Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
On the House agenda for Thursday:
Motion to Concur in the Senate Amendment to H.R. 4853 – Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010, with an amendment (Rep. Levin – Ways and Means) (Subject to a Rule)
Daily Kos explains why master tactician Nancy Pelosi retained her leadership position in the next Congress:
Here's a trick you'll like. So, you can see that the House is finally planning to vote on a middle class-only tax cut bill today. And yet, in all the time you've been waiting for it, you've been hearing that the big problem with just biting the bullet and doing it was that there was the danger that a motion to recommit would end up extending the tax breaks to the rich as well, and spoil the party. So maybe you began to hear that the House might bring the bill to the floor under suspension of the rules, which precludes amendment and motions to recommit, but requires a 2/3 vote (290 in a full House) to pass. And that seemed unlikely.
Well, how about this instead? Go have a look at what they're calling the "Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010. It's H.R. 4853. Go ahead, click it. Take a look at it. What do you see?
It's really the "Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2010, Part III." And that has a familiar ring to it, sort of. The very next bill on the schedule for today is the "Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2010, Part IV," but the bill has no number yet, which means it's brand new and the number hasn't been assigned yet.
What the hell is going on here?
The Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2010, Part III was originated in the House and passed back in March. (And remember, if there are going to be revenue provisions in this thing, it has to have originated in the House, so that's important.) It then went to the Senate, and sat around until September. When it came to the floor, the Senate amended it, passed the amended version, and sent it back to the House.
Now, the House plans to take up the Senate amendment, which it does under a rule governing debate, just as it would with any bill. And if you want to, you can write the rule for the bill to disallow any amendments to it, and that's just what they've done with this one. But writing a rule to disallow a motion to recommit is just not done. It could be done, but it would be a very, very serious infraction against the rights of the minority. So it's not done.
But guess what? Because this is a bill that's already passed and left the House, and the only changes in it are Senate-made amendments, it can't be recommitted, which means there can't be a motion to recommit. Why not? Well, when a motion to recommit passes, it technically sends a bill back to the committee that reported it out. But this bill has already left the custody of the House when it passed the first time. That material can't be recommitted, and neither can the Senate material, which was never in the hands of the House committee in the first place. So by definition, it can't be recommitted. The only thing that can happen is that the House can agree to the Senate amendment, disagree to it, or agree to it with additional amendments. That's it. No recommittal. And only the amendments the Rules Committee allows.
And what amendment will the Rules Committee allow? An amendment to strip out the current contents of H.R. 4853, and replace it with the new, Middle Class Tax Relief Act.
On the Senate side, well, they're not actually going to do any voting today. Your millionaire's club at work (not).