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U.S. Capitol at daybreak, Jan. 22, 2012. Photo by Mark Noel (
Recapping yesterday's action:

The House made considerably better progress than I expected on the budget yesterday (though that budget is considerably worse than almost anyone is willing to believe). But for the moment, I'll stick to the procedural facts. Chief among them is that yesterday's predicted schedule had the last votes being taken some time between 2 and 3 p.m., which led me to believe they wouldn't be doing any voting on budget alternatives until today. That turned out not to be the case, and they actually debated four of the six permitted substitutes, and voted on three (rejecting them all).

Oh, by the way, the House also had on the schedule another possible attempt at voting to pass the transportation extension under suspension of the rules. They nixed that again, though.

The Senate confirmed its meager allotment of two judges yesterday, with one of the nominees—Miranda Du, in the District of Nevada—approved by a vote of just 59-39. Just wanted to point out that something happened in the Senate without 60 votes, is all. The rest of the day was given over to waiting for the cloture motion on the oil subsidies bill to ripen, and debate on the motion to proceed to the Buffet Rule bill ("the Paying a Fair Act").

Looking ahead to today:

The House is slated to resume and complete consideration of the budget resolution today, with votes on the three remaining alternatives coming before the vote on final passage. Over the past few weeks, there's been occasional speculation that the Republicans were fractured enough within their conference that the Ryan budget might actually be in danger of not passing. But that seems a pretty serious stretch. As much and as often as we doubt the competence of the Republican leadership, bringing a budget to the floor that they weren't sure they could muscle through would be astonishingly reckless. By which I mean even more astonishingly reckless than usual, as when they nearly provoked default over the debt ceiling. Conventional wisdom: That would just never happen.

Also on the House schedule is that darned transportation bill they just can't seem to deal with. Only this time, they really do need to deal with it, because the existing program authorizations expire at the end of this month, and the Congress has one foot out the door on a two-week recess. The extension actually shows up twice on the schedule, once under regular order—meaning it'll have to come to the floor under a rule, but can pass with a simple majority—and once as a postponed suspension vote, which would require a 2/3 majority. Seems the plan is to go with regular order and pass it whether any Democrats join in support or not. That's the smarter play.

In the Senate, they're due for the cloture vote on the oil subsidies bill. But Republican opposition to clawing back money from oil companies is expected to just be too great to overcome. And the schedule gives that away. If cloture were successfully invoked on the oil subsidies bill, it'd become the exclusive pending business until it was disposed of. But as the schedule notes, they're going to need to deal with the transportation extension before breaking for recess, and that'll become something of a problem if they somehow find themselves stuck in post-cloture time on the oil subsidies bill, instead. (Though that might not be such a bad trade for a clean shot at passing it.)

Even if the cloture vote fails, though, the Senate will be in something of a bind on transportation. They really don't want to accept this short-term extension (of which there have already been seven during the 112th Congress, counting both surface transportation and aviation bills), and would much prefer that the House simply pass their version of the full authorization bill. But will they risk missing out on recess to make that point, by refusing or rejecting any extension sent to them by the House? Theoretically, they could do just that, and call on the House to return and pass the Senate bill rather than take off for recess. But it sure doesn't feel like that's going to happen. Again, remember when the Senate always used to dictate these things? Crazy, huh?

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

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


On Thursday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business.

First votes expected: 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Last votes expected: 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

“One Minutes” (5 per side)

H.R. 4281 - Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012
(Rep. Mica - Transportation and Infrastructure/Ways and Means/Natural Resources/Science, Space, and Technology/Energy and Commerce) (Subject to a Rule)

Complete Consideration of H.Con.Res. 112 - 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 (WI) - Budget)

The Rule makes in order only the following remaining amendments and provides for twenty minutes of final general debate time upon the conclusion of amendment consideration:

Reps. Garrett/Jordan/Mulvaney/McClintock/Huelskamp Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute (30 minutes of debate)
Rep. Van Hollen Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute
(30 minutes of debate)

Postponed Amendment (1 Vote)

