All Eyes Looking to Saturday

Posted July 25, 2008 at 12:57pm

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is likely to live up to his promise to hold a rare weekend session to force his colleagues to get through an array of items before the Senate recesses a week from now.

During the Saturday session, the only thing likely to sail through is the massive housing bill, which passed its first procedural hurdle Friday morning. The bill is set to get a final vote sometime tomorrow.

Other than housing, the proposals that Reid intends to bring up are unlikely to move because Republicans plan to continue blocking consideration of any legislation that doesn’t address high energy costs. A home heating and cooling assistance program for needy families and a bipartisan package of bills previously blocked by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) are scheduled to come to the floor.

Republicans are enraged that Reid used a procedural rule that allows him to prohibit amendments on his energy bill designed to restrict oil futures speculation, prompting them to hold the line on energy.

Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) said that he is unwilling to vote to move beyond the speculation bill, which is sponsored by Reid, if Republicans are not allowed to offer amendments that would likely center on increasing domestic drilling. Gregg added that an overall energy bill is the best way to address the heating issue.

Reid is likely to file cloture tomorrow to proceed to debate on the “Coburn Omnibus,” setting up a vote for early next week.