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Airplane taking of from the Reagan Airport - Washinton DC - Photo by kempsternyc(DK ID) email:
We so excited. We so excited. Gotta make my mind up. Which seat will I take?
Recapping yesterday's action:

The House put in a full day yesterday, you'll no doubt be pleased to know. They mopped up a few of the still-lingering suspension bills, and debated two motions to instruct the conferees on the surface transportation bills, but most of the day (and late into the night, as well), they worked their way through the pile of amendments to the defense authorization bill. With the help of some large en bloc offerings, sometimes packaging 20 or so individual amendments together for one vote, the House managed to move pretty quickly through a significant chunk of its 142 permitted amendments. Included in the day's work: the expected rejection of the amendment from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA-09), providing for the orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, and; a Republican-splitting battle over indefinite detention of terrorism suspects, embodied in the fight between the Smith/Amash and Gohmert amendments. Who to root for in a fight between Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI-03) and Louie Gohmert (R-TX-01)? Not hard: Amash. Though Amash is a wild man, and you would ordinarily be very wary of throwing your lot in with him, Gohmert is easily one of the most Neanderthal jackasses you're ever likely to have the displeasure of seeing in the House, and you can be pretty sure that if there's a difference of opinion on something and he's representing one side, that's the side that's public policy poison.

By the way, as a result of the late night in the House, the usual source of our projected morning floor schedule, "The Nightly Whip," was not published. Usually, it's counterpart, "The Daily Whip," is not published in time for us to post by 9 a.m. But today it was up early, since Members face early votes. So down below the fold, you'll get the slightly more thorough "Daily Whip," complete with a brief description of the bill, links to the text and committee report, etc.

The Senate passed six quick unanimous consent measures, and two mildly contentious appointments to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors (operating under a "painless filibuster" 60-vote agreement), and saw consideration of an Iran sanctions bill blocked by Republican objections. But even while the two votes Fed appointments were dispensed with absent the drama of a full-on cloture vote, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) had to file for cloture on the motion to proceed to the FDA user fee bill, as well as on the next judicial nomination up for consideration (that of Paul Watford, to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals). Those are the 87th and 88th cloture filings of the 112th Congress. That's still 49 filings short of the 2nd all-time highest total and 52 shy of breaking the all-time record outright, but it looks like we may have a long and contentious remainder of the session still ahead of us. And if there's a lame duck session, well, who knows what might happen?

Looking ahead to today:

The House returns to work today after a late night, with eyes trained on finishing up the mountain of amendments to the NDAA, and a vote on final passage before breaking for—you guessed it—its next recess, this one leading up to Memorial Day and running through the middle of the following week.

The Senate took the opportunity to break early and head into the weekend, but they plan to be back at work next week, taking their Memorial Day break the following week.

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

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


House Meets At: 9:00 a.m.: Legislative Business; Five “One Minutes” per side
First Vote Predicted: 9:15 – 9:30 a.m.
Last Vote Predicted: 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Complete Consideration of H.R. 4310 - National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (Rep. McKeon – Armed Services) H.R. 4310 would provide for the authorization of funding for the Department of Defense and other related agencies, programs, and operations for fiscal year 2013. It provides for a total of $642.5 billion for the entire fiscal year. The measure's authorization includes $88.5 billion in FY 2013 contingency funds authorized specifically to support operations in Afghanistan and the general war on terrorism.    

As of last night, the House had completed debate on amendments through the Pearce/Markey amendment (#55). There are 8 amendments remaining to debate, each debatable for 10 minutes equally divided between the offeror and an opponent, except for amendments considered en bloc, which are debatable for 20 minutes equally divided between the chair and ranking member of the committee on armed services, or their designees.

The following amendments had recorded votes pending as of last night:

  • Smith (WA)/Amash Amendment #46
  • Gohmert Amendment #45
  • Coffman Amendment #17
  • Keating Amendment #18
  • Broun Amendment #19
  • Carson Amendment #20
  • Cummings Amendment #26
  • Sablan Amendment #29
  • Johnson (GA) Amendment #30
  • Johnson (GA) Amendment #31
  • Price (GA) Amendment #32
  • Rigell Amendment #38
  • Lee Amendment #42
  • Duncan (SC) Amendment #47
  • Coffman Amendment #48
  • Lee Amendment #49
  • Franks Amendment #54
  • Pearce/Markey Amendment #55

A full list of the 142 amendments made in order can be found HERE

Bill Text for H.R. 4310:
HTML Version
PDF Version

Background for H.R. 4310:
House Report (HTML Version)
House Report (PDF Version)

Postponed Votes (2 Votes)

  1. Democratic Motion to Instruct Conferees on H.R. 4348 – Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012 (Offered by Rep. Barrow)
  2. Democratic Motion to Instruct Conferees on H.R. 4348 – Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012 (Offered by Rep. Rahall)
The Senate is not in session today.

5/17 Senate wrap-up:

Senate Floor Wrap Up for Thursday, May 17, 2012


1)      Confirmation of Executive Calendar #646 the nomination of Jeremy C. Stein, of MA, to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Confirmed: 70-24

2)      Confirmation of Executive Calendar #647, the nomination of Jerome H. Powell, of MD, to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Confirmed: 74-21


Passed Calendar #401, H.R.2415, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 11 Dock Street in Pittston, Pennsylvania, as the “Trooper Joshua D. Miller Post Office Building”.

