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September 23, 2013

How the clock might tick as the fiscal year approaches

If you're planning your week around Congress' consideration of a fiscal 2014 budget, here's a guide to what may be coming next.

Keep in mind that it's all tenative. A last minute compromise, or one side's sudden decision to drop its opposition, or bad weather, for that matter, could change everything.

But at the moment, here's the plan:

Monday: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, formally takes steps to cut off debate on a motion to proceed to House continuing resolution. The CR, as it's called on Capitol Hill, would keep the government running at the start of the new fiscal year Oct.1, but also defund the 2010 health care law.

Wednesday: Vote on cutting debate likely in the morning. Sixty votes will be needed to limit debate. Democrats control 54 of the Senate's 100 seats. If the Senate gets 60, and as of now that's expected, 30 hours of debate are permitted.

Thursday: 30-hour clock runs out, probably around 6 p.m. Senate would then vote on motion to proceed to the budget bill. That motion requires 51 votes to pass.

If it passes, Reid is expected to file an amendment to the CR stripping out the defunding of health care language. He also is likely to invoke a procedure that will bar other amendments, and also seek to limit debate on the bill itself.

Saturday: Senate vote on limiting debate on the CR bill, probably in late morning. If the debate cutoff gets at least 60 votes, Senate would have a maximum of 30 more hours of debate.

Sunday: 30-hour clock runs out, probably in late afternoon. Senate would then take two votes: One on stripping the defunding amendment, then another on the "clean" CR. Each needs 51 to pass.

Sunday night/Monday: Houseof Representatives gets the "clean" CR. They then have until11:59 p.m. Monday night, roughly 24 hours, to figure out what to do before the fiscal year ends.

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Bill Carlson

Just think if we followed the constitutions passing initial legislation instead of the illegal sixty vote rule we would be better off. There is nothing in the house or senate ability to make rules for the conduct of their members that allows them to make rules on passing legislation. That is left to rules specified in the constitution for passing legislation.

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