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Recapping Last Week in Congress

I suppose you could say that last week in the House was the calm before the storm. Just a few suspension bills, the procedural fun of the Accomack County, VA land transfer bill, and then the non-health "HEALTH" bill, which was mostly just a "tort reform" retread.

The Senate, in its plodding way, took the bulk of the week to get through the IPO bill masquerading under the title of the "JOBS Act," and after three cloture votes, finally sent it back to the House with the Merkley "crowdfunding" amendment. Then it was on to a quick fourth cloture vote on the STOCK Act and two district judge confirmations before breaking for the weekend.

This Week in Congress

The House kicks off with the typical raft of five suspensions on Monday, so I guess they found some more material to fill time with. Perhaps it's just the Judiciary Committee that's running low on suspension-worthy bills. This week it's the Financial Services Committee's turn, and they've got the usual number ready to go. That fifth one scheduled for today is unusual, though, and not just because it doesn't come from Financial Services. It's a patched-together surface transportation bill, meant to beat the upcoming expiration of the existing authorization, brought on by the House's inability to come up with a viable replacement. I haven't seen the details, but in these situations, they usually just throw their hands up and offer to continue current funding levels for some amount of time. The fact that their extension comes to the floor under suspension of the rules means they're either offering something like that, which would be relatively non-controversial, or that they just don't mind failing again, since a suspension bill requires a 2/3 vote to pass.

Later in the week, they'll try to complete work (also under suspension of the rules) on the amended IPO bill the Senate sent back last week, then squeeze in some kind of FCC reform bill, before moving on to... the budget. (Cue dramatic music: Dum, dum, DUUUMMMM!)

Yes, it's budget time.

And after that... recess time!

Seriously, what can be said about the budget "written" (to the extent that there's anything in it at all) by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI-01) that hasn't already been said? It's a train wreck of austerity measures designed to be just vague enough to give plausible deniability to the Republicans who have to vote for it. I'll leave the analysis for other posts, and maybe return to it later in the week. For now, all we really need to know is that it's coming, and it's a load of crap.

The Senate won't be seeing the budget this week, though. By the time the House delivers it up, everyone will be out the door for recess. And on the Senate side, that'll be a two week recess. But the name of the column is This Week in Congress, so we'll focus on that. This week starts with even more cloture voting, first on the motion to proceed to consideration of the "Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act," and failing that, another on the motion to proceed to the "21st Century Postal Service Act." And if that fails? Well, hell if I know. But they've got to find something to make the tension before the recess unbearable. It's tradition.

Full floor and committee schedules are below the fold.

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

On Monday, 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. 2779 - To exempt inter-affiliate swaps from certain regulatory requirements put in place by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, as amended (Rep. Stivers - Financial Services/Agriculture)
  2. H.R. 2682 - Business Risk Mitigation and Price Stabilization Act of 2011, as amended (Rep. Grimm - Financial Services/Agriculture)
  3. H.R. 4014 - To amend the Federal Deposit Insurance Act with respect to information provided to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (Rep. Huizenga - Financial Services)
  4. H.R. 3298 - Homes For Heroes Act of 2011 (Rep. Al Green - Financial Services)
  5. H.R. 4239 - Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012 (Rep. Mica - Transportation and Infrastructure/Ways and Means/Natural Resources/Science, Space, and Technology/Energy and Commerce)

On Tuesday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for Morning Hour debate and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.

Suspension (1 Bill)

  1. Concur in the Senate Amendment to H.R. 3606 - Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act (Rep. Fincher - Financial Services)

H.R. 3309 - Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2012 (Rep. Walden - Energy and Commerce) (Subject to a Rule)

On Wednesday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for Morning Hour debate and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business. On Thursday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business with last votes expected no later than 3:00 p.m. On Friday, the House is not in session.

H.Con.Res. __ - Establishing the budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2013 and setting forth appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2014 through 2022 (Rep. Ryan - Budget) (Subject to a Rule)

In the Senate, courtesy of the Office of the Majority Leader:
Senate Floor Schedule for Monday, March 26, 2012

Convenes: 2:00pm

Following any Leader remarks, the Senate will be in morning business until 4:30pm.

Following morning business, the Senate will resume consideration of Calendar Order #337, S.2204, the Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act with the time until 5:30pm equally divided and controlled between the Leaders or their designees.

As a reminder to all Senators, on Thursday, March 22nd, cloture was filed on the motion to proceed to S.2204, the Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act and on the motion to proceed to Calendar Order #296, S.1789, the Postal Reform bill.

At approximately 5:30pm on Monday, there will be a roll call vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to S.2204.  If cloture is not invoked, there will be a second roll call vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to S.1789, the Postal Reform Bill.

Today's House committee schedule:
OVERSIGHT & GOVERNMENT REFORM------------------------------1:30-Open

Full Committee. and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  Joint hrng. on oversight of the Transportation Security Administration.  2154 RHOB.


Full Committee.  On H.R.3309 - Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2012, and H.R. 2309 – Postal Reform Act of 2011.  H-313 Capitol.

No Senate committee hearings are scheduled today.
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