Thursday: Defense authorization in the Senate, visa reform in the House

One of the pending amendments is from Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), which would require Congress to be updated about the military implications of negotiations between the U.S. and Russia on nuclear arms and missile defense. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he hopes to finish the bill, which authorizes Defense Department activities for the current fiscal year, by the end of this week.

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The House meets at 10 a.m. for speeches, then at noon to take up H.R. 6429, the STEM Jobs Act. This bill would take 55,000 visas from the visa lottery system and distribute them to foreign nationals with degrees in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM).

House Republicans brought up this bill earlier in the year and tried to pass it under a suspension of House rules, which requires a two-thirds majority vote. But many Democrats opposed the bill then because they did not want to take visas away from the current lottery system.

On Thursday, the House is only expected to vote on the rule for the bill, which provides for 90 minutes of debate. House passage is expected Friday.