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The Week Ahead in Congress

July 18, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

If the debt ceiling is going to be raised before we reach the point where we can no longer pay our bills, there’s going to have to be some progress made in the negotiations this week. Not that you’ll be allowed to follow along, though. All the serious work is all being conducted behind closed doors, in secretive meeting between Obama officials and congressional leaders. Instead, we’ll be shown some more symbolic action, this time from the House of Representatives in the form of the “Cut, Cap, and Balance Act.”

That bill links a debt increase to big cuts in non-Defense spending while letting the military budget continue to rise. It also include an amendment to teh Constitution calling for annual budgets to be balanced with spending cuts only. No tax incrreases or loophole closers would be allowed. Obviously, this isn’t even attempting to be the kind of debt/deficit compromise that’s needed given the split in party control in Congress. It’s pure campaign-ad fodder. Again, the real work stays hidden from the public.

The full House schedule for the week is below:

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

MONDAY, JULY 18, 2011
On Monday, 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.

Suspension (1 Bill)

  1. H.R. 33 – To amend the Securities Act of 1933 to specify when certain securities issued in connection with church plans are treated as exempted securities for purposes of that Act (Rep. Biggert – Financial Services)

TUESDAY, JULY 19, 2011
On Tuesday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for Morning Hour debate and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.

H.R. 2560 – Cut, Cap, and Balance Act (Rep. Chaffetz – Budget/Ways and Means) (Subject to a Rule)

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.

Suspension (1 Bill)

  1. H.J.Res. 66 – Approving the renewal of import restrictions contained in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003 (Rep. Crowley – Ways and Means)

H.R. 2553 – Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2011, Part IV (Rep. Mica – Transportation and Infrastructure/Science and Technology/Ways and Means) (Subject to a Rule)

H.R. 1315 – Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act of 2011, as amended (Rep. Duffy– Financial Services) (Subject to a Rule)

H.R. 2551 – Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2012 (Rep. Crenshaw – Appropriations) (Subject to a Rule)

As for the Senate schedule, here’s what we know at this point:

Convenes: 2pm

Following any Leader remarks, the Senate will be in morning business until 3:30pm with Senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each.

Following morning business, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R.2055, the Military Construction, Veterans’ Affairs and related agencies Appropriations bill.

At 5:00pm, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session to consider Calendar #82, the nomination of J. Paul Oetken, of New York, to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York with 30 minutes of debate equally divided between Senators Leahy and Grassley.

Upon the use or yielding of time (at approximately 5:30pm), the Senate will conduct a roll call vote on confirmation of the Oetken nomination.

Apparently the actual McConnell-Reid plan, which looks increasingly likely to be the silver bullet that will solve the debt ceiling impasse, will be unveiled mid-week. Look out for that.

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