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Stimulus Debate Begins Today

January 26, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

<img src=“×.jpg”align=“right” width=“220” height"320">The economic stimulus bill is coming to the floor of the House sooner than expected. According to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s “”">Daily Leader," Obama and congressional Democrats’ $866 billion attempt at rescuing the economy is now scheduled to be on the House floor this afternoon. View the bill here:

H.R. 1 – American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

The Hill explains that, at the last minute, House Democrats changed the Committee on Rules’ schedule for Monday in order to allow debate of the bill to begin on Tuesday. The debate was originally scheduled to start on Wednesday. When the Library of Congress’ website still lists H.R. 1 as “”“>Reserved for the Speaker” and hasn’t yet received the legislative text from the Government Printing Office, moving the bill forward one day in the schedule is significant.

Here’s the rule for today’s debate, agreed to at the Committee’s meeting Monday:

>Resolved, That at any time after the adoption of this resolution the Speaker may, pursuant to clause 2(b) of rule XVIII, declare the House resolved into the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union for consideration of the bill (H.R. 1) making supplemental appropriations for job preservation and creation, infrastructure investment, energy efficiency and science, assistance to the unemployed, and State and local fiscal stabilization, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, and for other purposes. The first reading of the bill shall be dispensed with. All points of order against consideration of the bill are waived except those arising under clause 9 or 10 of rule XXI. General debate shall be confined to the bill and shall not exceed three and one half hours equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Appropriations, who may yield control of blocks of that time. After general debate, the Committee of the Whole shall rise without motion. No further consideration of the bill shall be in order except pursuant to a subsequent order of the House.

That last part indicated that there will be no votes on the bill or amendments until the House reconvenes on Wednesday. You can be sure that there will, however, be some not-to-be-missed floor speeches this afternoon.

While the overall stimulus package is expected to pass the House easily Wednesday evening, the most important part of the House’s consideration of the stimulus bill will come earlier on Wednesday when they vote on amendments. How many amendments are voted on – and which amendments make it to the floor for votes – will be determined by the Rules Committee on Tuesday evening. We’ll be watching that closely and reporting back on this blog as soon as we have more information.

One amendment to watch for is Peter DeFazio’s (D-OR), which would boost mass-transit spending in the stimulus by 20 percent. [DeFazio’s amendment has been withdrawn]

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