Saturday, September 28, 2013

House Rules Committee Rule for 2nd Consideration of HJ Res 59

The House Rules Committee approved H Res 366 a rule for the consideration of HJ Res 59 as amended by the Senate. This resolution provides for the House to choose between two versions of substitute language for HJ Res 59 and the consideration of HR 3210, the Pay Our Military Act; a bill designed to ensure that military members and critical DOD civilians and contractors would continue to get paid if the government is shut down by the failure to approve a FY 2014 spending bill.

The Solomon Decision

Both of the proposed substitute languages {the Paulsen (R,MN) and the Blackburn (R,TN) amendments} proposed by the rule would, according to the Rules Committee web site:

• Repeal the Medical Device Excise Tax;
• Amend the expiration date of the CR to be December 15, 2013;
• Make a technical change to the Eisenhower Memorial Commission provision; and
• Add a new provision to extend the authority for the U.S. to issue Special Immigrant Visas.

The Blackburn Amendment would have the added effect of postponing the implementation of Obamacare for one year.

It looks like the leadership believes that Paulsen amendment may be an acceptable (to the Democrats) alternative to shutting down the government. Allowing it to be considered first would allow some Democrats to vote for the adoption of the language. It certainly won’t be acceptable to the conservative faction of the House that is trying hardest to kill Obamacare. If enough Democrats vote for the Paulsen amendment to overcome the objections of the conservative faction of the Republican Party then this could pass.

What I am not clear on is whether or not the passage of the Paulsen Amendment would stop the consideration of the Blackburn Amendment. If it does, then the bill would go to the Senate and Sen. Reid and company would have to decide if they want to shut down the federal government. They would probably blink and pass the bill since their most vehement objection would have been removed.

If the Blackburn Amendment comes to a vote it would probably pass. If the Paulsen Amendment were not in the picture, it would certainly pass on a straight party-line vote. The question would be how many moderate Republicans would vote against it after supporting the Paulsen Amendment.

If the Paulsen Amendment is passed and sent to the Senate the Speaker is going to face some loud calls for his resignation from the right. The conservatives will have been defeated in one of their most dearly held fights by the action of the Republican leadership. The remainder of this term would be a very tense and trying time for the Republican caucus.

If the Paulsen Amendment fails, the Speaker will clearly and publicly place the blame on the Democrats if the Senate does not concur (and it won’t) with the Blackburn version of HJ Res 59. Whether that blame will stick won’t be clear until a year from now when the next congressional elections role around.

HR 3210

This bill, introduced by… hmm there is no introducer’s name that I can find on the House Rules Committee web site, oh well. This bill would insure that military pay would continue if a continuing resolution doesn’t pass before October 1st or if any time this year the government is left without funding. It specifically requires meeting the payroll for active duty military (and Guard and Reserve personnel on active duty) and Coast Guard on military duty. It would also require meeting the payroll for selected DOD (and DHS for Coast Guard) civilian and contractor personnel who are directly supporting military operations. The Secretaries would determine who would be ‘selected’ and report that back to Congress.

This is a motherhood and apple pie bill and should pass with some bipartisan support, though the support from Democrats will be grudging.

H Res 366 Passed in House

As I finish writing this blog post I notice that the House has completed their one-hour debate on H Res 366 and just passed the bill. The vote tally was not yet available on House Clerk’s web site but I suspect that it was a fairly straight party-line vote. The final result for HJ Res 59 will probably be done by midnight.

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