THE HOUSE: The President will have to schedule another signing ceremony for later this week. The House today concurred in the Senate amendments on the Credit Card Bill of Rights, which will, among other things, prohibit arbitrary rate increases on customers who are less than 60 days late on paying their bills. President Obama pushed hard for passage of this legislation, and rightfully so. It makes very substantive changes in the rules under which credit card companies operate. The House had to take two separate votes on the bill. The Senate, led by Republican Tom Coburn, included an unrelated amendment allowing people to bring guns into national parks. House leaders decided that they didn't want to hold up the credit card bill because of this provision. Therefore, they took separate votes on the bill itself, and the gun amendment. If one of the amendments had failed, the entire bill would not have been agreed to.
The House then voted on a Republican motion to recommit that would provide monetary assistance to small business to compensate for any "carbon emissions" tax. This was basically a political statement against cap-and-trade hidden in a Congressional motion. But Democrats had no real reason to oppose it. The motion was agreed to by a vote of 385-41. All no votes were from Democrats.
The underlying bill was approved by an overwhelming 406-15 margin, with all opposition coming from Republicans.
The House will move on tomorrow to the FAA authorization bill.
The Senate then took a break from the war funding bill to vote on the conference report accompanying the military procurement reform bill. The report was agreed to by a unanimous vote of 95-0. The House will vote on it tomorrow, and President Obama will sign it by the end of the week. Chalk up another legislative victory.
The Senate went back to dispose of a few amendments on the war funding bill. The first amendment, from Republican leader Mitch McConnell, would limit the release of detainees into the United States pending a report on the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. . The amendment was agreed to 92-3. The "no" votes were from Democrats Burris (IL), Durbin (IL) and Leahy (VT).
The Senate also unanimously approved a Brownback (R-KS) amendment requiring the federal government to consult state governments before relocating prisoners to their states. How much more political hay can they get out of this issue? I guess we'll soon find out, though it sure wastes a lot of time on the Senate floor.
The Senate will vote on cloture tomorrow, before dealing with the remaining amendments to the bill. I expect that cloture should be invoked relatively easily. Republicans have gotten their amendments approved, so they'll probably vote for the bill en masse. I suspect that 10 or so Democrats will vote against the bill.
That's it for a busy, "end of session"-type day. We'll be back for more tomorrow and Friday!