This Week in Congress: May 10 – 14, 2010

This week the Senate continues debate on financial regulatory reform, the House considers the budget, and both houses talk about tax extenders.

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)

Financial regulatory reform

The Senate resumes consideration of the Wall Street reform bill Monday, with votes on pending amendments beginning Tuesday. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said he would like to finish the bill and have a vote on final passage by the end of the week. The Senate would have to file a cloture motion to vote on the bill by Wednesday in order to pass the bill by Friday.

The Senate Finance committee will hold its third hearing on President Barack Obama’s proposed TARP fee this Tuesday. Witnesses will include the CEO of the Organization for International Investment, the acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and senior economic fellows from the Brookings Institution and the Heritage Foundation.

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Tax extenders

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and House Ways and Means Chairman Sander Levin (D-MI) will meet this week to negotiate a package of tax extender provisions as well as long-term extensions of unemployment insurance, COBRA benefits, and Medicare physician pay rates. This package needs to be passed by both chambers before Memorial Day recess when the current short-term patches will expire. The full House is planning to consider the package the week of May 17 and the full Senate will take it up the week of May 24.

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Fiscal year 2011 budget and supplemental appropriations

House leadership is still negotiating for the passage of a FY 2011 budget resolution. A key point of contention is that Blue Dog Democrats are seeking nonsecurity discretionary cuts beyond what the Obama administration has proposed, while progressive Democrats are opposed to those cuts.

There has still been no action on the war supplemental, and it is unclear whether a more comprehensive one will soon take shape or whether Congress may first move a freestanding supplemental for Gulf Coast oil spill relief.

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