Congress: Shutdown Fever

The federal government is now hours away from a shutdown, after House Republicans once again refused to compromise with Senate Democrats and the White House on funding for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year. The third White House meeting in two days failed to produce a deal last night, with Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) releasing a joint statement saying, “We have narrowed the issues, however, we have not yet reached an agreement. We will continue to work through the night to attempt to resolve our remaining differences.” President Obama added that he is “not yet prepared to express wild optimism” about avoiding a shutdown, even though the parties are about $5 billion apart when it comes to the level of spending cuts they say are acceptable (which “amounts to one-half of 1 percent of the trillion dollars in spending”). Unless the situation is resolved by midnight, the shutdown will go into effect, marking the first time that the federal government has shut down in 15 years.

NOT ABOUT THE MONEY : Reid took to the Senate floor early yesterday to announce that the parties had essentially settled on a level of spending cuts for the remainder of FY2011, and that the holdup is because of various policy “riders” that Republicans want to include on the funding bill, including one cutting funding for Planned Parenthood and another blocking the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases. “The two main issues that are holding this matter up are the choice of women, reproductive rights, and clean air,” Reid said. Republicans attached more than 80 riders to their initial funding bill, including several that actually increase federal spending . “We will continue to insist that the policy riders passed in H.R. 1 are on the table. It’s just as important to many of our members as the spending cuts themselves,” Boehner said. If it occurs, this would not be the first time that the GOP has shut down the government over matters unrelated to the budget. In fact, “It was this same insistence on unrelated policy riders by Republicans that prompted the last government shutdown in 1995.” As the Denver Post reported at the time, “[Speaker] Gingrich and [Senate Majority Leader] Dole are offering the funding and higher-debt bills but have loaded them with ‘riders’ such as the Medicare bill that the president won’t accept and with other items such as limits on appeals by death-row inmates.” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) has urged his party to drop the policy riders in order to avoid a shutdown. “And my recommendation to my friends in the House is, you know, it’s highly unlikely many riders are going to get passed…so why don’t you take the spending [cuts] and let’s get on to the budget,” he said. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) had the same message for his GOP colleagues. “If it is repeal Obamacare, do we think in two weeks or a month Obama’s going to go — ‘you guys were right, and sign onto it?’ I don’t think so. So you better look at what your goals are and what you’re willing to accept or don’t do it,” Simpson said.

PROCEDURAL SHENANIGANS : Democrats, after bringing H.R. 1 up for a vote in the Senate and defeating it, eventually agreed to more than $30 billion in cuts, essentially conceding to the GOP’s original position. But House Republicans, in an attempt to shift blame for the shutdown, have been passing various pieces of legislation that they know have no chance of becoming law. The first simply reasserted that, if the Senate approved, H.R. 1 would become law. Yesterday, the House Republicans tried a different tactic, bringing to the floor another stopgap funding bill that would keep the government open for one week. However, the Republicans attached several poison pills to the measure that they knew were unacceptable to Senate Democrats and the administration, including a restriction against the District of Columbia using its own local funds for abortions and several anti-environmental provisions, plus an extra $12 billion in cuts. The White House issued a veto threat against the bill, calling it “a distraction from the real work that would bring us closer to a reasonable compromise.” Because the stopgap measure would have funded the military for the rest of the fiscal year, House Republicans then decried the President for opposing a “troop funding bill.” Of course, they left out of their rhetoric the fact that House Democrats “tried three times to pass a measure that would ensure the troops received pay,” and that the clean continuing resolution requested by the White House would also fully fund the military.

HURTING THE ECONOMY : If the government shuts down tonight, all government functions deemed non-essential will be stopped in their tracks. But non-essential describes a wide variety of important government functions, which, if they stop, can do economic harm to individuals, businesses, and the wider economy. According to analysts at Goldman Sachs, a shutdown “could shave 0.2 percent off the growth of Gross Domestic Product for every week it continued.” Since it would come during tax season, a shutdown would also “delay $42.1 billion of refunds to about 14 million U.S. taxpayers,” the majority of whom are middle-class or low-income. A shutdown could possibly increase the deficit by increasing the costs of funding the nation’s debt (which it did in 1995). $50 million in small business loans per day from the Small Business Administration will be blocked, workplace safety complaints will go unanswered, and insider trading investigations will grind to a halt. And, of course, 800,000 federal employees will be furloughed, costing the Treasury about $174 million per day in back wages. A shutdown also threatens the already fragile housing market, as “the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development‘s Federal Housing Administration — which insures and guarantees a large number of single-family mortgages and even more rental and multifamily properties — would cease operations,” thereby preventing home closings and the issuance of new private sector loans.

Congress: debates&votes -the Republican led House -The Senate

The Senate Convenes at 11amET April 8, 2011

Following any leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to a period of morning business until 10:30pm for debate only with Senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each, with the time equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees and that any time spent in quorum call be equally divided.

We are hopeful we will reach an agreement on the budget tomorrow. Senators will be notified when votes are scheduled.

The Senate will recess from 1-2pm in order to allow for a special Democratic caucus meeting.

At 11am on Tuesday, April 12, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session to consider calendar #45, the nomination of Vincent Briccetti, of New York, to be U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York; and calendar #46, the nomination of John Kronstadt, of California, to be U.S. District Judge for the Central District of California. There will be 1 hour for debate on the nominations, with the time equally divided.

Upon the use or yielding back of time, the Briccetti nomination will be confirmed by consent. Senators should expect a roll call vote at approximately 12 noon on Tuesday on confirmation of the Kronstadt nomination.

