House, Senate look to wrap up 109th Congress next week

Members of the House and Senate might cast the last votes of the 109th Congress -- and the Republicans' congressional majority -- next week as they attempt to wrap up the year's work on tax items and confirm a successor to outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, while leaving unfinished fiscal 2007 spending bills for next year.

A spokesman for House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said adjournment for the year depends on "completing all necessary work, with the goal of being done next week." Neither the House nor the Senate appear to have the appetite to finish outstanding appropriations measures this year, and both chambers have tentatively agreed to punt them to the new Democratic majority next year.

Both chambers are expected to pass a continuing resolution to keep the federal government running into next year, and sources reported it is likely to extend to Feb. 15. Lawmakers on both sides of the Capitol are then expected to leave town, one week earlier than previously anticipated.

The House is expected to convene Tuesday morning with suspension votes scheduled later in the day. During the week, the House is expected to take up the CR and a tax extender package that is expected to include a provision to fend off a cut in Medicare physician payments. House leaders on Thursday also were considering bringing up an offshore energy production bill next week.

The Senate returns Monday to formally receive the nomination of Robert Gates to replace Rumsfeld. The Armed Services Committee is expected to begin hearings Tuesday and the Senate could vote on his nomination as early as the end of the week.

"The goal is to get him confirmed by week's end," a top aide to outgoing Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said Thursday. If the Senate is unable to confirm Gates next week, Frist could call senators back for a brief session the following week.

On Tuesday, senators are expected to resume debate on the fiscal 2007 Agriculture spending measure under a previously agreed upon unanimous consent agreement. Other goals for the week include tax extenders as well as a conference report on a U.S.-India nuclear cooperation agreement and the U.S.-Vietnam trade deal.

"For many of these items, it will take more time to talk about all of them than it will take to act on them, but with a little bit of elbow grease and good will, the Senate can transact business on a wide swath of bills before it adjourns," said Frist's aide. Frist, who is retiring at the end of this year, is scheduled to deliver his farewell speech next week.

The outgoing majority leader announced Wednesday he would not run for president in 2008 and instead plans to return to practicing medicine.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.