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Capitol in fall afternoon sunlight - photo by mimi - 11/24/2011
Recapping yesterday's action:

The Senate was the only house in session yesterday, and its activity can be summed up by saying that it voted twice to table the only two amendments to the farm bill it considered.

That's the bottom line of it, but the interesting part is how the votes came about, and why. Recall that in yesterday's post, I mentioned that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) had "filled the amendment tree" in an effort to block Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) from offering his non-germane amendment cutting off foreign aid to Pakistan. With the ability to offer amendments effectively blocked, but 100+ amendments having been proposed, Reid began slowly opening the bottleneck by selecting a few amendments at a time to offer as second-degree amendments to his own amendment that was strategically blocking the path to the floor. That's something he can do on a larger or smaller scale, as he chooses. And right now, it makes sense to let amendments through only in drips and drabs, as an incentive to others to reach a broader deal covering more amendments and moving at a faster pace.

Reid started with two amendments that were narrow in scope, but which generated wide interest among Senators—one by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) to phase out the sugar subsidy program, and another by Rand Paul to replace the food stamps program (now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) with state block grants—both of which he opposed. Then, he moved to table each amendment, effectively killing them. In so doing, he technically gave each amendment a vote, which is supposed to satisfy the proponents, even while they see their amendment buried. That begins to relieve some of the pressure from other Senators to get votes for their amendments, albeit very slowly, while continuing to hold out reason for them to reach wider agreements that will get their amendments the same or similar opportunities.

Looking ahead to today:

So that's where things stand now for the Senate, with over a hundred other amendments proposed, two dispensed with, the second degree amendment pipeline bottled up, and Democrats in talks with Republicans about how many more and which ones ought to be let through, and Reid all the while calculating how many and which ones will have to get votes before 60 Senators will be satisfied enough to vote yes on cloture on the bill and finish things up.

That means today is about keeping the wheels turning on the floor while the dealing is done in private. Nobody knows how many votes there will be, or on which amendments. Senators will just be standing by on the assumption that there's going to be something to vote on, and waiting for those details to come 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 Thursday, June 14, 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 Majority controlling the first half and the Republicans controlling the final half.

We continue to work on an agreement on amendments to S.3240, the Farm bill.  Votes are possible during Thursday’s session and Senators will be notified when they are scheduled.

6/13 wrap-up:
Senate Floor Wrap Up for Wednesday, June 13, 2012


1)      Reid motion to table the Reid 2nd degree amendment #2393, which is text of Shaheen amendment #2160(Sugar) to the Reid amendment #2392 to S.3240, the Farm bill ; Tabled: 50-46

2)      Reid motion to table the Reid amendment #2392 (SNAP); Tabled: 65-33



Today's Senate committee schedule:
9:30 am
        Energy and Natural Resources
                Hearings to examine competitiveness and collaboration between the United States and China on clean energy.

10:00 am
                Hearings to examine Medicare physician payment policy, focusing on lessons from the private sector.

10:00 am
        Foreign Relations
                Hearings to examine the Law of the Sea Convention (Treaty Doc. 103-39), focusing on perspectives from the United States military.

10:00 am
        Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security
                Hearings to examine saving taxpayer dollars by curbing waste and fraud in Medicaid.

10:00 am
                Business meeting to consider S.250, to protect crime victims' rights, to eliminate the substantial backlog of DNA samples collected from crime scenes and convicted offenders, to improve and expand the DNA testing capacity of Federal, State, and local crime laboratories, to increase research and development of new DNA testing technologies, to develop new training programs regarding the collection and use of DNA evidence, to provide post conviction testing of DNA evidence to exonerate the innocent, to improve the performance of counsel in State capital cases, S.285, for the relief of Sopuruchi Chukwueke, and the nomination of Brian J. Davis, to be United States District Judge for the Middle District of Florida.

10:30 am
                Business meeting to markup proposed budget estimates for fiscal year 2013 for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies and Financial Services and General Government.

2:15 pm
        Indian Affairs
                An oversight hearing to examine new taxes on tribal self-determination.

2:30 pm
        Foreign Relations
                Hearings to examine the Law of the Sea Convention (Treaty Doc. 103-39).

