Reid suggests Senate could hold session into weekend to finish agenda

{mosads}The Senate has a big agenda this week, Reid noted on the Senate floor Monday, including a Food and Drug Administration reauthorization bill, a flood insurance extension bill and legislation extending the current interest rate on Stafford college student loans. Reid said all those bills have to pass before the July 4 holiday.

“By Friday the Senate must pass flood insurance legislation to allow millions of Americans to close on new homes or new properties, we must send to President Obama a bill to ease drug shortages, that’s the FDA bill,” Reid said. “We need to protect three million jobs with an agreement on transportation legislation, and the deadline to stop student loan rates from doubling for seven million students looms at the end of this week as well.

“I’m putting my colleagues on notice, Mr. President — the Senate will stay as long as we have to, into the weekend if necessary, to complete this substantial workload,” Reid continued. “We hope there will be cooperation not only on this body but also in the House of Representatives. I have to alert everyone, Mr. President, we have a lot to do, extremely important pieces of legislation, and we’ve got to complete them before we leave here this week.”

On Monday, the Senate resumed consideration of the National Flood Insurance Program and Modernization Act (S.1940), an extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The chamber is set to hold a unanimous consent vote on a motion to proceed to the bill at 5:30.

The chamber is then schedules to vote on a cloture vote on the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (S. 3187), which already passed the House. That bill creates a new FDA user fee program to speed up the agency’s authorization of certain drugs.

The Senate must also consider passage of the Interest Rate Reduction Act (S. 2366) to extend the current 3.4 percent interest rate on Stafford loans. The rate is set to double on July 1 unless an extension is passed. Despite the desire by both Democrats and Republicans to extend the current rate, an extension has remained elusive. In early May, the Senate voted down a motion to advance the bill toward passage, effectively leaving the legislation in limbo in the Senate.

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