Recapping yesterday's action:
The House spent the morning playing host to the Joint Session addressed by Israeli PM Netenyahu, but by the afternoon had moved on to passing a little-noticed and non-controversial small business bill that's actually going to play a big part over the next few days. That wasn't the main focus of the day, however. The bulk of the time was spent on H.R. 1216, the latest entry in the ACA repeal sweepstakes. Dems had a bit of fun with the "five minute rule," and motions to "strike the last word," allowing several Members the opportunity to claim floor time that they used to bash the Republican death panel for Medicare. Unable to wrap up the bill before day's end, the House leadership suspended activity for the evening and will pick the bill back up today.
But before I move on, if you didn't see this, you didn't see the most grotesque Republican absurdity of the day:
It's Subcommittee on TARP, Financial Services and Bailouts of Public and Private Programs (yes, they really call it that) Chairtoddler Patrick McHenry (R-NC-10) making an ass of himself, fighting with Elizabeth Warren over whether or not their offices had actually made a deal to settle what time and for how long she would testify, and ending with McHenry insisting that she had made it up! Big hat tip to Main Street Insider
for grabbing that video, bringing it to Daily Kos
, and then blasting it out. Hey, have I mentioned that I'm Public Affairs Director at MSI? Now would be a good time to do that, probably.
Meanwhile, on the other side, Harry Reid turned the Senate around in it consideration of the PATRIOT Act renewal. Instead of fighting it out on cloture on the motion to proceed to the bill, and then having to fight another cloture battle on the bill itself, he's pulling a nifty parliamentary trick that allows him to skip on of the cloture fights. The House just got done passing S. 990, a small business bill, and has sent it back to the Senate, apparently amended in some way (although they passed it under suspension of the rules, which doesn't permit amendments, so I missed whatever process they might have used to change it between receiving it on Monday and passing it on Tuesday).
At any rate, the bill having been amended, it now returns to the Senate for their approval of its new form. And here's where the trick comes in: Reid will move to agree to the House amendment, but add just one more. That additional amendment will be... to remove the entire existing text and replace it with the text of S. 1038, the PATRIOT Act renewal bill they were just trying to get to the floor.
Why do that? Because although you can filibuster the amendment (or technically, the motion to concur in the House amendment with a further amendment), if you manage to get cloture on that and vote it through, it has the effect of sending a completed PATRIOT Act bill over to the House, with no second cloture vote needed.
It's a nifty trick and I always admire it, but I wish it wasn't happening with the damn PATRIOT Act.
Looking ahead to today:
The House schedule was a little late in coming last night. Perhaps it was difficult to draft through the tears over NY-26. But we don't have to have it in hand to know what's on tap for the day. The House adjourned last night without finishing H.R. 1216, the latest installment in the ACA repeal bonanza, so that'll be first up today. Then it's on to the earmark-stuffed Defense authorization bill, against which we're already seeing veto threats (of the "senior advisors" type, for those of you scoring at home). That'll doubtless occupy the balance of the day and into tomorrow, since the rule allows for an astounding 152 amendments! That's a lot of votes to cast blindly along party lines! Whew! They'll really need a vacation after that. So, you know, they'll take another one.
A long entry for the Senate in yesterday's recap usually means there's not much left to say when it comes to looking ahead there. And that holds true here. You know how it is that the Senate came to be considering S. 990 instead of S. 1038, even though they didn't switch what legislation they're working on. That was the complicated part. The simple part will occupy their entire day today: waiting for the cloture motion to "ripen" so that they can get to the vote on the substitute amendment. But that won't happen until... Tomorrow in Congress.
Today's floor and committee schedules appear below the fold.
In the House, courtesy of the Office of the Democratic Whip:
THE NIGHTLY WHIP: TUESDAY, MAY 24, 2011
On Wednesday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for Morning Hour debate and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.
Last votes are expected between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m.
“One Minutes” (15 per side)
Complete Consideration of H.R. 1216 - To amend the Public Health Service Act to convert funding for graduate medical education in qualified teaching health centers from direct appropriations to an authorization of appropriations (Rep. Guthrie - Energy and Commerce)
Postponed Amendment Vote:
· Foxx (NC) Amendment #7
Continue Consideration of H.R. 1540 - National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Rep. McKeon - Armed Services)
The Rule provides for no further general debate and makes in order 152 amendments debatable for 10 minutes each and allows for the Chairman and Ranking Member to offer amendments en bloc.
HOUSE FLOOR WRAP-UP FOR MAY 24, 2011
Bills Adopted Under Suspension of the Rules (1):
1) S. 990 - To provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes, as amended (Sen. Landrieu - Small Business)
Considered and Passed:
Ordering the Previous Question to deny the McGovern Amendment on H.Res. 269 - Which allows for Mr. Bishop of New York’s bill, H.R. 964 – The Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act of 2011 to be considered. H.R. 964 makes it unlawful, during a period proclaimed by the President as an energy emergency, to sell gasoline at a price that is unconscionably excessive or indicates the seller is taking unfair advantage of the circumstances of an emergency to increase prices unreasonably (233 - 179)
H.R. 1216 - To amend the Public Health Service Act to convert funding for graduate medical education in qualified teaching health centers from direct appropriations to an authorization of appropriations (Rep. Guthrie - Energy and Commerce)
- Amendments – Not Adopted (2):
· Tonko (NY) Amendment
· Cardoza (CA) Amendment
- Amendments – Not Offered (5):
· Castor (FL) Amendment #3
· Towns (NY) Amendment # 4
· Cardoza (CA) Amendment #5
· Cardoza (CA) Amendment #6
· Foxx (NC) Amendment #8
In the Senate, courtesy of the Office of the Majority Leader:
Following any Leader remarks, the Senate will be in a period of morning business for one hour with Senators permitted to speak for up to 10 minutes each, with the time equally divided and controlled between the two Leaders or their designees, with the Majority controlling the first half and the Republicans controlling the final half.
Following morning business, the Senate will resume consideration of the motion to concur in the House message to accompany S.990, the legislative vehicle for the PATRIOT Act extension.
Prior to adjournment on Tuesday, the Majority Leader filed cloture on the motion to concur in the House message to accompany S.990. Under the rule, the cloture vote on the motion to concur in the House message will occur one hour after the Senate convenes on Thursday, May 26th.
5/24 Senate wrap-up:
Senator Reid moved to concur in the House message to accompany S.990, the Small Business Additional Temporary Extension Act of 2011 with a substitute amendment #347, which is the text of S.1038, the PATRIOT Act extension. Senator Reid then filed cloture on the motion to concur in the House message and filled the amendment tree.
Under the rule, a roll call vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to concur in the House message would occur one hour after the Senate convenes on Thursday, May 26th.
76: Reid motion to table the motion to proceed to S.1038, the PATRIOT Act extension;
There will be no further roll call votes today.
Passed H.R.1893, FAA extension (through June 30, 2011)
Adopted S.Res.197, Small Business week (by voice vote)
Adopted S.Res.198, Alaska Aces hockey team