Unanimous Consent:

Passed H.R.1363, as amended, Continuing Resolution through Friday, April 15, 2011 ($2 billion in cuts).






H.R. 1363:

making appropriations for the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011, and for other purposes

12:40 A.M. –

Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection.

On motion that the House agree to the Senate amendment Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (Roll No. 253).

12:12 A.M. –

The previous question was ordered without objection.

12:04 A.M. –

DEBATE – Pursuant to a previous order of the House, the House proceeded with 20 minutes of debate on agreeing to the Senate amendment to H.R. 1363.

Mr. Rogers (KY) moved that the House agree to the Senate amendment.

12:03 A.M. –

Pursuant to a previous order of the House, the Chair recognized Mr. Rogers (KY) for a motion.

12:02 A.M. –

ORDER OF BUSINESS – Mr. Dreier asked unanimous consent 1) that it be in order at any time to take from the Speaker’s table the bill H.R. 1363, with the Senate amendment thereto, and to consider in the House, without intervention of any point of order, a motion offered by the chair of the Committee on Appropriations or his designee that the House concur in the Senate amendment; 2) that the Senate amendment be considered as read; 3) that the motion be debatable for 20 minutes equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Appropriations; and 4) that the previous question be considered as ordered on the motion to final adoption without intervening motion. Agreed to without objection.

12:01 A.M. –

The House received a message from the Clerk. Pursuant to the permission granted in clause 2(h) of Rule II of the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Clerk notified the House that she had received a message from the Secretary of the Senate on April 8, 2011, at 11:35 p.m. stating that the Senate passed H.R. 1363 with an amendment.

12:00 A.M. –

The House convened, returning from a recess continuing the legislative day of April 8.

3:42 P.M. –

The Speaker announced that the House do now recess. The next meeting is subject to the call of the Chair.

H.J. Res. 37:

disapproving the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission with respect to regulating the Internet and broadband industry practices

3:40 P.M. –

Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection.

On passage Passed by recorded vote: 240 – 179 (Roll no. 252).

3:32 P.M. –

On motion to table the appeal of the ruling of the chair Agreed to by recorded vote: 235 – 181 (Roll no. 251).

3:09 P.M. –

Mr. Walden moved to table the motion to appeal the ruling of the chair

Mr. Hoyer appealed the ruling of the chair. The question was then put on sustaining the ruling of the chair.

3:02 P.M. –

Mr. Walden raised a point of order against the motion to recommit with instructions. Mr. Walden stated that the provisions of the motion to recommit are not germane to the joint resolution. Sustained by the Chair.

Point of order sustained against the motion to recommit with instructions.

2:56 P.M. –

DEBATE – The House proceeded with 10 minutes of debate on the Hoyer motion to recommit with instructions, pending reservation of a point of order. The instructions contained in the motion seek to require the joint resolution to be reported back to the House with an amendment stating that the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011, is further amended by striking the date specified and inserting “April 15, 2011”.

Mr. Hoyer moved to recommit with instructions to Energy and Commerce.

2:55 P.M. –

The previous question was ordered pursuant to the rule.

1:39 P.M. –

DEBATE – The House proceeded with one hour of debate on H.J. Res. 37.

Rule provides for consideration of H.J. Res. 37 with 1 hour of general debate. Previous question shall be considered as ordered without intervening motions except motion to recommit with or without instructions. Measure will be considered read. All points of order against consideration of the joint resolution are waived. All points of order against provisions in the joint resolution are waived.

Considered under the provisions of rule H. Res. 200.

1:38 P.M. –

On motion to consider the joint resolution Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: 238 – 174 (Roll no. 250).

1:16 P.M. –

QUESTION OF CONSIDERATION – Mr. McGovern demanded the yeas and nays on the question of consideration pursuant to clause 3 of rule XVI.

Mr. Walden moved to consider the joint resolution.

1:15 P.M. –

The House convened, returning from a recess continuing the legislative day of April 8.

12:14 P.M. –

The Speaker announced that the House do now recess. The next meeting is subject to the call of the Chair.

12:04 P.M. –

ONE MINUTE SPEECHES – The House proceeded with one minute speeches.

12:03 P.M. –

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE – The Chair designated Mr. Southerland to lead the Members in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

12:02 P.M. –

POSTPONED PROCEEDINGS ON APPROVAL OF THE JOURNAL – The Chair announced that he had examined the Journal of the last day’s proceedings and had approved it. Mr. Poe demanded that the question be put on agreeing to the Speaker’s approval of the Journal and by voice vote, the Chair announced that the ayes had prevailed. Mr. Poe objected to the voice vote based upon the absence of a quorum and the Chair postponed further proceedings on the question of the Speaker’s approval of the Journal until later in the legislative day.

12:01 P.M. –

Today’s prayer was offered by the House Chaplain, Rev. Daniel Coughlin.

12:00 P.M. –

The House convened, returning from a recess continuing the legislative day of April 8.

11:49 A.M. –

The Speaker announced that the House do now recess. The next meeting is scheduled for 12:00 P.M. today.

10:01 A.M. –

MORNING-HOUR DEBATE – The House proceeded with Morning-Hour Debate. At the conclusion of Morning-Hour, the House will recess until 12:00 p.m. for the start of legislative business.

The House received a message from the Senate. The Senate passed H.R. 658 amended.

The Speaker designated the Honorable Cory Gardner to act as Speaker pro tempore for today.

10:00 A.M. –

The House convened, starting a new legislative day.