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This Week in Congress: 11.13.07-11.16.07

From the Farm Bill to energy and climate change hearings to appropriations bills, CAP provides you with resources to stay on top of the week on the Hill.

Appropriations

After sending the first of the FY 2008 appropriations bills to President Bush last week, the House and Senate will resume consideration of several spending bills. A $50 billion short-term war funding bill, or “bridge fund,” is likely to be taken up this week. After delaying the president’s full $196 billion supplemental war spending request until next year, Congressional leadership has decided to provide temporary funding with restrictions on President Bush’s war policy. The bridge fund will include language establishing a goal of troop withdrawal by December 2008.

The House will also hold a veto override vote on the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill. President Bush followed through on his earlier threat, vetoing the bill due to its “excessive spending” this morning. With a discretionary spending total of $606 billion, the Labor-HHS bill is only $10 billion over the president’s initial budget request. If the veto override is successful in the House, Senate activity is expected by Friday.

Floor action is also planned in both chambers for the $105 billion Transportation-HUD appropriations conference report. House and Senate conferees are scheduled to meet on the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill this week, though floor consideration may be pushed back until after the Thanksgiving recess.  

Last week, both chambers passed the FY 2008 defense appropriations bill without including war funding. Attached to the defense spending bill was a continuing resolution for federal spending, which will keep government operations running until December 14.

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Housing

The House is set to consider H.R. 3915, the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act, on Thursday. The bill is intended to address the current home mortgage crisis and pays particular attention to those “subprime” borrowers who are most susceptible to turmoil in the market.

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Education

Last week, conferees reached an agreement on a reauthorization for the Head Start program, a federal pre-K educational program focusing on low-income children. Final passage of the Head Start reauthorization is expected this week.

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Agriculture

The Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 2419, the Farm Bill. Negotiations on amendments are still underway among Senate leaders, final passage of the bill may be pushed back until after the Thanksgiving recess. The Farm Bill sets crop subsidies, promotes the development of biofuels, and covers federal nutrition and hunger programs.

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Environment & Global Warming

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold two hearings this week focusing on global warming legislation. S. 2191, America’s Climate Security Act, seeks to limit greenhouse gas emissions by establishing a “cap-and-trade” system. The committee meetings are scheduled for today and Thursday.

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Surveillance

Senate Judiciary will meet on Thursday to rewrite the government’s policy on spying. The markup will rewrite the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and will focus on the role that telecommunications companies played in warrantless spying. Currently, the telecom companies face approximately 40 lawsuits for their cooperation with the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance of United States residents.

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To speak with our experts on these issues, please contact:

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202.682.1611 or sgibbons@americanprogress.org
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202.481.8182 or jneurohr@americanprogress.org
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202.741.6397 or elindsay@americanprogress.org