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The Week Ahead in Congress

November 13, 2012 - by Donny Shaw

Today is day one of the lame duck — that biennial tradition in which Congress, including dozens of lawmakers who were just given the boot by voters, come back into session one more time to try and finish up the year’s work. Lame duck sessions are notorious for producing results that are satisfying to basically no one. There’s no reason to expect anything different this time around.

The big topic of the lame-duck session will, of course, be the fiscal cliff, a series of tax and spending adjustments that are scheduled to take effect at the end of the year. Most economists agree that allowing the fiscal cliff to take effect would basically send our economy back into a recession, so Congress is likely to do something before that happens. It’s unclear how things will shake out, but the most likely ending is that Obama caves and the Bush tax rates will be extended once again, and a lot of the scheduled spending cuts will be put on hold.

But before all that goes down, both the Senate and House will be occupying their time with some other unfinished bills. There’s a lot they could decide to take up (e.g. the unfinished farm bill, the stalled cybersecurity bill, reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act), but so far the schedule looks pretty unambitious. Basically just enough to keep the floor open while fiscal cliff negotiations take place in the back rooms.

Here’s a quick look at what’s on the calendars so far. First the House:

On Tuesday, 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.R. 6190 – Asthma Inhalers Relief Act of 2012 (Sponsored by Rep. Michael Burgess / Energy and Commerce Committee)

2) H.R. 6371 – Streamlining Claims Processing for Federal Contractor Employees Act
(Sponsored by Rep. Tim Walberg / Education and Workforce Committee)

3) S. 1956 – European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011 (Sponsored by Sen. John Thune / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

4) H.R. 6586 – To extend the application of certain space launch liability provisions through 2014 (Sponsored by Rep. Steven Palazzo / Science, Space and Technology Committee)

On Wednesday and Thursday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.

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

Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules:

1) Concur in the Senate Amendment to H.R. 2606 – New York City Natural Gas Supply Enhancement Act (Sponsored by Rep. Mike Grimm / Natural Resources Committee)

2) H.R. 6570 – To amend the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 to consolidate certain CBO reporting requirements (Sponsored by Rep. Scott Garrett / Financial Services Committee)

3) Concur in the Senate Amendment to H.R. 2453 – Mark Twain Commemorative Coin Act  (Sponsored by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer / Financial Services Committee)

4) H.R. 6116 – To amend the Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands to provide for direct appeals to the United States Supreme Court of decisions of the Virgin Islands Supreme Court, as amended (Sponsored by Del. Donna Christensen / Judiciary Committee)

5) H.R. 5934 – Stop Tobacco Smuggling in the Territories Act of 2012
(Sponsored by Del. Eni Faleomavaega / Judiciary Committee)

H.R. 6156 – Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Dave Camp / Ways and Means Committee / Foreign Affairs Committee)

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

  • Convenes: 2:00pm
  • Following the prayer and the pledge, the Senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to Calendar #504, S.3525, the Sportsmen Act, post-cloture.
  • At 5:30pm, all post-cloture time will be yielded back and the Senate will conduct a roll call vote on the motion to proceed to S.3525.
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