  1. Reps. Honda/Ellison/Grijalva/Woolsey/Lee (CA) Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute
Postponed Suspension (1 Bill)
  1. 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)
In the Senate, courtesy of the Office of the Majority Leader:
Senate Floor Schedule for Thursday, March 29, 2012
  • Convenes: 9:30am
  • Following any Leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to S.2230, the Paying a Fair Act with the time until 11:30am equally divided and controlled between the two Leaders or their designees with the Majority controlling the first 30 minutes and the Republicans controlling the second 30 minutes.
  • As a reminder to all Senators, cloture was filed on S.2204, the Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act during Tuesday’s session of the Senate. The filing deadline for 2nd degree amendments to S.2204 is 10:30am on Thursday.
  • At approximately 11:30am, there will be a roll call vote on the motion to invoke cloture on S.2204, the Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act.
  • The Surface Transportation bill expires at the end of the month; that will have to be addressed prior to the scheduled recess.
3/28 wrap-up:
Senate Floor Wrap Up for Wednesday, March 28, 2012


1)      Confirmation of Executive Calendar #464, Miranda Du, of NV, to be United States District Judge for the District of Nevada; Confirmed: 59-39

2)      Confirmation of Executive Calendar #487, Susie Morgan, of LA, to be United State District Judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana; Confirmed: 96-1


Adopted S.Res.408, supporting the goals and ideals of “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day”.

Adopted S.Res.409, designating April 2012 as “Financial Literacy Month”.

Completed the Rule 14 process of H.R.4014, a bill to amend the Federal Deposit Insurance Act with respect to information provided to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. (Republican request)

Completed the Rule 14 process of H.R.2779, a bill to exempt inter-affiliate swaps from certain regulatory requirements put in place by Dodd-Frank. (Republican request)

Completed the Rule 14 process of H.R.2682, a bill to provide end user exemptions from certain provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. (Republican request)


Today's House committee schedule:

State and Foreign Affairs Subc.  On reviewing the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development.  Dept. witnesses.  2362-A RHOB.


Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subc.  On testimony from public witnesses.  2358-C RHOB.


Defense Subc.  On the FY 2013 budget request for the intelligence community.  Dept. witnesses.  H-405 Capitol.


Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Subc.  On oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Transportation management issues.  Dept. witnesses.  2358-A RHOB.


Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subc.  On the FY 2013 budget requests for the U.S. Pacific Command and the U.S. Forces Korea.  Dept. witnesses.  H-140 Capitol.

ARMED SERVICES-----------------------------------------------10:00-Open

Seapower and Projection Forces Subc.  On the FY 2013 budget requests for the U.S. Naval Vessel acquisition programs and the force structure of the Department of the Navy.  Dept. and public witnesses.  2118 RHOB.

ARMED SERVICES-----------------------------------------------11:30-Open

Readiness Subc.  On reviewing the cost of energy security.  Dept. witnesses.  2212 RHOB.

ENERGY & COMMERCE--------------------------------------------9:00-Open

Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subc.  On assessing privacy and innovation.  Jon Leibowitz, Chairman, Federal Trade Commission.  2123 RHOB.

FINANCIAL SERVICES---------------------------------------------9:30-Open

Full Committee.  On the semi-annual report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  Richard Cordray, Director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  2128 RHOB.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS------------------------------------------------2:00-Open

Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights Subc.  On assessing China’s role and influence in Africa.  Dept. and public witnesses.  2172 RHOB.

HOMELAND SECURITY-------------------------------------------10:00-Open

Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications Subc.  On the FY 2013 budget request for the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Health Affairs.  Dept. witnesses.  311 CHOB.


Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet Subc.  On H.R. 1946 – Preserving Our Hometown Independent Pharmacies Act of 2011.  Public witnesses.  2141 RHOB.

NATURAL RESOURCES-------------------------------------------10:00-Open

Fisheries, Wildlife, and Oceans and Insular Affairs Subc.  On H.R. 1917 - Joint Ventures for Bird Habitat Conservation Act of 2011, H.R. 1960 - North American Wetlands Conservation Extension Act of 2011, and H.R. 3074 - Cormorant Management and Natural Resources Protection Act.  MC’s and public witnesses.  1334 LHOB.

NATURAL RESOURCES-------------------------------------------10:00-Open

National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Subc.  On H.R. 1241 - Rio Grande del Norte National Conservation Area Establishment Act, H.R. 1818 - Mt. Andrea Lawrence Designation Act of 2011, H.R. 2984 - Maine Coastal Islands Wilderness Act of 2011, and H.R. 4234 - To amend the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 to improve the management of grazing leases and permits, and for other purposes.  MC’s and public witnesses.  1324 LHOB.

OVERSIGHT & GOVERNMENT REFORM------------------------------8:30-Open

National Security, Homeland Defense, and Foreign Operations Subc.  On the impact of security policy changes on reconstruction in Afghanistan.  2154 RHOB.

