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Dance Continues on Supplemental

House Democratic leaders plan to spend the week of June 16 wrapping up negotiations on the war supplemental bill and overriding, for the second time, the president’s veto on the farm bill.

Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), the top House defense appropriator, said Thursday that party leaders want to take up the supplemental in the Rules Committee on Tuesday and send it to the floor Wednesday.

Aides to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said no specific dates have been set yet for moving the bill, but reiterated that leadership wants the supplemental on the floor at some point in the week.

Meanwhile, Republicans will continue pushing their message on the need to boost American energy production in response to rising gas prices. Their efforts will likely include the use of procedural motions to draw attention to GOP energy bills and the introduction of a discharge petition aimed at forcing a floor vote on GOP energy legislation.

House leaders are watching to see what the Senate does with House-passed legislation to extend unemployment insurance, a provision that may or may not end up being rolled into the supplemental. For now, it appears that House Democrats will not wait to see the outcome of the Senate vote in order to proceed with the supplemental.

“I just don’t think individual Members have put it together that the timing doesn’t work out to accommodate both getting it done on Wednesday and waiting for the Senate,” said a Democratic aide close to negotiations on the bill.

While House leaders want the supplemental on the floor Wednesday, “It wouldn’t surprise me at all if it slipped a day,” the aide said.

A Democratic leadership source said the Senate is expected to take up the unemployment insurance bill on Wednesday and the “assumption” is that Republicans will oppose it, though that remains to be seen.

Also on tap for the week is a second veto override of the farm bill. A technical glitch resulted in an entire section being deleted from the bill before President Bush vetoed it last month. Since then, Congress has passed the farm bill again, in its entirety, and it awaits a second veto in order to proceed with another override vote.

A senior House Democratic aide said Congress will transmit the farm bill to the White House early in the week. Bush is expected to veto it “pretty quick” and send it back to Congress for the override vote, which is likely to be held Wednesday or Thursday, the aide said.

The rest of the week includes action on less-controversial bills, including NASA reauthorization legislation and bills relating to paid parental leave and child abuse in residential programs.

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