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Recapping Last Week in Congress

Typical week in the House last week. Another in the continuing series of bills aimed at repealing part of the Affordable Care Act (harder than you said it was gonna be on the campaign trail, ain't it boys?), the defense authorization bill, and renewal of the the USA PATRIOT Act. In other words, more pulling the rug out from underneath regular people who just want to be able to afford to take their kids to the doctor, and then throwing the money out the window to the DoD and their contractors. Awesome!

The Senate's entire week was consumed with the passage of the PATRIOT Act renewal, which normally would be something I'd use to make fun of the body's dysfunction. But a week really is probably way too quick to reauthorize that monstrosity. Consider that it took a month to pass that small business jobs bill not that long ago. Given that, what's the likelihood that the balance of liberty versus security can be correctly struck in just a week?

This Week in Congress

The House is in session this week, which is out of keeping with recent tradition. Usually they're adjourned for the week of Memorial Day. But since they were just in recess the week before last, that wasn't likely to happen again quite so soon.

First up (aside from the usual raft of suspensions) is a debt ceiling increase bill, which is itself coming to the floor under suspension of the rules. Why? Because it's a "clean" increase, meaning there are none of the Republicans' outrageous hostage-taking provisions attached to it. So they're bringing it to the floor under a procedure designed to cause it to fail, since passage under suspension of the rules requires a 2/3 vote. And after it fails to clear that artificially high barrier, Republicans will insist that this illustrates that there's no appetite in Congress for a clean increase.

Also up this week, a resolution from Dennis Kucinich (D-OH-10) invoking the War Powers Resolution, directing the President to remove U.S. troops from Libya. Not sure how that's going to come out. Previously, Republicans had been big supporters of executive power in this area. But now that the President is Barack Obama (and I'll have you know that some of my best friends are Barack Obamas), things are looking a little different.

Things wrap up this week with two of the regular, annual appropriations bills: Homeland Security, and Military Construction (MilCon). You tend to see these go through early in the appropriations process, and with relatively little controversy. People don't want to stand in the way of money for Homeland Security or military anything, for the most part.

The Senate, thankfully, is following a more normal Memorial Day schedule—i.e., the one I was counting on when I scheduled my vacation for this week. So, thank you Senate for at least lightening the load a little.

Full floor and committee schedules are below the fold.

In the House, courtesy of the Office of the Democratic Whip:


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

MONDAY, MAY 30, 2011
On Monday, the House is not in session.

TUESDAY, MAY 31, 2011
On Tuesday, 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.

Suspensions (5 Bills)

  1. H.R. 1484 - Veterans Appeals Improvement Act, as amended (Rep. Filner – Veterans’ Affairs)
  2. H.R. 802 - To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish a VetStar Award Program (Rep.  Filner – Veterans’ Affairs)
  3. S.Con.Res. 16 - Authorizing the use of Emancipation Hall in the Capitol Visitor Center for an event to celebrate the birthday of King Kamehameha (Sen. Akaka – House Administration)
  4. S. 1082 - Small Business Temporary Extension Act of 2011 (Sen. Landrieu – Small Business)
  5. H.R. 1194 - To renew the authority of the Secretary of Health and Human Services to approve demonstration projects designed to test innovative strategies in State child welfare programs (Rep. McDermott – Ways and Means)

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.R. 1954 - Debt Limit Extension (Rep. Camp – Ways and Means)

H.Con.Res. 51 - Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, to remove the United States Armed Forces from Libya (Rep. Kucinich – Foreign Affairs) (Subject to a Unanimous Consent Agreement)

H.R. 2017 - The Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2012 (Rep. Aderholt – Appropriations) (Subject to a Rule)

H.R. __ - The Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012 (Rep. Culberson – Appropriations) (Subject to a Rule)

In the Senate, courtesy of the Office of the Majority Leader:


Convenes: 10:00am

Pro-forma session only, with no business conducted

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