September 8, 2008
Unfinished Business: September Legislative Agenda for Congress
Congress gets back to business today, aiming to finish up this year's legislative work in less than 30 days unless a lame-duck session is convened after the elections. The House’s targeted adjournment date is September 26. This date remains the goal in the Senate but finishing the Senate Democrats' legislative agenda by then will be difficult at best.
One must-do item is appropriating funds to keep the government running. The new fiscal year begins October 1, and none of the major fiscal 2009 appropriations bills have been enacted. In Top on the Agenda: CR for 2009, CQ Politics expects Congress to pass a continuing resolution (CR). "The timing of the CR, however, could be affected by who wins the presidential election and whether there is a lame-duck session after the election."
Paul Blumenthal, writing in the Sunlight Foundation Blog, thinks three non-appropriations bills will also come up for a vote this month:
- S. 3268, Stop Excessive Energy Speculation Act of 2008, a bill to restrain energy speculation markets;
- S. 3186, Warm in Winter and Cool in Summer Act, a bill to provide low income heating assistance; and
- H.R. 1338, Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill to end gender discrimination in workplace pay.
Using MAPLight.org’s listing of supporting and opposing interest groups and Open Secrets’ campaign contribution and lobbying data, Blumenthal created graphs showing the level of money groups are pumping into these two influence channels, and which side is spending more for each of the above-mentioned bills.
Senate Democrats' September Legislative Agenda. H.R. 1338, Paycheck Fairness Act, passed the House on July 31, 2008 along party lines. 232 Democrats and 14 Republicans voted in favor of the bill. 178 Republicans opposed the measure. The Senate Democrats want to remind voters that Johyn McCain has opposed "equal pay for equal work" this month. See the party leadership's recently released e-mail describing their September legislative agenda and Donny Shaw's analysis in Equal Pay, Oil Speculation and Alternative Energy on the Senate Calendar on Congress Gossip Blog. See also Shaw's 8 Controversial Bills That Congress Still May Pass. [JH]
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