Senate Cloakroom: Jan. 25 – 29
As Senators grapple with how to salvage health care reform, they simultaneously want to change their legislative focus to jobs and the economy. Before they can do that, they have to contend with a record $1.9 trillion debt limit increase. The debate, which is expected to last all week, will highlight our looming entitlement crisis, excessive spending and the increasingly aggressive involvement of government in our economy.
Major Senate Action –
The Senate will continue to debate the debt limit increase (H J Res 45). Several amendments are expected, including one on EPA regulations, spending caps and PAYGO are possible. Interestingly, the much hyped, fatally flawed, Conrad-Gregg fiscal task force seems to lack support. In response, the administration has proposed a lame duck commission.
Major Committee Action –
- The Homeland Security Committee will hold another hearing on the Christmas Day terrorist attack.
- The Budget Committee will hold a hearing on the outlook for the federal budget and economy.
- The Armed Services Committee will hold a closed door hearing on cyber security.
House Cloakroom: Jan. 25 – 29
The House is in for a very short week focusing on two land bills which failed to pass the chamber the pervious week under suspension of the rules (requires a two-thirds majority to pass). Behind the scenes the status of the health care bill remains in question following the election of Senator-elect Scott Brown in Massachusetts and should be a topic of discussion across the Hill this week. Expect lawmakers to pivot to job creation measures in the coming weeks as the economy continues to struggle and unemployment remains high. Make sure to check out the work by Heritage analyst James Sherk explaining the current unemployment situation here.
Major House Action –
- HR 3726 Castle Nugent National Historic Site Establishment Act of 2010, which failed under suspension last week.
- Similar legislation to HR 3538 Idaho Wilderness Water Facilities Act, which failed under suspension last week.
- President Obama State of the Union Speech on Wednesday, January 27th.
Major Committee Action –
- In preparation for release of the budget on February 1st the House Budget Committee will be holding a hearing with Dr. Douglas Elmendorf, Director of the Congressional Budget Office to discuss the budget and the economic outlook.
- The House Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on how the U.S. should respond to Al Qaida.
- And lastly, the House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans, and Wildlife will hold a hearing on HR 4416, the Great Ape Conservation Reauthorization Amendments Act of 2010. Not kidding…