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This Week in Congress: October 13-16, 2009

This week Congress continues to discuss appropriations for fiscal year 2010 and will consider regulatory reform and extending further unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed.

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)

Appropriations

Both chambers will continue consideration of fiscal year 2010 appropriations bills and conference reports this week. The House is expected to consider a pair of conference reports to appropriations bills for Homeland Security and Interior-Environment.

The Senate will resume consideration of their version of the FY10 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill this week, and a cloture vote is expected this evening with final passage to follow later in the week. Following the C-J-S bill, the Senate will likely consider the conference report to the FY10 Energy and Water appropriations bill, which was passed by the House on October 1.

For more on appropriations for fiscal year 2010, see:

The Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy

For Rural America One Answer Is Blowing in the Wind

Regulatory reform

The House Financial Services Committee will begin marking up the first components of a larger financial regulatory reform package on Wednesday. That markup will include bills to create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency and regulate the derivatives market. Several other bills will be moved through the committee over the next few weeks, and House leadership has indicated the regulatory reform package will be considered on the floor sometime in November.

For more on regulatory reform, see:

Unequal Opportunity Lenders? Analyzing Racial Disparities in Big Banks’ Higher-Priced Lending

The Effects of Regulatory Neglect on Health Care Consumers: Testimony of David Balto Before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation

Unemployment

The Senate may consider and amend a House-passed bill to extend unemployment insurance this week. The Senate’s modified version is expected to provide a 14-week extension of unemployment insurance benefits, with an additional six weeks for states with unemployment rates above 8.5 percent.

For more on unemployment numbers, see:

Job Prospects Remain Dim for Millions of Workers

A Good Job Is Hard to Find

Civil rights

The Senate may also debate the conference report to the FY2010 defense authorization bill this week. The conference report was passed by the House last week, and includes hate crimes language which will expand the definition of a hate crime to those on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

For more on hate crimes legislation, see:

Standing Together Against Hate

The First Pro-Equality Bill in Over a Decade: Congress Considers the Matthew Shepard Act

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