A closer look at next week …
President Obama wants something that looks like a solution by the end of June, and given that the House is out the last week of June, there are two viable weeks to make progress.
Next week will also test the strength of a House-passed resolution that demands more information from the Obama administration about the justification for deploying U.S. military forces to Libya.
The resolution, approved June 3, gave the administration until the end of next week to provide detailed answers to nearly two dozen questions, including the anticipated scope, duration and costs of the military operation. Two House members this week wrote to Obama administration officials to make sure answers are forthcoming.
With the debt ceiling and Libya as part of the backdrop, Congress returns to a relatively meaty economic agenda.
In the House, members are expected to take up an agriculture appropriations bill that would cut $2.7 billion from discretionary spending while providing $116.9 billion in “mandatory” spending. Expect debate here on hundreds of millions of dollars in planned GOP cuts to women and infant nutrition programs in addition to cuts to agriculture research and food safety programs.
The House is also expected to consider a patent reform bill that is largely similar to one passed by the Senate earlier this year, and a military construction/veterans affairs appropriations bill.
In the Senate, members will continue their work on Economic Development Revitalization Act, which would increase funding for a Commerce Department business grant program. This bill has been overshadowed by various amendments, including one from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) that would eliminate ethanol tax credits that members should vote on by Tuesday.
Other amendments that might come up for a vote would raise the debt ceiling (which Republicans want to fail to show the lack of support for a clean increase with no spending curbs), and repeal last year’s Dodd-Frank financial reform law.
The House returns at 2 p.m. to resume consideration of H.R. 2055, the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. A long series of votes beginning at 6:30 p.m. is expected.
The Senate returns at 2 p.m. and will resume consideration of S. 782, the Economic Development Revitalization Act.
The House meets at 10 a.m. for speeches and noon for legislative work. Members will begin work on H.R. 2112, the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.
The Senate is in session, and may hold a vote on an amendment to S. 782 from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) that would eliminate ethanol tax credits.
Wednesday and Thursday
For these two days, the House continues work on H.R. 2112 and may take up H.R. 1249, the America Invents Act, which would reform the U.S. patent system.
The House meets for legislative work at noon Wednesday, and 9 a.m. Thursday.
The House is not in session, but the Senate should be.