Friday, October 9, 2009

Congressional Schedule To Extend Through Mid-December

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced late yesterday that he expects your Congressman will be home for Christmas, but not much sooner. Hoyer said on the House floor that he would do everything possible to be sure the House wraps up its agenda by the end of the second week in December, rather than the original House adjournment target of October 30. He doesn't expect to overwork the assembled Congressmen too much, however, promising them a week off for Veterans Day and another week at Thanksgiving, unless they are still debating health care reform at those times.
Speaking of health care reform, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has low expectations of what will be in the final conference committee version of health reform legislation. "The real bill will be written by Democratic leaders in a closed-to-the-public conference room somewhere in the Capitol," McConnell predicted. "The reall bill will be another 1,000 page, trillion dollar experiment that slashes a half-trillion dollars from seniors' Medicare, raises taxes on American families by $400 billion, increases health care premiums, and vastly expands the role of the federal government in the personal health care decisions of every American."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid expects to bring a bill to the Senate floor the first week in November, and a House bill is expected on the floor of that chamber a week sooner. Of course, no one at all knows yet what will be in either measure, and even greater mystery shrouds what may come out of a conference committee after each house has passed a bill. Congressman Gerry Connolly of Virginia left a Thursday morning caucus meeting telling reporters that the proposed tax on "Cadillac" health insurance policies is "dead as a doornail," and that support in the House is growing for a "windfall profits" tax on health insurance companies to fund the House reform measure.
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