SCIENCE, SPACE, & TECHNOLOGY---------------------------------9:30-Open

Investigations and Oversight Subc.  On examining public access and scholarly publication interests for federally funded research.  Public witnesses.  2318 RHOB.

VETERANS’ AFFAIRS--------------------------------------------10:00-Open

Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subc.  On pending legislation.  340 CHOB.

WAYS & MEANS--------------------------------------------------9:00-Open

Health Subc.  On the constitutional concerns raised in the individual mandate in the healthcare law.  Public witnesses.

Today's Senate committee schedule:
9:30 am
        Armed Services
                Hearings to examine the nominations of Frank Kendall III, of Virginia, to be Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, James N. Miller, Jr., of Virginia, to be Under Secretary for Policy, Erin C. Conaton, of the District of Columbia, to be Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness, Jessica Lynn Wright, of Pennsylvania, and Katharina G. McFarland, of Virginia, both to be an Assistant Secretary, and Heidi Shyu, of California, to be an Assistant Secretary of the Army, all of the Department of Defense.

9:30 am
        Energy and Natural Resources
                Hearings to examine current and near-term future price expectations and trends for motor gasoline and other refined petroleum fuels.

9:30 am
                Business meeting to consider S.2159, to extend the authorization of the Drug-Free Communities Support Program through fiscal year 2017, and the nominations of Richard Gary Taranto, of Maryland, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Federal Circuit, William J. Kayatta, Jr., of Maine, to be United States Circuit Judge for the First Circuit, Robin S. Rosenbaum, to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of Florida, Gershwin A. Drain, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan, John Thomas Fowlkes, Jr., to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Tennessee, Kevin McNulty, and Michael A. Shipp, both to be a United States District Judge for the District of New Jersey, Stephanie Marie Rose, to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of Iowa, and Gregory K. Davis, to be United States Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi, Department of Justice.

10:00 am
        Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
                Business meeting to consider the nominations of Jerome H. Powell, of Maryland, and Jeremy C. Stein, of Massachusetts, both to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Jeremiah O'Hear Norton, of Virginia, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and Richard B. Berner, of Massachusetts, to be Director, Office of Financial Research, and Christy L. Romero, of Virginia, to be Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, both of the Department of the Treasury; to be immediately followed by a hearing to examine developing the framework for safe and efficient mobile payments.

10:00 am
        Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight
                Hearings to examine contractors, focusing on how much they are costing the government.

10:00 am
        Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
                Hearings to examine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) user fee agreements, focusing on strengthening FDA and the medical products industry for the benefit of patients.

10:00 am
        Rules and Administration
                Hearings to examine S.2219, to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to provide for additional disclosure requirements for corporations, labor organizations, Super PACs and other entities.

10:00 am
        Small Business and Entrepreneurship
                Hearings to examine the President's proposed budget request for fiscal year 2013 for the Small Business Administration.

2:00 pm
        Appropriations: Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
                Hearings to examine proposed budget estimates for fiscal year 2013 for the Department of Agriculture.

2:15 pm
        Foreign Relations: Subcommittee on African Affairs
                Hearings to examine Nigeria, focusing on security, governance, and trade.

2:30 pm
                Closed hearings to examine certain intelligence matters.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Biggest knock against Du is that she's only 42 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Of course this guy was named  a District Judge at age 40, and less than a year later nominated for the Supreme Court. The ramifications for this stupidity still haunting us to this day.

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 06:28:05 AM PDT

  •  That 59-39 to confirm Miranda Du (0+ / 0-)

    included all Democrats plus the following Republicans:

    Alexander (R-TN)
    Collins (R-ME)
    Graham (R-SC)
    Heller (R-NV)
    McCain (R-AZ)
    Murkowski (R-AK)

    Scott Brown's not trying to play 'moderate' this time. 'Nay' vote from Snowe as well.

  •  Judiciary Committee approves 3 judges (0+ / 0-)
    Business meeting to consider ... and the nominations of Richard Gary Taranto (approved 9-1), of Maryland, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Federal Circuit, Robin S. Rosenbaum (approved 9-1), to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of Florida, Gershwin A. Drain (approved 10-6), to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan...
    Senator Lee was the lone 'No' vote on the first 2. The Drain vote was party line based on something he wrote that NRA doesn't approve of.

    The 5 others were held over for a future meeting - just another delay tactic used by Republicans...

  •  Hotting up in the House inre the transportation (0+ / 0-)


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