This Week in Congress: July 6 – 10, 2009

This week Congress takes up several appropriations bills and begins marking up health care legislation.

Rush hour traffic on Independence Avenue makes its way past the U.S. Capitol Building. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Rush hour traffic on Independence Avenue makes its way past the U.S. Capitol Building. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)


Several appropriations bills are expected to receive floor time in Congress this week. The House will begin consideration of the $22.9 billion fiscal year 2010 appropriations measure for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies as well as the $48.8 billion Department of State-Foreign Operations bill. The House may also consider the FY 2010 Military Construction-VA appropriations bill later this week; the Senate version of the bill was favorably reported out of subcommittee on July 6.

The Senate, meanwhile, passed the $3.1 billion legislative branch spending bill yesterday and has begun debate on Homeland Security appropriations for FY 2010, which total $42.9 billion and will likely consume the balance of the week.

More on this issue:

Column: A Long-Term Vision for Homeland Security by P.J. Crowley and Lindsey Ross

Column: Funding the War Through the Back Door by Sean Duggan and Laura Conley


Health care

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions returned today to resume markup of the Affordable Health Choices Act. Committee members hope to finish markup before the end of the week. The Senate Finance Committee will also be scheduling future markups for its version of health care reform legislation. Committee and party leaders hope to find common ground and put a bill on the floor of the Senate before the August recess.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said on Sunday that his deadline for action on health care legislation is also the August recess, which begins August 3. His comments come as three House committees—Education and Labor, Ways and Means, and the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health—get set to begin markup sessions in the coming weeks.

More on this issue:

Report: Financing Health Care Reform by David M. Cutler and Judy Feder

Report: Payment Reform to Improve Health Care by Ellen-Marie Whelan and Judy Feder

Report: The Two Trillion Dollar Solution by Melinda Beeuwkes Buntin and David M. Cutler

Video: Ask the Expert: Fixing Our Broken Health Care System by Judy Feder



The House will begin consideration this week of the FY 2010 Intelligence Authorization Act. The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), is working to insert a provision into the bill that would open classified briefings to all members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. Currently, briefings on covert activities are limited to a select “gang of eight.”

More on this issue:

Report: Safe at Home: A National Security Strategy to Protect the American Homeland, the Real Central Front by P.J. Crowley


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