The Week AheadDecember 13, 2010 - by Donny Shaw
If congressional leaders have their way, this will be the final week of the 111th Congress. President Obama and most Republicans are hoping the Democrats will end their four years in the majority by passing a full extension of the Bush tax cuts for all income levels. To that end, the Senate is set to take a big cloture vote this afternoon on an amendment to the House’s bill to allow the tax cuts to expire for income over $200,000 (H.R. 4853) that would change the bill to extend all the tax cuts, lower the estate tax, extend unemployment benefits, and lots more. If today’s vote passes, as is expected, the bill will be sent back to the House by Tuesday evening for follow-up action. That’s where things become less clear.
The House would have two options. They could accept the Senate’s changes to their bill and hold a vote on agreeing to the amendment, or they could attempt to add another amendment of their own and send it back to the Senate for more votes. Some House Democrats are looking to add a new tier of unemployment benefits for 99ers, but most are focused on increasing the lower estate tax rate that is in the Senate amendment.
The most likely scenario is that the House will hold votes on a couple amendments, but if they don’t pass it’s sounding more and more likely that Democrats will allow Republicans and a few dozen Blue Dogs to just sign off on the Senate deal and send it to Obama. Rep. Chris Van Hollen [D, MD-8], one of Speaker Pelosi’s close allies in the House, suggested so several times in an appearance on Fox New Sunday. “We’re not going to hold this up at the end of the day,” he said. Van Hollen also told the Wall Street Journal that the House is “very focused on getting a comprehensive tax compromise passed by the end of the year.”
Needless to say, we’ll be watching the developments here closely. For now, let’s have a look at what’s on the Senate and House schedules for the week.
First, the House:
First Vote Of The Week: Tuesday 6:00 p.m.
Last Vote Predicted: Friday p.m
MONDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2010
On Monday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for pro forma session. No votes are expected in the House.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2010
On Tuesday, the House will meet at 12:30 p.m. for Morning Hour debate and 2:00 p.m. for legislative business with votes postponed until 6:00 p.m.
Suspensions (14 Bills)
- S. 2906 – A bill to amend the Act of August 9, 1955, to modify a provision relating to leases involving certain Indian tribes (Sen. Cantwell – Natural Resources)
- S. 1609 – Longline Catcher Processor Subsector Single Fishery Cooperative Act (Sen. Cantwell – Natural Resources)
- Senate Amendment to H.R. 1061 – Hoh Indian Tribe Safe Homelands Act (Rep. Dicks – Natural Resources)
- S. 1405 – Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site Designation Act (Sen. Kennedy – Natural Resources)
- S. 1448 – A bill to amend the Act of August 9, 1955, to authorize the Coquille Indian Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw, the Klamath Tribes, and the Burns Paiute Tribe to obtain 99-year lease authority for trust land (Sen. Merkley – Natural Resources)
- S.Con.Res. 72 – A concurrent resolution recognizing the 45th anniversary of the White House Fellows Program (Sen. Brownback – Oversight and Government Reform)
- H.R. 6205 – To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1449 West Avenue in Bronx, New York, as the “Private Isaac T. Cortes Post Office” (Rep. Crowley – Oversight and Government Reform)
- S. 3794 – FOR VETS Act of 2010 (Sen. Leahy – Oversight and Government Reform)
- H.Res. 1743 – Congratulating Gerda Weissmann Klein on being selected to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom (Rep. Mitchell – Oversight and Government Reform)
- H.R. 5446 – To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 600 Florida Avenue in Cocoa, Florida, as the “Harry T. and Harriette Moore Post Office” (Rep. Posey – Oversight and Government Reform)
- H.R. __ – To make technical corrections to provisions of law enacted by the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 (Rep. Oberstar – Transportation and Infrastructure)
- H.R. 6510 – To direct the Administrator of General Services to convey a parcel of real property in Houston, Texas, to the Military Museum of Texas (Rep. Jackson-Lee – Transportation and Infrastructure)
- S. 3984 – Museum and Library Services Act of 2010 (Sen. Reed – Education and Labor)
- S. 1275 – National Foundation on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition Establishment Act (Sen. Warner – Education and Labor)
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2010 AND THE BALANCE OF THE WEEK
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)
- S. 3036 – National Alzheimer’s Project Act (Sen. Bayh – Energy and Commerce)
- H.Res. 1600 – Supporting the critical role of the physician assistant profession and supporting the goals and ideals of National Physician Assistant Week (Rep. McCollum – Energy and Commerce)
- S. 30 – Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009 (Sen. Nelson (FL) – Energy and Commerce)
- S. 3386 – Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (Sen. Rockefeller – Energy and Commerce)
- S. 3199 – Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act of 2010 (Sen. Snowe – Energy and Commerce)
- H.Res. __ – Supporting a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and condemning unilateral declarations of a Palestinian state (Rep. Berman – Foreign Affairs)
- S. 987 – International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2010 (Sen. Durbin – Foreign Affairs)
- H.Res. 20 – Calling on the State Department to list the Socialist Republic of Vietnam as a “Country of Particular Concern” with respect to religious freedom. (Rep. Royce – Foreign Affairs)
- H.Res. 1757 – Providing for the approval of final regulations issued by the Office of Compliance to implement the Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998 that apply to the House of Representatives and employees of the House of Representatives (Rep. Brady (PA) – House Administration)
- H.Res. 1377 – Honoring the accomplishments of Norman Yoshio Mineta (Rep. Honda – House Administration)
- S. 3860 – A bill to require reports on the management of Arlington National Cemetery (Sen. McCaskill – Veterans’ Affairs)
- H.R. 4337 – Regulated Investment Company Modernization Act (Rep. Rangel – Ways and Means)
Possible Further Action on H.R. 3082 – Making Further Continuing Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2011 and the Food Safety Enhancement Act (Rep. Obey – Appropriations) (If amended by the Senate)
Possible Further Action on H.R. 4853 – Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010 (Rep. Levin – Ways and Means) (If amended by the Senate)
- 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 we know about the Senate:
Following any Leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of the motion to concur with respect to H.R.4853, the vehicle for the tax compromise. The time until 3:00pm will be equally divided and controlled between the two Leaders or their designees. At 3:00pm, the Senate will proceed to vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R.4853, with the Reid-McConnell amendment #4753 (tax compromise).