Today the Senate will begin debate on S. 3044, the Consumer-First Energy Act. As currently written, the bill would impose a windfall profits tax on large oil companies, roll back $17 billion in tax breaks, and direct that money to renewable energy investment. It would also suspend purchases of oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve through the end of the year. Additionally, the measure would make gasoline price gouging a federal crime, and would allow the United States to sue OPEC for manipulating oil supplies and prices. A cloture vote on the motion to proceed to the bill is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

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Supplemental Appropriations

The House will take up the latest supplemental appropriations bill this week. In addition to funding the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for the rest of FY08 and early FY09, the supplemental also includes $10.4 billion in aid for Gulf Coast states affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, a $51 billion increase in veterans educational benefits over 10 years, and $1 billion in LIHEAP funding. As passed by the Senate, the bill contains a 13-week extension of unemployment insurance. The House may include this provision in the supplemental measure but is also planning on holding a separate vote on a stand-alone unemployment insurance extension bill.

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