Friday, May 22, 2009

Legislative Update XIV

Congress sent President Obama two bills this week aimed preventing foreclosures and regulating the credit card industry, though with the price of allowing guns in national parks.

Both chambers of Congress also quickly and unanimously passed and President Obama signed into law a bill aimed at saving billions of dollars in wasteful spending on weapons systems often delivered late and hit by ballooning cost overruns. The armed forces have also submitted to Congress their "wish lists" of spending priorities that did not make the president's Defense budget request, and the items on the list are about one-tenth as expensive as last year's.

The Senate passed $91 billion in war funding, including financing for the International Monetary Fund that may be a sticking point for the House. The Senate also voted 90-6 to strip funding to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay from a supplemental spending bill and bar funding for the transfer of prisoners to the United States. However, many Democrats said they were just waiting on a more specific plan from the Obama administration that the president began to lay out on Thursday.

The Senate confirmed President Obama's nominees for the FDA and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, while his pick to run the census moved toward confirmation as well. But Republicans, who used to believe in "up or down" votes for judicial nominees, blocked action on President Obama's first judicial appointment.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted in favor of the climate change bill currently under consideration by a 33-25 vote.

Finally, the full House rejected a GOP resolution that called for investigations into Speaker Pelosi's accusations against the CIA. Perhaps to mend fences, Pelosi is considering appointing a Republican on an economic crises panel. The Speaker will also be visiting China next week.

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