Senate to Take Up Green New Deal, Disaster Relief Appropriations After Recess Week

March 15, 2019

The U.S. Senate (like the House) will be in recess next week. But while the House schedule for the week after recess has not yet been made public, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took some steps yesterday to set the Senate agenda for the week of March 25.

At 5:30 p.m. on Monday, March 25, the Senate will vote to invoke cloture on the nomination of Bridget Bade to be a judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  This will presumably get the majority vote necessary to invoke cloture, which will then lead to up to 30 hours of post-cloture debate, some of which may get yielded back.

Once the Senate votes to finally confirm Bade’s nomination (Tuesday/Wednesday), the next item of business will be a cloture vote on a McConnell motion to proceed to consider S. J. Res. 8, the copy of the “Green New Deal” resolution introduced on February 13 by McConnell, which is a word-for-word copy of the resolution introduced by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) on February 7 (S. Res. 59) except that (a) the McConnell resolution is a joint resolution, not a simple Senate resolution and (b) the Markey resolution expresses the “sense of the Senate” that the GND should be implemented, whereas McConnell’s resolution declares the “policy of the United States.”

Cloture motions on legislation (and motions to proceed to legislation) require 60 votes, and presuming that just about all Republicans (and many Democrats) will vote “no,” then once the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the Green New Deal resolution is defeated, another motion to proceed will come up for an immediate vote in the Senate. This one is a motion to proceed to consider the House-passed supplemental appropriations bill (H.R. 268).

That motion is expected to pass, and then, once H.R. 268 becomes the pending business of the Senate, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Richard Shelby (R-AL) is expected to offer his own version of a package of disaster relief appropriations to deal the effects of various hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, typhoons and wildfires across the U.S. and its territories in recent months. The price tag for that bill has gone up from $7.8 billion to $12.1 billion to $13.5 billion in various iterations (see our coverage of the last version made public here).

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