This Week in Washington – January 17, 2012
This is a short week in the House of Representatives. The Senate does not come back into session full time until next week.
The House and the Senate readies the start the second session of the 112th Congress with very low expectations. The next big decision point for Congress will be the expiration of the payroll tax deal in the end of February. There is a vote this week in the House to reject the President’s request for a $1.2 trillion increase in the borrowing authority of the Obama Administration. The Wednesday House vote is really for show, because the process was designed for failure.
The House will swear in a Sergeant-at-Arms tonight. His first duty will be be to lock up Occupy Wall Street protesters who have decided to storm the Capitol on one of the lightest legislative work days on record. On Wednesday, the House will vote on a resolution of disapproval for the President to increase the debt ceiling, H.J. Res. 98. The resolution of disapproval is structured so that the House and Senate would have to override a Presidential veto to block an increase in the debt ceiling. This process was designed for conservative failure. The House is out on Thursday and Friday of this week.
The Senate is out all week, but will come back next week to deal with cloture on the motion to proceed to S.968, SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act). The House counterpart H.R. 3261 and the Senate version are the subject of a Wikipedia blackout protest tomorrow. This bill is very controversial and Congressional Quarterly reports that many of the most offensive provisions in the bill are being pre-negotiated out of the bill before the Senate commences debate next week.
Neil Stevens wrote in his Tech and Night post that the House leadership has declared SOPA DOA in the House.
SOPA is dead in the House, says Majority Leader Eric Cantor, until there is consensus. Since there’s never going to be consensus on Internet censorship, Cantor seems to be saying the issue’s dead in this Congress.
Although the Senate may end up passing a watered down version of the bill, it will be difficult to see a version of SOPA coming up for a vote in the House this year.