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This Week in Congress: September 20 – 24, 2010

This week Congress debates the defense authorization bill, and votes on a small business jobs bill and on Jacob Lew's appointment to direct the Office of Management and Budget.

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)

Defense

The Senate returns on Monday and will begin debate on the fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill. A cloture vote on the motion to proceed to the bill is scheduled for mid-afternoon on Tuesday.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) indicated that three amendments to the defense authorization bill will be debated: the text of the DREAM Act, a bill that would provide undocumented students the opportunity to become legal U.S. residents if they go to college or serve in the military; a bill to overhaul the Senate’s use of secret holds on legislation and nominees; and language modifying the bill’s repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell."

Senate Republicans are expected to vote against the cloture vote on the motion to proceed unless a deal is reached between Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on other amendments to be debated. If the cloture vote is successful, Reid has indicated that votes on amendments will proceed. But due to the short amount of floor time remaining in this work period complete consideration of the defense authorization bill will have to wait until after the midterm elections.

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Small businesses and banking

Later this week the House is expected to take up the Senate-passed small business jobs bill, which provides $12 billion in targeted tax incentives for small businesses, as well as a $30 billion lending fund for banks to provide capital for small businesses. The House will likely pass the Senate’s version in full, clearing the bill for President Barack Obama’s signature.

Office of Management and Budget director

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will vote Tuesday on the appointment of Jacob Lew to direct the Office of Management and Budget following last week’s initial hearings.

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Housing

On Wednesday the House Financial Services Committee meets for a hearing on Federal Housing Administration loan reforms. The Senate Banking Committee follows with a Thursday hearing on the current condition and future challenges FHA faces.