Easy Monday: Senate debates 'minibus,' House names post offices

The Senate meets at 2 p.m., and after "morning" business will begin debate on H.R. 2354, the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies appropriations bill. That bill is expected to become the second "minibus" spending bill, encompassing Energy and Water, Financial Services and General Government and State-Foreign Operations.

No votes are planned Monday on this bill.


Sen. Rubio introduces companion UN reform bill

Freshman Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Thursday introduced legislation that would allow the U.S. to fund only those United Nations programs it supports, and condition U.S. financial support on a shift to voluntary funding for U.N. programs.

"This legislation is needed because the structure and bureaucratic culture of the organization often makes it impossible or, at best, downright difficult to achieve meaningful reforms," Rubio said. "It follows on the steps of previously successful congressional initiatives on this matter. Every previously successful American effort for reform at the U.N. has been accompanied with the threat of withholding our valuable contributions."


Panetta to testify before Congress next week

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta will testify before Congress next week on the issue of security in Iraq as the U.S. prepares to withdraw military forces this winter after about eight years of conflict. 

Other Senate committees will also pursue ambitious schedules next week, conducting an examination of housing and fiscal policy issues as details continue to emerge from the financial crisis.

A list of featured committee hearings to be held next week follows:


Senate adjourns for the week

The Senate adjourned Thursday night after passing the first bipartisan jobs bill of the year, a piece of legislation that would slash a tax on contracts made with the government and encourage businesses to hire veterans.


Senate votes to end debate on next 'minibus' spending bill

The Senate on Thursday afternoon voted 81-14 to end debate on H.R. 2354, which is slated to become the legislative vehicle for a "minibus" appropriations bill on Energy and Water, Financial Services and General Government and State-Foreign Operations.

Earlier in the day, the Obama administration released a Statement of Administration Policy that called on the Senate to meet several spending priorities in that bill.

The Senate is expected to take up an amendment to broaden the bill next week, and possibly consider other amendments.


Boxer calls Paul's cross winds resolution ‘one of the worst things’ brought before Senate

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) on Thursday attacked Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) cross winds resolution, calling it “one of the worst things to come before this United States Senate.”

“So the Paul resolution, which would cancel out a very important and protective air pollution rule that helps our people, that resolution is one of the worst things to come before this United States Senate,” Boxer said.


Manchin, Coats offer alternative to Paul’s EPA disapproval rule

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Dan Coats (R-Ind.) on Thursday called on members of the Senate to support bipartisan legislation that would extend the compliance deadlines for two key Environmental Protection Agency rules.

Manchin and Coats urged support for their bill just minutes after the Senate rejected a proposal from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to disapprove of one of these rules — the cross-border air-pollution rule. The other rule that would be delayed by the bill, S. 1833, is the utility MACT rule.


Senate Judiciary Committee approves DOMA repeal

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted 10-8 to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law under which the federal government defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and several other Democrats supported the repeal bill, which they said was needed to undo DOMA and allow the federal government to treat all U.S. citizens fairly.


Senate votes to sustain FCC’s net-neutrality rule

The Senate on Thursday afternoon voted down a resolution on party lines that would have killed a pending Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule to prevent Internet service providers from picking and choosing data and data speeds they accommodate on their networks.

Republicans, who voted unanimously for the resolution, argued that the FCC’s rule, which is set to activate on Nov. 20, was just another example of “job-killing regulation.”