An extension of unemployment insurance benefits will occupy the Senate for most of the week, again. Not only is this the wrong way to address the lack of jobs, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has numerous amendments, including those that may actually spur job creation. Shutting down the amendment process does not bode well for the upcoming health care debate. Americans and Senators are eager to start the health care debate, but Senator Reid has refused to release any details of the legislation.
Major Floor Action –
- The extension of unemployment benefits (HR 3548) faces a key procedural vote Monday afternoon. If successful, that measure will pass the Senate this week.
- Several stalled spending bills remain on the Senate’s backburner, including the Military Construction-VA appropriations bill (HR 3802) and the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill (HR 2847).
Major Committee Action –
- The Environment and Public Works Committee will proceed to a markup of the Kerry-Boxer national energy tax next week, if Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has her way. However, Republicans on the panel are considering whether to delay the markup because they do not have a full economic analysis of the legislation.
- An Energy and Natural Resources’ Subcommittee will hold a hearing on water and power bills. While it may be a mundane hearing, one would hope Senators would ask what impact cap-and-trade would have on electricity rates.
- The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Despite the innocuous sounding title, there are significant concerns with the proposed policy.