Passed Calendar #402, H.R.3220, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 170 Evergreen Square SW in Pine City, Minnesota, as the “Master Sergeant Daniel L. Fedder Post Office”.

Passed Calendar #403, H.R.3413, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1449 West Avenue in Bronx, New York, as the “Private Isaac T. Cortes Post Office”.

Passed H.R.4045, a bill to modify the Department of Defense Program Guidance relating to the award of Post-Deployment/Mobilization Respite Absence (PDMRA program) administrative absence days to members of the reserve components to exempt any member whose qualified mobilization commenced before October 1, 2011, and continued on or after that date, from the changes to the program guidance that took effect on that date.

Passed H.R.4119, the Border Tunnel Prevention Act.

Passed H.R.4849, Sequoia and Kings County National Parks Backcountry Access Act with a Boxer-Feinstein substitute amendment.


Today's House committee schedule:

Conservation, Energy, and Forestry Subc.  On energy and forestry programs in the 2012 Farm Bill.  1300 LHOB.


Legislative Branch Subc.  Markup of H.R. _ - Legislative Branch Appropriations Act for FY 2013.  HT-2 Capitol.

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

Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subc.  On understanding the heightened regulatory capital requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act.  Public witnesses.  2128 RHOB.

HOMELAND SECURITY--------------------------------------------9:30-Open

Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subc.  On assessing terrorist financing since 9/11.  Public witnesses.  311 CHOB.


Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet Subc.  On oversight of health care consolidation and competition after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Public witnesses.  2141 RHOB.

No Senate committee meetings are scheduled for today.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Will Congress Be Doing Any Business (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That is designed to help Americans as we struggle through very difficult economic times? If so, let me know.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Fri May 18, 2012 at 06:08:32 AM PDT

    •  Try back in 2143 -When the Panem Congress convenes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
      Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

      by The Dead Man on Fri May 18, 2012 at 06:10:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Public policy poison. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      With a gridlocked Congress, at least they can't do anything to make thing worse. Some Congress Critters are trying to be helpful while others are busy brewing "public policy poison." (I like that phrase.) There is considerable disagreement across the land about which are which.

      Do you believe that John McCain would have done better?

      by tomwfox on Fri May 18, 2012 at 06:20:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  no (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83, jdsnebraska

    you just did NOT invoke that song. Arggh. Excuse me while I put my headphones on and crank up Nine Inch Nails. I'll be back.

    "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State ..."- Vermont Constitution Chapter 1, Article 16

    by kestrel9000 on Fri May 18, 2012 at 06:15:40 AM PDT

  •  SAT Question (0+ / 0-)

    Gohmert is to Congressman as

    A.  Trabant is to automobile

    B.  Pink Slime is to steak

    C. Cockroach is to steak

    D.  Pee-Wee Herman is to Brad Pitt

  •  Paul Watford (0+ / 0-)

    I'm really hoping he is confirmed.  The GOP has successfully filibustered two of the more promising young jurists nominated for circuit court positions (Goodwin Liu and Caitlin Halligan), and Watford is similar to them -- young, fairly progressive, and an obvious future SCOTUS pick.

    The fact that Reid had to file for cloture does not bode well.  He passed the committee vote with all GOP members voting against.  There's been talk of how he worked with the ACLU to oppose Arizona's 2010 immigration bill (gasp, he doesn't hate brown people!), and worked with a group filing an amicus brief against Kentucky's death penalty (oh no, he doesn't want to kill people!).

    Given the track record, I'm not expecting him to get the 60 votes needed.  Obama has dropped the ball big-time in trying to get good, young and progressive judges confirmed to the circuit court level.  This failure will come back to haunt him and future Dem presidents when the left-leaning bench for SCOTUS picks remains quite bare.

  •  Cloture motion merry-go-round (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mote Dai

    Will it ever stop? Was Harry Reid's statement last week about reforming Senate filibuster rules all talk, or is there a chance of real changes coming in 2013?

    •  There's a chance, I guess. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Don't bet the farm, if you still have one. But Reid is a party to the "gentlemen's agreement," which by its terms prohibits the use of the "constitutional option" by either party at the start of the 113th Congress.

      So that might make things difficult for him. On the other hand, he knows this, and has still been outspoken about changing his mind on the need for reform.

      That just puts us right back where we started, though. He could just be venting, or he could be seriously considering it. I'm sure he prefers it when people don't know exactly what he's thinking on this.

      If he really does come around to the reform position, he can surely claim that the agreement broke down a long time ago, and that no one is any longer bound by its terms. That seems to be what he's been getting at, lately.

      •  The 'Gentlemans Agreement' has been a failure (0+ / 0-)

        for Democrats. They got little or nothing in return for an agreement that has allowed Republicans to continue historic levels of stalling.

        If he really does come around to the reform position, he can surely claim that the agreement broke down a long time ago, and that no one is any longer bound by its terms. That seems to be what he's been getting at, lately.
        I hope it happens in January. McTurtle used the old 4-Corners offense to run out the clock on the 59-vote majority Democrats had in the Senate in 2009-2010, and has kept it up this term to run out the clock on Obama's first term.

        The USA cannot afford any more of this. There are too many important things not getting done.

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