Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Senate Passes HR 2017

Reading the Daily Digest of the Congressional Record this morning it looks like the Senate passed the DHS Spending bill, HR 2017 with the amendment that I discussed in an earlier blog. Actually Sen. Reid (D,NV) used HR 2017 as the vehicle for a very short term continuing resolution to give the House time to consider the revision for HR 2608 that was also passed last night.

Short and Very Short CR

There is only one difference between the two bills that I can see at first glance. That is in §106(3) the end date for the CR is October 4th, 2011 for HR 2017 and November 18th, 2011 for HR 2608. The October 4th (a week from today) date is the deadline for the House to pass HR 2608. The November 18th date is the deadline for Congress to pass the regular spending bills for FY2012.

For the chemical security community §129 of both bills provides for the extension of the §550 authority for the CFATS program to the date specified in that §106(3) discussed above. Its interesting that this was included in HR 2107 since that authority already had an expiration date of October 4th, 2011. This is really just a measure of how automatic the extension of CFATS has become; the staffers that drafted Senate Amendment 666 (conspiracy nuts and ‘end of days’ nuts note that number) did not realize that this was not necessary; they just automatically included it.

Oh, just to make things really confusing there is one more identicallity (that may be a made up word); both bills will be known as the ‘Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012’.

No DHS Appropriations Bill

One final point, HR 2017 was used by Sen. Reid as the ‘vehicle’ for the short term spending extension because a House passed bill was needed. The Constitution requires spending bills to originate in the House. Of course, it could have been any House passed bill, it did not need to be a spending bill; just look at HR 2608.

This does create an interesting problem. There is now no DHS spending bill for the Senate to take up and pass. There are two options. First the House could pass another spending bill (oh wouldn’t that be fun), or the Senate could take another House passed bill and tack their version of HR 2017 passed in Committee onto that bill. This could be done either as an amendment (to another spending bill for example) or as an amendment in the form of a substitute (effectively killing the original House passed bill). It will be interesting to see how this is handled.

No comments:

/* Use this with templates/template-twocol.html */