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May 8, 2011

Congress This Week


House Cloakroom: May 9 – May 13

Analysis: Congress will return to Washington Tuesday and begin legislative business at 2:00 pm. Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act (which seeks to amend the outer continental shelf lands) leads off with “Assessing Progress in Haiti Act” on deck soon after. Wednesday will focus on the elephant fin the room as Congress is set to take up H.R. 1231 (Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act). This bill will lift the Presidents ban on new offshore drilling and establish a domestic oil and natural gas production goal. Friday will conclude around 3:00 complete consideration of H.R. 754 (Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011). This allows Congress to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2011 for intelligence and intelligence-related activities.

Major Floor Action:

  • HR 1229 – Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act
  • HR 1231 – Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act
  • HR 754 – Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011

Fresh after bin Laden success, House GOP set to cut intel funding

Despite praises heaped on intelligence agencies for the killing of bin Laden, House Republicans are set to cut intelligence budgets.
Major Committee Action:

  • The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing on “The American Energy Initiative: the Jobs and Permitting Act of 2011”
  • The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology will hold a hearing on “Monetary Policy and the Debt Ceiling”
  • The House Armed Services Committee will hold a full committee markup on the “Fiscal 2012 Defense Authorization”
  • The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on “Medicare Physician Payment Overhaul”
  • The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution will hold a hearing on “Balanced Budget Amendment Assessment”

Featured House hearings: from defense authorization to school lunches
A key committee meeting in the House next week will be held by the House Armed Services Committee on May 11, when it holds a markup of the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.

House Foreign Affairs holds two meetings next week, one to examine U.S. export control policy, and another assessing the Peace Corps after 50 years.

Closer to home, the House Education & the Workforce Committee examines "federal overreach into school meals."


Senate Cloakroom: May 8-14, 2011

Analysis: Continuing the latest trend of not accomplishing much of anything in the Senate, Senators will return to Washington on Monday to vote on a judicial nomination and continue working on the Small Business bill. Senator Reid filed cloture on the bill last week, but the cloture vote failed, largely because Senator Reid continued to block votes on Republican amendments. Unfortunately, the only votes that passed in the Senate last week were a cloture vote and a final passage vote on a district court nominee, John “Jack” McConnell, who spent 14 years as the director of Planned Parenthood in his home state of Rhode Island and is a political activist for issues important to the far left. It is incredibly unfortunate that his nomination was approved by the Senate.

Major Floor Action:

  • S. 493: SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011

Major Committee Action:

Featured Senate hearings: Senate has hands full with financial reform, energy, intelligence reform
The Senate returns next week to a busy hearing schedule, including a series of hearings in the Senate Financial Services Committee to review the financial crisis and review the Dodd-Frank bill. The latter hearing on Thursday features testimony from top-line financial regulators, including Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin and several others.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing Tuesday on new oil and gas technologies, as Republicans and Democrats continue to spar over how to lower oil and gas prices. The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday holds its own hearing on rising energy prices.

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