|Recent Senate Votes|
|Committee Funding Resolution Amendment Vote – Vote Rejected (44-53, 3 Not Voting)
The Senate passed a resolution authorizing funding levels for its standing committees through the remainder of fiscal year 2013. This is normally a non-controversial measure but Kentucky Republican Rand Paul objected to including funding for a body known as the National Security Working Group, essentially a forum for senators to discuss foreign policy and national security. Paul insisted on a vote for his amendment to strip funding from the Working Group. After the amendment was rejected, the resolution was agreed to by voice vote.
CIA Director Nomination Confirmation – Vote Confirmed (63-34, 3 Not Voting)
The Senate confirmed President Obama’s counterterrorism advisor John Brennan to be the next director of the CIA last week. Brennan looked to be on a glide path to confirmation until Kentucky Republican Rand Paul staged an unexpected “talking” filibuster that stretched over 13 hours. Paul stated that he was holding up Brennans nomination because he had not received adequate assurances from the administration that the president did not have authority to target American citizens on American soil with drone strikes if they were not an “imminent threat.” During the course of the filibuster Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. released a brief letter to Paul stating that the president does not have the authority “to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil.” This appeared to satisfy Paul, who yielded the floor after midnight on March 7. Following a successful cloture motion later that afternoon (Roll Call 31), Brennan was confirmed with a solid bipartisan majority.
|Recent House Votes|
|Disaster Response and Preparedness Suspension – Vote Passed (370-28, 33 Not Voting)
The House cleared a bill under suspension last week reauthorizing various measures meant to strengthen preparation and response to pandemics and similar biological disasters. The House originally passed the bill in January (Roll Call 24). It was later amended in the Senate, extending the authorization through 2018, and sent back to the House. This latest vote moves the bill to the president’s desk.
FY 2013 Continuing Appropriations – Vote Passed (267-151, 13 Not Voting)
With a March 27 deadline to avert government shutdown looming, the House moved last week to pass a bill making appropriation for the rest of the fiscal year. The package contained full appropriations bills for the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, (though it did not increase their funding levels) and essentially continues FY12 funding for all other accounts. The bill’s overall funding level is in line with the $1.043 trillion cap agreed to under the 2011 debt ceiling agreement, but because of the sequester, net new budget authority would instead reach $984 billion.
| Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 – H.R.933
The Senate will take up the continuing appropriations measure on Monday and is expected to pass the measure this week. There appears to be agreement in the body to add full bills for Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, and Homeland Security.
This bill would largely consolidate several dozen workforce investment and job training programs into one in which funding would be doled out in block grants to states. The bill’s committee markup last week was notable for Democrats’ boycott of the proceedings. They said it was a partisan measure largely identical to a bill the committee passed last year along party lines.
The House is scheduled to consider this bill, passed out of the Ways and Means committee last week, to counteract a Health Human Services Department waiver program that Republicans say would dilute work requirements in the federal welfare program.
March 12, 2013
Bennet, Udall, and Perlmutter Watch 3-11-13: Recent Votes