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.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

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

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

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