|Recent Senate Votes|
|TAG Extension Motion to Waive – Vote Rejected (50-42, 8 Not Voting)
Last week the Senate began and stopped the process of considering legislation to extend the FDICs Transaction Account Guarantee (TAG) program. The program, initiated in 2008 as a way of shoring up the banking system, provides unlimited government backing for non-interest bearing transaction accounts, such as those used for business expenses. (The normal threshold for government guarantees on such accounts is $250,000.) The Senate invoked cloture on the legislation earlier in the week by a healthy 76-20 margin (Roll Call 225). But the bill foundered on a budgetary point of order raised by Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey. Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, D-S.D. moved to waive Toomeys point of order, but he fell ten votes shy of the 60 needed for such a maneuver. Like so much unfinished business, an extension may well get lost in the year-end rush to avert the fiscal cliff. Even if a bill does get through the Senate, however, House Republicans have signaled they would prefer to let TAG expire, which it is scheduled to do on December 31.
|Recent House Votes|
|Suspension Authority – Vote Passed (226-178, 27 Not Voting)
In a sign of things to come, House leaders brought a rule to the floor allowing bills to be considered under suspension of the rules through Friday, December 28. That would allow for expedited consideration of any deal to avert the fiscal cliff, as suspending the rules prevents any amendments from being offered and limits debate to one hour. It also raises the threshold for passage to a two-thirds majority, which could prove difficult, depending on the exact parameters of any agreement between President Obama and Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio.
Epinephrine Inhalers Suspension – Vote Failed (229-182, 20 Not Voting)
The House failed to muster a two-thirds majority for a bill that would have granted a seven-month grace period for the distribution and sale of over-the-counter asthma inhalers that use chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as a propellant. The inhalers have been banned since December 1, 2011 per the Montreal Protocol, an international convention, which bans ozone-depleting substances (including CFCs). The bill under question, introduced by Texas Republican Rep. Michael C. Burgess, would have lifted the ban until August 1, 2013. Because it was considered under suspension of the rules, the bill would have needed 274 votes to pass. The bill appears to have enough support to pass under regular order, but leadership would need to clear enough floor time for a full debate.
Defense Authorization Motion to Instruct – Vote Passed (399-4, 28 Not Voting)
The House and Senate named conferees last week to negotiations over the final version of the national defense authorization bill for fiscal year 2013. Rep. Susan A. Davis, D-Calif. moved to instruct House negotiators to agree to a provision in the Senate bill (S. 3254) that would mandate a report to Congress on how the U.S. will promote the security of Afghan women and girls as allied forces transition out of the country. The House also agreed to a motion from Armed Services chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif. to close portions of the negotiations to the public, presumably those dealing with intelligence and other particularly sensitive matters.
| Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 – H.R.1
The Senate is scheduled to begin consideration of the supplemental appropriations bill providing emergency relief to the states victimized by Hurricane Sandy. Because all spending bills must originate in the House, Senate leaders are using H.R. 1 which the House passed in February 2011 – as a legislative “shell” to carry the emergency spending language.
Defense Authorization – H.R.4310
Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., has indicated that the defense authorization may be ready for floor action by mid-week.
December 18, 2012
Bennet, Udall, and Perlmutter Watch 12-17-12: Recent Votes