Bill Brewster, NSWA Governmental Affairs Director
November 25, 2013
The House is in recess until the first week of December. They are only scheduled to be in session for the first two weeks of the month. The Senate however is expected to take a two-week Thanksgiving vacation, meaning that the two bodies will only have one legislative week of overlap left in 2013. The priorities for both chambers are slim, with a potential budget deal highest on the list but a few other marquee items also on the docket like the reauthorization of a Farm Bill and annual national defense legislation.
However an important piece to watch will be the impacts of the acrimonious decision on November 21 by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to eliminate the power of the minority side to filibuster presidential appointees, excluding nominees for the Supreme Court. Whether or not such appointees are confirmed will now be decided by a simple majority vote of 51 Senators in favor instead of the 60-vote “super majority” that has become common in recent years.
For people who like to follow the inside baseball of congressional process, the move was unprecedented and controversial. In an already fractious and politically grid-locked Congress, it will be interesting to see what kind of impact the move will have on the Senate and the two parties’ abilities to find compromise.