Thursday: Farm bill, energy and more highway 'tribbles'

Also on the list are non-agriculture-related proposals to prevent public funds from being used in political party conventions, and require a report on the effect sequestration would have on the Defense Department.

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But all eight remaining amendments will require 60 votes for passage, making it likely that they all fail.

After that, passage of the farm bill itself will also need 60 votes, a hurdle the Senate should surpass.

The House meets at 9 a.m., and has 10 more amendments to the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, H.R. 4480, to consider. The House debated 16 amendments to the bill on Wednesday.

Once amendment work is done, the House should be in a position to pass the bill by the early afternoon.

The House will also consider three more motions to instruct conferees to the highway bill, which seem to be cropping up more frequently. But like the tribbles of Star Trek fame, these non-binding motions do not seem to serve much of a purpose other than cluttering up the place.

On Wednesday, the House approved a motion to instruct conferees to finish their work by Friday. Members also debated another motion to insist on House language that would prevent the EPA from regulating coal ash, and will vote on that motion Thursday.

The House will debate two other motions to instruct — one from House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) to accept the Senate highway bill, and another from Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) calling on the House to reject Senate language establishing grants to fight distracted driving.

These and other motions have so far failed to dislodge the stalled House-Senate negotiations on the highway bill, which could end in another stalemate and another highway extension.