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The Senate and House are in session this week.
The Senate returns today at 3:00 pm to resume consideration of the nomination of Taylor B. McNeel to serve as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. McConnell filed cloture on McNeel’s nomination before the Thanksgiving giving recess. A roll call vote on the cloture motion is expected around 5:30 pm. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also filed cloture on three other nominees who will be considered this week.
The continuing resolution (CR) that Congress is operating runs through December 11. The rumor going around lately is that Congress may try to pass a week-long stopgap spending bill to give themselves more time to hammer out an agreement on an omnibus that would be considered the week of December 14. That omnibus would run through the rest of FY 2021 (September 30). The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is also hanging out there. Conferees are trying to nail down an agreement, although one provision renaming military installations named after Confederates has drawn a veto threat from President Trump. The House is pushing for the Senate language, which allows the names to be changed over the next three years.
There’s also a possible COVID-19 package that has been lingering out in the ether. McConnell is now looking for a smaller package, $500 billion, than the $2.2 trillion that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) want. Some Democrats are willing to go lower than $2.2 trillion, but Pelosi and Schumer don’t appear to be listening. There are other things like tax extenders that are also out there, as well as unforeseen voters such as arms sales that could be the subject of congressional disapproval.
The full Senate committee schedule for the week is here.
Originally, the House was supposed to be in recess this week, but a full week was added prior to the Thanksgiving recess. Last week, however, Democratic leadership canceled votes scheduled for today and tomorrow. The House will now come back on Wednesday with first votes beginning at 6:30 pm. There are 28 bills coming to the floor this week under the suspension of the rules.
Bills that come to the floor under suspension of the rules require two-thirds of members present and voting for passage. This is the most common way that bills considered by the House come to the floor. Some of these bills may be passed by a voice vote, rather than a roll call vote. Most bills that come to the floor under suspension aren’t widely considered controversial, although leadership may occasionally test a bill under suspension to gauge opposition or sneak a bill through the chamber.
The rule bill this week is the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, H.R. 3884. The MORE Act would decriminalize marijuana, provide for expungement of marijuana offenses, impose a 5 percent excise tax on cannabis products, and establish a trust fund for programs for individuals and businesses impacted by the war on drugs.
The full House committee schedule for the week is here.