (Rep. Whitfield – Energy and Commerce)
  18. S.2781 – Rosa’s Law (Sen. Mikulski – Energy and Commerce)
  19. H.R. __ – Renewing the Authority of the Secretary of Health and Human Services to Approve Demonstration Projects Designed to Test Innovative Strategies in State Child Welfare Programs (Rep. McDermott – Ways and Means)
  20. S. 1674 – Improving Access to Clinical Trials Act of 2010 (Sen. Wyden – Ways and Means)
  21. H.R. 6130 – Strengthening Medicare Anti-Fraud Measures Act of 2010 (Rep. Stark – Ways and Means)
  22. H.Res. 1560 – 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 – Education and Labor)
  23. H.Res. 1582 – Honoring and saluting Americans for the Arts on its 50th anniversary (Rep. Slaughter – Education and Labor)
  24. H.Res. 1545 – Expressing support for designation of the week beginning on the third Monday in September as “National Postdoc Appreciation Week” (Rep. Stearns – Education and Labor)
  25. S. 1055 – A bill to grant the congressional gold medal, collectively, to the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, United States Army, in recognition of their dedicated service during World War II (Sen. Boxer – Financial Services)
  26. S. 846 – A bill to award a congressional gold medal to Dr. Muhammad Yunus, in recognition of his contributions to the fight against global poverty (Sen. Durbin – Financial Services)
  27. H.R. 3421 – Medical Debt Relief Act (Rep. Kilroy – Financial Services)
  28. H.R. 2853 – All-American Flag Act (Rep. Braley – Oversight and Government Reform)
  29. H.R. 3960 – Residential and Commuter Toll Fairness Act (Rep. McMahon – Transportation and Infrastructure)
  30. H.R. 5591 – To designate the facility of the Federal Aviation Administration located at Spokane International Airport in Spokane, Washington, as the “Ray Daves Air Traffic Control Tower” (Rep. McMorris Rodgers – Transportation and Infrastructure)
  31. H.R. 4387 – To designate the Federal building located at 100 North Palafox Street in Pensacola, Florida, as the “Winston E. Arnow Federal Building” (Rep. Miller (FL) – Transportation and Infrastructure)
  32. H.R. 4714 – National Transportation Safety Board Reauthorization Act of 2010 (Rep. Oberstar – Transportation and Infrastructure)
  33. H.R. 3427 – State Ethics Law Protection Act (Rep. Quigley – Transportation and Infrastructure)
  34. H.R. 6008CLEAN Act (Rep. Schauer – Transportation and Infrastructure)
  35. Senate Amendment to H.R. 1517 – To allow certain U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees who serve under an overseas limited appointment for at least 2 years, and whose service is rated fully successful or higher throughout that time, to be converted to a permanent appointment in the competitive service (Rep. Engel – Homeland Security)
  36. H.Res. 1618 – Urging the Federal Government, States, localities, schools, nonprofit organizations, businesses, other entities, and the people of the United States to observe National Preparedness Month (Rep. Thompson (MS) – Homeland Security)
  37. H.R. 5264 – Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act (Rep. Conyers – Judiciary)
  38. H.R. 5932 – Organized Retail Theft Investigation and Prosecution Act of 2010 (Rep. Scott (VA) – Judiciary)
  39. H.R. 5231 – Drug Trafficking Safe Harbor Elimination Act of 2010 (Rep. Smith (TX) – Judiciary)

Further Action on the Senate Amendment to H.R. 5297 – Small Business Lending Fund Act of 2010 (Rep. Frank – Financial Services) (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 Democrats’ calendar tells us about their week:

Monday, Sept. 20 — Convenes: 2:00pm

Following any Leader remarks, there will be a period of morning business until 3:00pm with senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each.

At 3:00pm, the Senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to S.3454, the Department of Defense Authorization bill. There will be no roll call votes during Monday’s session of the Senate.

Not much information there, but let me fill you in. The Senate already has a unanimous consent agreement in place to hold a cloture vote on the motion to proceed to debate of the Defense bill at 2:15 on Tuesday afternoon. That bill already contains language to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” so Tuesday’s cloture vote will be a sort of test vote on DADT. Cloture takes a 60-vote majorit yto be invoked, which means the Democrats have to pick off at least one Republican, and they will probably have to pick off several because of Democratic defectors.

If cloture is invoked on the bill, they will hold at least two more big amendment votes ths week. One will be on a Democratic amendment to add the DREAM Act to the bill and the other will be a Republican amendment to strip out the DADT language. Unanimous consent will be objected to for both amendments and they will both need 60 votes to pass. After these two amendments are voted on, Reid is expected to set the Defense bill aside until after the elections. Next up will probably be the Bush tax cuts, a continuing resolution to fund teh government in lieu of regular appropriations, or the Obama tax-cut/infrastructure bank stimulus program.

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