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This Week in Washington – May 10, 2010

Elena Kagan, Diane Wood, Merrick Garland, and Sidney Thomas are all on the short list to be President Obama’ nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court according to the Wall Street Journal.  An announcement is expected as early as this morning.  Kagan is widely believed to be the one to be chosen by The One.

The Senate will put in another week on the ObamaBailout bill as the House deals with a science and technology bill.  Two important committee hearings this week.  The House Armed Services Committee will markup this year’s Defense Authorization bill.  This legislation has been a traditional legislative avenue for controversial amendments.  There may be some debate on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  There will be multiple Senate Committees conducting oversight hearings on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. 

Conservatives are keeping a close eye to see if the permanent bailout authority is removed from the Senate version of the ObamaBailout bill.  This past Saturday, the Utah Republican Convention became a referendum, in part, on Senator Robert Bennett’s (R-UT) support of the bailout of Wall Street.  Bennett was kicked to the curb and didn’t get enough votes to even participate in the Republican primary for his own seat.  We shall see if the elites and insiders in the Capitol are listening to the voters.

The issues for this week are:

  • ObamaBailout - S.3217, officially named the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010, is on the Senate Floor for another week. Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-NV) is still targeting Friday to complete work on the bill, but not many Senate watcher think this bill can be done by Friday.
  • Roadblocks in Bill - There are a few provisions that may cause heartburn for White House negotiators.  Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) has included language in the bill that increases regulation in the derivatives markets.  According to Congress Daily (subscription required) “another trouble spot is on the portion of the bill that would bring greater regulation to the over-the-counter derivatives market, where trades are conducted bilaterally with little oversight.  The bill includes language from Agriculture Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln that would require banks to spin off their derivatives desk, which is strongly opposed by the big banks that dominate the OTC market.”  Also according to Congress Daily, Dodd cut a deal ”with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on a GAO audit of the Federal Reserve, narrowing it to the $2 trillion in emergency lending since Dec. 1, 2007, and not an extensive probe into its discount-window activity and transactions with foreign central banks.”  Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has an amendment to make Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac wholly private enterprises.  If conservatives block the appointment of conferees and prevent the Senate from convening a conference on the bill, it is hard to see how the White House deals with some of the outstanding issues like the Fed Transparency language.
  • Goodwin Liu – The Senate Judiciary is expected to take up the controversial nomination of Goodwin Liu to be Justice on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Ed Whelan of National Review Online(Bench Memos) argues that Liu does not have the requisite experience to be on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  “Ninth Circuit nominee Goodwin Liu hasn’t even been out of for twelve years yet (he graduated from Yale law school in the late spring of 1998), and he’s only been a member of a state bar since May 1999.  His entire practice of law appear to consist of two years or so in appellate litigation, so it would appear that he has zero ‘trial experience as a lawyer.’  Nor, of course, does he have any experience as a trial judge. Despite all this, the ABA committee has somehow seen fit to give Liu its highest rating of ‘well qualified.’  What a joke.”  Many Senate Judiciary Committee members will vote no on this nomination because of Liu’s radical views and relative inexperience for a court of appeals position.
  • Global Warming – Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) are expected to roll out Global Warming legislation this week.  This same week, the Senate and House Energy Committees will be grilling executives of BP to provide oversight on the cause of the massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The schedule for the Senate this week according to the Senate Majority Leader’s web site:

The Senate will convene at 2:00pm and will be in a period of morning business until 3pm. At 3pm, the Senate will resume consideration of S.3217, Wall Street Reform.

There will be no roll call votes on Monday. We expect the next vote to occur Tuesday morning.

The Senate Convenes: 2:00pm Resume consideration of S.3217, Wall Street Reform.

There will be no roll call votes on Monday, May 3.

The schedule for the House this week according to the House Majority Leader’s web site:

MONDAY, MAY 10, 2010

On Monday, the House is not in session.

TUESDAY, MAY 11, 2010

On Tuesday, the House will meet at 12:30 p.m. for Morning Hour and 2:00 p.m. for legislative business with votes postponed until 6:30 p.m.

