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The Week Ahead in Congress

September 6, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

Can Washington do anything to help create jobs? The August recess is finally over and it’s time for Congress to take up their promised “pivot to jobs.” If there is a will in Washington to put aside the partisanship and pass legislation to get the hiring cycle churning again, they’ll make some progress this work period. But don’t hold your breath — despite the terrible August jobs numbers, all signs still point to gridlock.

On Thursday, Obama will lay out his ideas for fiscal stimulus and jobs bills before a joint session of Congress. Ahead of that, the Senate is going to debate the House’s patent reform bill, which is one of those bills Obama has been saying Congress could send him “right now” that would help create jobs. Getting it through the Senate will be a feather in Obama’s cap for the big speech, but the jury’s still out on how good of a jobs measure it actually is. Switching to a “first to file” patent system will help speed up the approval process, but it could also favor large corporations with entire patent departments over the small businesses that create the most jobs.

The House is starting off extra slow. They’re taking another day off, and when they come back tomorrow all they have on the schedule are few suspension bills. Here’s a look at their full schedule for the week:

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7TH
On Wednesday, the House will meet at 2:00 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m.

Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules:

1) H.Con.Res. 67 – Authorizing the use of the Capitol Grounds for the District of Columbia Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run (Sponsored by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

2) H.R. 206
1 – Civilian Service Recognition Act of 2011 (Sponsored by Rep. Richard Hanna / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

3) H.R. 2832
- To extend the Generalized System of Preferences, and for other purposes (Sponsored by Rep. David Camp / Ways and Means Committee)

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 8TH
On Thursday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business. The House will recess by approximately 4:00 p.m. to allow for a security sweep of the House Chamber prior to the President’s address. The House will meet again at approximately 7:00 p.m. in a joint session with the Senate for the purpose of receiving an address from the President of the United States.

H.R. 2218 – Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Duncan Hunter / Education and the Workforce Committee)

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 9TH
On Friday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. Last votes for the week are expected no later than 3:00 p.m.

H.R. 1892 – Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year, 2012 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Mike Rogers (MI) / Permanent Select Intelligence Committee)

H.Res. __ - A resolution relating to the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001 (Subject to a Unanimous Consent Agreement) (Sponsored by Rep. Eric Cantor / Foreign Affairs Committee)

And here’s what we know about the Senate schedule so far:

  • Convenes 2:00pm
  • Following any Leader remarks, the Senate will be in morning business until 5:00pm with Senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each.
  • Following morning business, the Senate will be in Executive Session to consider Calendar #109, Bernice Bouie Donald, of Tennessee, to be United States Circuit Judge for the 6th Circuit with 30 minutes of debate equally divided and controlled between Senators Leahy and Grassley or their designees.
  • At approximately 5:30pm, the Senate will conduct 2 roll call votes on the following:

    • Confirmation of Bernice Bouie Donald to be US Circuit Judge for the 6th Circuit
    • Motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R.1249, the Patent Reform bill
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Comments

  • valleri 09/06/2011 10:00pm

    Unfortunately none of the political parties want to address the root cause of our economic and job crisis – trade agreements.

    Economists note that 70% of USA’s economic activity is fueled by consumer spending. But with most of the products “consumed” by consumers being foreign made, what is the net impact consumers really have on our economy?

    If one deducts the massive economic stimulus spending from our nation’s GDP, we never left the recession. This is why job creation is non-existent.

    This country needs leaders to address the trade policies that have cost us millions of jobs and potentially many more if the situation is neglected.

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  • eth111 09/07/2011 7:40am

    @valleri – the biggest reason that large quantities of consumer products are not made in the good old USA any more is that we have the second highest corporate tax rate in the world and the cost of complex regulatory compliance is ridiculous. This is not to say that there should be no regulation whatsoever, but when a $4B factory construction includes $1B in taxes and regulation compliance, something is largely amiss.

    The biggest item I see in this article is “where can I get a job like that”. $175K per year with what appears to be about 3 months of vacations and then we’ll wait to show up after a month off on Wed, work 10-4 with a 2 hour lunch on Thursday followed by hanging out after dinner for a couple of hours listening to the Orator in Chief and responding to the scripted applause breaks. Then, because we don’t want to overdo it, we’ll only work 9-3 on Friday.
    These schmucks are working about 1200 hours a year while those of us with jobs are working that much in about 6 months.

  • eth111 09/07/2011 7:50am

    Also valleri brings up a good point, GDP stands for Gross Domestic Product (as in production), not Gross Domestic Purchase. The metric should normalize out foreign goods purchases as it includes a trade imbalance term, but I don’t know if or how they account for domestic companies manufacturing overseas and reimporting (GE with CFLs made in China).

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  • pdlapp 03/01/2012 4:14pm

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