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United States Capitol dome at midday, east side.  July 28, 2011.  Photo by Mark Noel (
Recapping yesterday's action:

The House met in pro forma session only.

The Senate held no roll call votes, approving the nomination of Andrew Hurwitz to the 9th Circuit by voice vote, which somehow became a matter of great controversy, at least for Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA). In addition, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) moved to take up and adopt his resolution regarding the alleged White House security leaks, but his request was objected to by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).

Other than those items and a few non-controversial unanimous consent items, the day was given over to trying to work out deals on amendments to the farm bill. There have been over 100 amendments proposed, and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is hoping to keep the work manageable so that the underlying bill doesn't bog down. To that end, he and other Dems are looking at a minimum to restrict things to amendments directly germane to the bill. But to no one's surprise, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has insisted on testing the limits, by attempting to bring an amendment to cut off U.S. aid to Pakistan until that country frees a prisoner said to have helped the CIA locate and target Osama bin Laden. What does that have to do with the farm bill? Nothing. But this prisoner presents a sympathetic figure, and Rand Paul probably doesn't want to pass a farm bill, anyway, so he figures he can gum up the works for a bit, while still looking good for trying to stand up for this guy, even though the situation has nothing to do with agriculture.

Reid responded by moving a basic package of just a few amendments that he hopes will be sufficient to get the bill the necessary support, and then filling the amendment tree in order to block Paul's amendment. The move, however, also blocks everyone else's amendments. So it's something of a calculated risk in terms of whether or not it pisses off enough supporters of the farm bill to turn them into no votes, either on the underlying bill or on cloture. The opportunity is still available to employ some additional parliamentary maneuvering to allow more and different amendments later on, if necessary. But for right now, and for the purposes of Today in Congress in particular, the story is that they'll be moving ahead with just this modest package of amendments.

Looking ahead to today:

That's the set-up you need in order to understand the Senate's day, which will consist of two votes, both of which are technically on amendments offered by Reid, but which actually contain the text of an amendment offered by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) on sugar subsidies, and a different one by Rand Paul on food stamps, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. After that, it's anyone's guess as to where they'll go. But that's a problem for tomorrow in Congress, and we'll leave that mess for whichever sucker ends up writing that column to figure out!

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

The House is not in session today.

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

Senate Floor Schedule for Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Convenes: 9:30am

Following the prayer and pledge, the Majority Leader will be recognized.

Following any Leader remarks, the next hour will be equally divided and controlled between the two Leaders or their designees with the Republicans controlling the first half and the Majority controlling the final half.

At a time to be determined on Wednesday, Senators should expect 2 roll call votes in relation to the following amendments which are pending to S.3240, the Farm bill.  Senators should expect the votes to be motions to table each of the amendments.

Senators will be notified when the votes are scheduled.  We continue to work on a larger agreement for amendments to the Farm bill and will notify Senators if an agreement is reached.

6/12 wrap-up:
Senate Floor Wrap Up for Tuesday, June 12, 2012



Adopted S.Res.491, commending the participants in the 44th International Chemistry Olympiad and recognizing the importance of education in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to the future of the United States.

Adopted S.Res.492, designating June 15, 2012, as “World Elder Abuse Awareness Day”.

Completed the Rule 14 process of H.R.436, an act to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the excise tax on medical devices. (Republican request)


Today's Senate committee schedule:
Time to be announced.
        Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
                Business meeting to consider the nominations of Deborah J. Jeffrey, of the District of Columbia, to be Inspector General, Corporation for National and Community Service, Larry V. Hedges, of Illinois, and Susanna Loeb, of California, both to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the National Board for Education Sciences, and Kamilah Oni Martin-Proctor, of the District of Columbia, and Sara A. Gelser, of Oregon, both to be a Member of the National Council on Disability.

10:00 am
        Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
                Hearings to examine risk management, focusing on JPMorgan Chase and Co.

10:00 am
        Environment and Public Works
                Hearings to examine the nominations of Allison M. Macfarlane, of Maryland, and Kristine L. Svinicki, of Virginia, both to be a Member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

10:00 am
        Veterans' Affairs
                Hearings to examine economic opportunity and transition legislation.

10:30 am
        Appropriations: Subcommittee on Department of Defense
                Hearings to examine proposed budget estimates for fiscal year 2013 for the Department of the Defense.

2:00 pm
                Hearings to examine empowering patients and honoring individual's choices, focusing on lessons in improving care for individuals with advanced illness.

2:45 pm
        Foreign Relations
                Hearings to examine the nominations of Richard L. Morningstar, of Massachusetts, to be Ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan, Timothy M. Broas, of Maryland, to be Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Jay Nicholas Anania, of Maryland, to be Ambassador to the Republic of Suriname, all of the Department of State.

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