House outlines rules of engagement for this week's budget fight

The House Rules Committee approved a rule Monday night that will allow consideration of several amendments to H.R. 1, the spending bill for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, and provides for voting on these amendments as early as Tuesday.

The committee approved a rule by an 8-4 vote that calls for one hour of general debate, which is expected to start at around noon on Tuesday. After that, amendments to the spending bill can be considered, and votes on these amendments are expected by 6 or 7 p.m. A similar process is expected on Wednesday.

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Under the rule, amendments can be considered if they are germane to the bill, and if they are submitted by the time the House adjourns on Tuesday and printed in the Congressional Record. Amendments are expected to be printed in Tuesday's record, and others could be printed on Wednesday; even these later amendments could be voted on later in the week if they pertain to portions of the bill that the House is still debating.

As of Monday night, a handful of amendments had been submitted. The only Republican amendment was from Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), which would prohibit any funds in the bill from being used to implement last year's healthcare law.

Six others are from Democrats.

One from House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Barney Frank (Mass.) would add $131 million in appropriations for the SEC and offset this by decreasing funding for Treasury, the IRS and other accounts.

Another from Rep. Robert Andrews (N.J.) would eliminate tax "loopholes" for oil companies and use this funding for homeless veteran assistance programs and deficit reduction.

An amendment from Rep. Jim McGovern (Mass.) would require that funding for the war in Afghanistan be fully paid for.

Others would prohibit funding for the relocation of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration facility from Washington state to Oregon (Jim McDermott, Wash.), rescind funding for a constellation systems program at NASA (Heath Shuler, N.C.), and express congressional intent to keep funding for a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (Carolyn McCarthy, N.Y.).