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

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Comment Preferences

  •  Sometimes Congress reminds me of a board game (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scotths, arealniceguy

    or Calvin Ball.

    "I have spent many years of my life in opposition and I rather like the role." - Eleanor Roosevelt. I would like to add that I am a happy atheist!

    by Rogneid on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 06:07:23 AM PDT

  •  David Waldman......master of the Gothic Novel... (3+ / 0-)

    cobwebs and all.

  •  Looking at the Senate Committee Schedule (3+ / 0-)

    it's hard to believe Democrats still run the Senate.  I'm astounded.

  •  ZZZZzzzzzzzz (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, Land of Enchantment

    OHH, excuze me, I were following the repub agenda method and was asleep at the wheel while my lobbiest were doing all the work.

    Now would you let me go back to sleep, please.

    Constitutions should consist only of general provisions; the reason is that they must necessarily be permanent, and that they cannot calculate for the possible change of things. Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) Just A Real Nice Guy, thinking out loud.

    by arealniceguy on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 06:23:26 AM PDT

  •  Pakistan (0+ / 0-)

    Is there a Treaty with Pakistan?  And, if so, aren't the obligations obligatory?  Naive, I suppose, and perhaps ignorant too.  But I do wonder about that, given the hierarchy of laws that makes treaties more robust (2/3 vote for ratification and all.)

    Grab all the joy you can. (exmearden 8/10/09)

    by Land of Enchantment on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 06:47:11 AM PDT

  •  Sen Grassley is in a snit over "trust" (0+ / 0-)

    in regard to the voice vote held on a judicial nominee on Tuesday, and wants a re-vote:

    Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) late Tuesday demanded that the Senate vote again on the confirmation of Andrew Hurwitz to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the 9th Circuit, and said he was not aware that Senate Democrats were planning to ask for a speedy voice vote on the nomination.

    "All the business of the Senate is based upon trust between one senator and another," Grassley said on the Senate floor.

    "And I won't be satisfied that that trust has been restored unless there's some action taken to have a roll call vote on this nomination."

    Hmmm, trust. Would that be like the naive trust by Democrats that the GOP would follow a certain "Gentleman's Agreement", and stop gumming up the work of the Senate, Senator Grassley?

  •  Interesting parliamentary point about (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CA Berkeley WV

    Reid using his authority as Majority Leader to control the agenda as it relates to the amendment tree on this bill.  That is something which points out how important it is to have a Democrat in control of that process, as opposed to a Republican.  And why it is better to have ANY Democrat in a seat if the only alternative is a Republican, especially in light of the difficulty faced by the Dems in maintaining their majority in this cycle.

    Ultimately, the only thing that matters with respect to preserving choice is who will be nominating the next Supreme Court Justices.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 06:56:34 AM PDT

    •   Having a Democratic Majority Leader (0+ / 0-)

      is definitely key and is made possible by any kind of Democrat - even Nelson and Manchin. But when those same guys are the deciding vote on legislation, it's the progressive positions that end up getting screwed.

      That's what makes filibuster reform so important. It's far easier to get 51 votes that is is to get 60 when you don't have to count on Nelson or Manchin or Lieberman or Blanch Lincoln to get you to 60.

      •  Of course. But, I'll take a Manchin, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CA Berkeley WV

        or a Lincoln or a Nelson, if that is the best that I can get from that state.  What really galled about Lieberman is knowing that a true progressive could win there -- and would have if Lieberman had shown any class and moved on after losing to Lamont.

        Ultimately, the only thing that matters with respect to preserving choice is who will be nominating the next Supreme Court Justices.

        by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 09:36:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It IS the Supreme Court, all you Silly Rabbits. (1+ / 0-)

      Yes, we breed a funny sort of Democrat here.

      Manchin will vote for bills restricting women acess to reproductive health, but we do not have the death penalty in this state--at least it's consistent.

      State Dem convention held same week as Netroots was VERY pro-Obama, Manchin statements not with standing, as I caught up with others who chose Charleston over my decision to go to Providence.

      Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living~~Mother Jones

      by CA Berkeley WV on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 10:37:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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