The House has already hit the road -- gone until September -- so the Senate has the joint to itself. I asked one Senate staffer what the rationale is behind the House taking off a week earlier?
"What is this thing you call a 'rationale?'" he replied.
The Senate will vote to confirm Sonia Sotomayor -- the only mystery there is how many deadbeat Republican votes she will pick up along the way.
Today there is debate on the $23.7 billion FY10 Agriculture Appropriations bill-- $2.3 billion more than FY09. CongressDaily reports that the bill provides $124 billion when mandatory spending is taken into account, including $61.4 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps). That funding is desperately needed. In April nearly 39 million people received food stamps -- more than 1 in 9 Americans.
The Senate will also take up the Cash for Clunkers program which exhausted its first $1 billion in less than a week. The House voted to extend the program with $2 billion taken from previously approved renewable energy loan guarantees in the stimulus bill. The GOP will (surprise) attempt to filibuster.
Max Baucus and his five friends on the Senate Finance Committee say they need more time to come up with their uninspired and underwhelming health care bill. His Herculean effort to please Chuck Grassley, Mike Enzi, and Olympia Snowe has successfully alienated Democrats on the committee who have been relegated to the sidelines during negotations. (That's good news, maybe the Baucus bill will be scrapped since 3 House committees and the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions committee are in general agreement on a public option…. Has Baucus made Olbermann's Worst Person in the World list yet?)
Hearings this week…. Senate Banking hears from FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair tomorrow when it looks at streamlining bank supervision. On Wednesday the Committee holds a hearing on proposals for regulation of credit card agencies…. Sheila E. will be in town tomorrow, testifying in support of legislation which would end the royalty exemption for AM and FM radio. Here's hoping for a drum solo…. This morning, Senator Ben Cardin looks at protecting and restoring the Chesapeake Bay -- the nation's largest estuary….
President Obama will travel to Elkhart, Indiana on Wednesday to talk health care. Hopefully he'll modify his pitch -- less jargon, more urgency.