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The Statue of Freedom atop the U.S. Capitol Dome in Washington, DC. Photo by Mark Noel (
Recapping yesterday's action:

The House worked late into the night, meandering through its schedule. They began their day by debating but then postponing a roll call vote on the first of the six scheduled suspension bills, then passing the next three by voice vote. Then, taking a detour, they returned to consideration of the "EPA Regulatory Relief Act" left over from last week, debated eight amendments to it but postponed the votes on them, then veered off and passed the rule for consideration of the trade bills. Then they turned back around and voted on the postponed amendments to the EPA bill (defeating them all), but still not passing the bill. Instead, they returned to the remaining suspension bills, passing them both by voice vote, before beginning debate on the trade bills, leaving the EPA bill hanging until later. Very strange, though not by any means out of keeping with the rules.

The Senate approached their schedule in a more straightforward manner, confirming the nomination of Jane Margaret Triche-Milazzo to the bench in the Eastern District of Louisiana by a vote of 98-0, and passing the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act, 63-35. But the Senate was still the Senate, voting down cloture on the motion to proceed to the American Jobs Act by a vote of 50-49.

Speaking of which, have you all seen this 90 Second Summary of the AJA, from Main Street Insider (which also maintains a group page here at Daily Kos)?

Looking ahead to today:

Today, the House mops up much of yesterday's work, with plans to complete consideration of the four trade bills (three free trade pacts and an extension of the Generalized System of Preferences), continue work on the EPA bill, and then get back to that one postponed suspension bill.

The Senate plans a 12 hour marathon debate on all three pending free trade pact implementation acts (implementation acts are the vehicles by which treaties are enacted into U.S. law). Of course, with the House still working on the bills today, I'm not sure by what reasoning the Senate will be claiming to be in possession of the papers (remember that?) they'll supposedly be debating. Maybe there's something special about treaty implementation acts that makes it possible to do that. But this Senate Dems blog entry suggests it's just the magic of unanimous consent, but that the votes can't actually happen until the papers arrive from the House.

Today's floor and committee schedules appear below the fold.

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

On Wednesday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business. First and last votes expected: 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.

One Minutes Speeches (15 per side)

Complete Consideration of H.R. 3078 - United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act (Closed Rule, 60 Minutes of Debate Remaining) (Sponsored by Rep. Eric Cantor / Ways and Means Committee)

Complete Consideration of H.R. 3079 - United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act (Closed Rule, 60 Minutes of Debate Remaining) (Sponsored by Rep. Eric Cantor / Ways and Means Committee)

Complete Consideration of H.R. 3080 - United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Closed Rule, 60 Minutes of Debate Remaining) (Sponsored by Rep. Eric Cantor / Ways and Means Committee)

Complete Consideration of the Motion to Concur in the Senate Amendment to H.R. 2832  - To extend the Generalized System of Preferences, and for other purposes (Closed Rule, 45 Minutes of Debate Remaining) (Sponsored by Rep. Dave Camp / Ways and Means Committee)

Continue Consideration of H.R. 2250 - EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011 (Modified Open Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Morgan Griffith / Energy and Commerce Committee)

The rule provides for no further general debate and makes in order only those amendments that have been preprinted in the Congressional Record.

Postponed Vote on H.R. 2433 - Veterans Opportunity to Work Act of 2011, as amended (Suspension) (Sponsored Rep. Jeff Miller / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)

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

Senate Floor Schedule for Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Convenes: 10:00am

Following any Leader remarks, the Senate will begin consideration of H.R.3080, United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, H.R. 3079, United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act and, H.R.3078, United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act, en bloc.

There will be 12 hours of debate, equally divided and controlled between the two Leaders or their designees. Of the Majority time, Senator Baucus will control 20 minutes, Senator Brown (OH) will control 1 hour and Senator Sanders will control 1 hour. Upon the use or yielding back of time, the Senate will proceed to vote on passage of the bills in the following order:

  • H.R.3080, United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
  • H.R. 3079, United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act and
  • H.R.3078, United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act.

The Senate will recess from 12:30pm to 2:15pm to allow for the weekly caucus meetings.

The Senate expects to complete action on the Free Trade Agreements during Wednesday’s session.

Roll Call Votes

Other Business

Senate Floor Wrap Up for Tuesday, October 11, 2011



Confirmed Executive Calendar #290 Brian T. Baenig – to be an Assistant Secretary of Agriculture

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Comment Preferences

  •  What are the prospects for the 'free trade' (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ScienceMom, happymisanthropy

    treaties? Has the CBO scored them for what they are gonna cost the US in exports of goods and jobs?

    "Here is my principle: Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle." Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by bear83 on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 06:23:07 AM PDT

    •  and (0+ / 0-)

      I thought everyone agreed to pretend they weren't treaties, to avoid the 2/3 vote requirement for passage of a treaty in the Senate.

      There's one economic model, where workers are paid enough that they can buy Ford automobiles. And there's another economic model, where workers are paid so little they can only afford to buy at Walmart. Which model is going to be our future?

      by happymisanthropy on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 11:02:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Is Grayson full of it for saying that (0+ / 0-)

    since these are treaties they need 2/3 approval?  I'd love to believe that all it would take is 'one brave' congressperson to ask for point of order ruling, but am not exactly hopeful there's much to that..

    Debra Bowen on Ryan budget: "Let's be clear: these are not simply 'cuts,' and this is not simply 'reform.' This is fundamentally abolishing Medicare as we know it and replacing it with a voucher system".

    by PeteB2 on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 06:40:16 AM PDT

    •  Not entirely. (0+ / 0-)

      But the courts are not in agreement with him. That doesn't mean he's wrong, it just means he can't prevail (until such time as five Supreme Court Justices agree with him).

      Since the invention of statutory "fast track authority" for agreements like this, the Congress has authorized the executive branch to negotiate things like this, and for the Congress to approve them with bicameral majorities instead of through the Constitutional treaty ratification process.

      Is that constitutional? Well, the courts aren't sure. But what they have to say about it is that the question of whether or not the legislative branch can statutorily authorize a different approval process for itself is a political question, so the courts won't decide it.

  •  I have to apologize (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but for the record, you do a bang up job of recapping what the Congress is up to.

    But today, no offense to you and ALL offense to the Congress:

    Who the fuck cares what they're doing unless it creates fucking jobs!!!!!!!

    rant over.  thank you for your time.

    Why is it that a 3% tax increase for the wealthy is considered "socialism" and an 8% wage cut for the middle class is "doing your part"? MartyM

    by delphine on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 07:00:33 AM PDT

  •  AJA Next Steps? (0+ / 0-)

    I saw that Harry Reid switched his AJA cloture vote to "no" so that he retains the right under the rules to require a second cloture vote.  I haven't seen anything indicating that he plans on doing this though.  David, do you have any idea whether Reid will exercise his right or what the next steps might be for the AJA in the Senate?

    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 07:32:11 AM PDT

    •  I don't know the plan. (0+ / 0-)

      But it sounds like they might consider breaking the package up into component parts. Voting no on cloture on the motion to proceed, of course, gives Reid the right to call for reconsideration of the vote. That'll save them a day or so of waiting time on getting to a cloture vote on the motion when they finally figure out what piece to move first.

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