This Week in Congress: May 17 – 21, 2010

This week the Senate resumes consideration of financial regulation while the House takes up the budget and tax and benefit extensions.

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 financial regulatory reform bill Monday. Votes on amendments will start in the afternoon. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) indicated he may file for cloture Monday, which would set up a cloture vote on Wednesday. If cloture is successful the vote on final passage would take place before the end of the week.

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Fiscal year 2011 budget and appropriations

House Democratic leaders are still considering whether to pass a budget resolution for FY 2011. House Budget Chairman John Spratt (D-SC) says the committee is also considering a deeming resolution for FY 2011 appropriations.

This week or next the House will mark up a supplemental containing funds for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, disaster relief for Haiti and the Gulf of Mexico, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund. Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee passed a $58.8 billion supplemental, but floor time has not been scheduled and the timeline for passage has likely extended past Memorial Day recess.

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Tax extenders

The House will turn to a package of tax and benefit extenders this week, including unemployment insurance, COBRA benefit extensions, and a fix to Medicare physician reimbursement rates. The House would like to pass the bill before the end of the week so that the Senate can take it up before the Memorial Day recess, when the current short-term extensions of benefits are scheduled to expire.

Some of the provisions in the package are considered emergency spending and do not need to be cost offset, but negotiations continue on finding offsets for the approximately $175 billion that is not exempt from PAYGO rules.

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