Both houses were all about the trade bills last week. It's something of a rare event that both bodies would be handle three major bills in common during a single week, but that tells us something about the relative importance of free trade pacts to the bipartisan leadership. They all seem to love this stuff.
Here's where the houses differed:
The House supplemented its trade bill work with the usual routine of gutting environmental regulation ("EPA Regulatory Relief Act" and the "Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act"), plus yet another of their favorite kind of bill, a severe restriction on abortion—H.R. 358, the rather delusionally-named "Protect Life Act." All in all a very typically... Republican week for the House.
The Senate, too, had a very typical week. Outside of the trade bills, the majority of the action was continuing the slow trickle of judicial and executive confirmations and... the failure of the cloture motion on the motion to proceed to the American Jobs Act. Unfortunately, that has also become a very typically... Democratic week in the Senate.
The House is not in session this week. They'll hold a few pro forma sessions, but won't return for business until next week.
The Senate will be in DC and working, hopefully taking up some of those long-delayed appropriations bills. Remember, we're working under yet another temporary continuing appropriations measure, and this one only gets us through mid-November. There's still a lot of work to do to get a full slate of appropriations bills in place on both sides of the Capitol, but the Senate hasn't passed anything but the Military Construction and VA bill, so we might expect to see the majority of the week spent on this. But just to break the monotony, we'll also see yet another judicial nomination moved late this afternoon.
Full floor and committee schedules are below the fold.
The House is not in session this week.
In the Senate, courtesy of the Office of the Majority Leader:
Senate Floor Schedule for Monday, October 17, 2011
Following any Leader remarks, the Senate will be in morning business until 4:00pm with Senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each.
Following morning business, the Senate will begin consideration of H.R.2112, the vehicle for the Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, and Science; and Transportation/HUD Appropriations bills.
At 5:15pm, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session to consider Executive Calendar #271, Cathy Bissoon, of PA, to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania with 15 minutes of debate equally divided and controlled between Senators Leahy and Grassley or their designees.
At approximately 5:30pm, the Senate will conduct a roll call vote on confirmation of the Bissoon nomination.