This Week in Washington – July 12, 2010
Congress is preparing a massive push to get legislation passed this month before the long August recess. People prepare in different ways. President Obama prepared for the legislative push with a round of golf while the President’s Press Secretary Robert Gibbs blamed Republicans for all of the Obama Administration’s problems. This should be an interesting month of political posturing before Congress disappears for a month of recess in anticipation of elections this Fall.
The Senate will be moving forward this week on Financial Services Reform, but need two Republicans to join the effort to establish permanent bailout authority for Wall Street and a bill establishing TARP, Jr. at the Department of Treasury. The House will work on a “Telework” bill and legislation to reauthorize flood insurance. The Senate Judiciary Committee may take up the nomination of anti-Second Amendment Elena Kagan to be elevated to the United States Supreme Court.
Issues for Conservatives to watch this week are the following:
- The Senate Agenda– The Senate has a full plate. Financial Services Reform is the first priority for Democrats in the Senate. They need two Republicans to defect, unless if West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin appoints a replacement this week. That may not happen, because as Politico reports, Manchin may want the seat for himself. Manchin needs to await a determination by the West Virginia legislature on whether the appointment will last until this Fall election or 2012. “West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin said in an interview with POLITICO Saturday that he will not announce his decision on a Senate bid until two other steps are taken: a special session of the state legislature clarifies the law determining when an election for the seat to replace the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd can be held and he names an interim successor to hold that seat in the meantime.” All eyes will be on Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Snowe (R-ME) and Brown (R-MA) to see if they will oppose Republican efforts to block passage of Financial Services Reform. The Senate is expected to return to the TARP, Jr. bill, also known as H.R. 5297 the Small Business Lending Fund Act. This bill establishes a $30 billion Small Business Lending Fund to be given to banks for the purpose of bailing out small business. Senate Majority Leader Reid has blocked all amendments to the bill. The Senate also has on the agenda a War Supplemental complicated by $10 billion for local school districts and $800 million in spending cuts to pay for some of the new programs. The liberals don’t want cuts and want to retain the $10 billion in unrelated spending to the Global War on Terror. The updated Senate schedule for this week can be found on the Senate Majority Leader’s web site.
- The House Agenda – The House does not have much on the agenda for the week and only has 3 weeks of work scheduled before the next recess. The House has scheduled 10 suspension votes for Tuesday and 6 suspension votes for Wednesday. The House will attempt to schedule votes on two bills: H.R. 1722, Telework Improvements Act (Rep. Sarbanes – Oversight and Government Reform) (Subject to a Rule); and, H.R. 5114, Flood Insurance Reform Priorities Act of 2010 (Rep. Waters – Financial Services) (Subject to a Rule). For the complete list of items for the week, please refer to the House Majority Leader’s web site.
- Elena Kagan– The nomination of Elena Kagan is scheduled for Tuesday in the Senate Judiciary Committee, yet it is expected that Republicans will hold the vote over for a few days. This is a procedural tool available to all members that allows to a member to put of a vote on a nomination or piece of legislation from one business meeting to another. This nominee is hostile to the private ownership of guns and may prove to be a rubber stamp for the Obama Administration’s individual mandate on the U.S. Supreme Court.