Daily Whip
House Meets At: First Vote Predicted: Last Vote Predicted:

10:00 a.m.: Morning Hour
12:00 p.m.: Legislative Business

Fifteen “One Minutes”
1:30 – 2:00 p.m. 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

H.Res. 438 – Rule providing for consideration of the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.J.Res. 59 – Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 and Pathway for Sustainable Growth in Medicare (SGR) Reform Act of 2013 and H.R. 3695Short-Term Farm Bill Extension (One Hour of Debate).  For the two amendments to the Senate Amendment to H.J.Res. 59, the Rules Committee has recommended a closed Rule that provides for seventy minutes of general debate, with 60 minutes equally divided and controlled by the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Budget and 10 minutes equally divided and controlled between the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. The Rule waives all points of order against the legislation and also provides for one vote on the motion to concur in the Senate Amendment following the seventy minutes of debate.

For H.R. 3695, the Rules Committee has recommended a closed Rule that provides for forty minutes of general debate equally divided and controlled by the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Agriculture. The Rule allows one motion to recommit, and waives all points of order against the legislation.

The Rule also allows for same-day Rule authority and Suspension Authority through Friday, December 13, 2013.

The Rules Committee rejected a motion by Ms. Slaughter of New York to make in order an amendment offered by Mr. Van Hollen of Maryland and Mr. Levin of Michigan to H.J.Res. 59 that would extend unemployment insurance for the 1.3 million Americans who have stopped receiving benefits. Members are urged to VOTE NO.

House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.J.Res. 59 – Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 and Pathway for Sustainable Growth in Medicare (SGR) Reform Act of 2013 (70 Minutes of Debate). The Bipartisan Budget Agreement caps topline discretionary spending for the current fiscal year at $1.012 trillion, about halfway between the Senate budget level of $1.058 trillion and the House budget level of $967 billion, and about $45 billion above the $967 billion FY2014 sequestration levels ascribed by the Budget Control Act (BCA).  In fiscal year 2015, the cap would be raised to $1.013 trillion, $18 billion above FY2015 sequestration levels.  Overall, the agreement provides $63 billion in sequestration relief over the next two years.  Both years of sequester relief split funding evenly between defense and non-defense categories, maintaining the BCA “firewall.”

In addition to sequester relief, the agreement includes approximately $85 billion in mandatory savings and non-tax revenue. It accomplishes this through a number of deficit-reduction provisions, including a decrease in the cost of living adjustment (COLA) for working-age military retirees, a 1.3% increase in retirement contributions by new Federal employees, an increase in security-related fees charged by TSA, and a two-year extension of the Medicare sequester, through FY2023. Overall, the agreement would reduce the deficit by $23 billion over the next ten years.

The Rule combines the Budget Agreement Amendment with a second amendment. The second amendment includes a temporary three-month patch for both the Sustainable Growth Rate and related extenders. It averts a nearly 24% cut in reimbursement rates for Medicare physicians, replacing it with a 0.5% update through March 31, 2014. This patch is offset by a one year extension of current Medicaid DSH (Disproportionate Share Hospitals) policy, extending cuts to those hospitals for another year through FY2023, as well as changes to how Long-Term Care Hospitals (LTCHs) are paid, altering the ways that patients can qualify for higher payment rate.

Background for the Bipartisan Budget Agreement: 
Budget Committee Summary (PDF)
CBO Score & Summary (PDF)

Suspensions (3 bills)

  1. H.Res. __  – Providing for the concurrence by the House in the Senate amendments to H.R. 3304, with an amendment (Rep. McKeon – Armed Services)
  2. H.R. 1447Death in Custody Reporting Act (Rep. Scott (VA) – Judiciary)
  3. H.R. 3509Assessing Progress in Haiti Act of 2013, as amended (Rep. Lee – Foreign Affairs)

Begin Consideration of H.R. 3695 – Short-Term Farm Bill Extension (Rep. Lucas – Agriculture) (40 Minutes of Debate). This bill would retroactively extend provisions of the expired 2008 Farm Bill through January 31, 2014, because a new Farm Bill has not been completed. 

Current farm programs were set to expire in 2012, but were extended in the American Taxpayer Relief Act ("fiscal cliff" bill) last January after the House Majority failed to consider a new Farm Bill during the 112th Congress. That extension expired on September 30 after the House Majority again failed to complete action on a Farm Bill in a timely manner so it could be conferenced with the bipartisan Senate bill, and instead passed extreme, partisan legislation that slashed SNAP funding needed to help vulnerable Americans.  The continued failure to complete action on a new Farm Bill means that commodity policy has technically reverted to so-called permanent law, which would result in increased supports and prices for program commodities, including dairy.  However, these provisions cannot take effect until USDA issues regulations implementing them, and the Chairs and Ranking Members of both the Senate and House Agriculture Committees have indicated they expect to complete action on the new Farm Bill by early January before permanent law could result in price increases.

The GOP Leadership has announced the following schedule for Friday, December 13: The House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. The House is expected to complete consideration of H.R. 3695 – Short-Term Farm Bill Extension (Rep. Lucas – Agriculture).  The House is also expected to consider bills under suspension of the Rules.

The Daily Quote

“This Friday, the 113th Congress will end its 2013 session with a less-than-distinguished title: one of the least productive ever. Halfway through its term, Congress has passed 56 laws. By comparison, 10 years ago, the 108th Congress passed 504 laws between 2003 and 2004. A decade before, the 103rd passed 473 laws, according to GovTrack, a site that monitors legislation. The current Congress's predecessor, the 112th -- thought to be the least productive ever -- managed to pass 284. The 113th Congress is on track to underperform even that cohort. The anemic legislative output is brought to you by an unprecedented confluence of divided government, partisan polarization, and bicameral policy differences.”

-    CNN, 12/12/2013