Suspensions (11 Bills)

  1. H.R. 5051- To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 23 Genesee Street in Hornell, New York, as the “Zachary Smith Post Office Building” (Rep. Crowley – Oversight and Government Reform)
  2. H.Res. 1294 – Expressing support for designation of the first Saturday in May as National Explosive Ordnance Disposal Day to honor those who are serving and have served in the noble and self-sacrificing profession of Explosive Ordnance Disposal in the United States Armed Forces (Rep. Brown-Waite – Oversight and Government Reform)
  3. H.Con.Res. 268- Supporting the goals and ideals of National Women’s Health Week (Rep. Hinchey – Oversight and Government Reform)
  4. H.Res. 1328- Honoring the life and legacy of William Earnest “Ernie” Harwell (Rep. McCotter – Oversight and Government Reform)
  5. H.Res. 1187 – Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives with respect to raising public awareness of and helping to prevent attacks against Federal employees while engaged in or on account of the performance of official duties. (Rep. Moran (VA) – Oversight and Government Reform)
  6. H.Res. 1299 – Supporting the goals and ideals of Peace Officers Memorial Day (Rep. Poe – Judiciary)
  7. S. 3333To extend the statutory license for secondary transmissions under title 17, United States Code(Sen. Leahy – Judiciary)
  8. H.R. 1514- Juvenile Accountability Block Grants Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (Rep. Scott (VA) – Judiciary)
  9. H.Res. 1094- Commemorating the life of the late Cynthia DeLores Tucker (Rep. Watson – Judiciary)
  10. H.Res. __Expressing Support for May as National Foster Care Month and acknowledging the responsibility that Congress has to promote safety, wellbeing, improved outcomes, and permanency for the Nation’s collective children (Rep. McDermott – Ways and Means)
  11. S.Con.Res. 62 – Congratulating the outstanding professional public servants, both past and present, of the Natural Resources Conservation Service on the occasion of its 75th anniversary (Sen. Lincoln – Agriculture)

WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2010 AND THE BALANCE OF THE WEEK

On Wednesday and Thursday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for legislative business. On Friday, no votes are expected in the House.

Suspensions (11 Bills)

  1. H.Res. 1261 – Recognizing National Nurses Week (Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson – Education and Labor)
  2. H.Res. 1338- Recognizing the significant accomplishments of AmeriCorps and encouraging all citizens to join in a national effort to raise awareness about the importance of national and community service (Rep. Matsui – Education and Labor)
  3. H.R. 959 – Officer Daniel Faulkner Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act (Rep. Murphy (PA) – Education and Labor)
  4. H.Res. 1333 – Expressing support for the goals and ideals of Children’s Book Week (Rep. Roe – Education and Labor)
  5. S.Con.Res. 61- A concurrent resolution expressing the sense of the Congress that general aviation pilots and industry should be recognized for the contributions made in response to Haiti earthquake relief efforts. (Sen. Begich – Transportation and Infrastructure)
  6. H.Res. 1284 – Supporting the goals and ideals of National Learn to Fly Day (Rep. Boyd – Transportation and Infrastructure)
  7. H.Res. __Expressing the sympathy and condolences of the House of Representatives to those affected by the flooding in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Mississippi in May, 2010 (Rep. Cooper – Transportation and Infrastructure)
  8. H.Res. 1143- Commending the Community of Democracies for its achievements since it was founded in 2000 (Rep. Quigley – Foreign Affairs)
  9. H.Res. 1155- Commending the progress made by anti-tuberculosis programs (Rep. Engel – Foreign Affairs)
  10. H.Res. 1303- Recognizing the close friendship and historical ties between the United Kingdom and the United States (Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart – Foreign Affairs)
  11. S. 1067- Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act (Sen. Feingold – Foreign Affairs)

H.R. 5116- America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (Rep. Gordon – Science and Technology) (Subject to a Rule)

* Conference Reports may be brought up at any time.

* Motions to go to Conference should they become available.

* Possible Motions to Instruct Conferees.

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