Senate Agenda Runs From Bailout to Extenders

Posted September 19, 2008 at 5:06pm

Laying out an ambitious legislative agenda, Senate leaders plan to spend the week of Sept. 22 advancing a forthcoming bailout package aimed at stabilizing the financial sector, a comprehensive energy bill, tax-extenders legislation and a continuing resolution to keep the government funded.

The Senate will vote on tax-extenders legislation on Tuesday. Beyond that, aides said there is no set schedule for other bills.

The most pressing issue of the week will be the administration-backed bailout package targeting financial institutions.

Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) planned to work with administration officials and House leaders over the weekend to craft the bill, which would use federal money to bail out Wall Street businesses with bad debt. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has said the proposal will cost hundreds of billions of dollars in order to address the heart of the problem.

Senators will also vote on a comprehensive energy bill that may, or may not, be a contentious House-passed proposal. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has signaled he would like to bring the House bill forward as a starting point for debate, although even Democrats have said that bill lacks the votes to pass.

Other bills on tap include the so-called “Coburn Omnibus,” a grab bag of low-profile legislation packaged together in an effort to get past holds placed on the individual bills by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), and an economic stimulus package that may come over from the House.

Reid believes there is “still a possibility to be done next week,” a Democratic leadership aide said, although the targeted adjournment date of Friday may slip and a return in October or November seems a certainty.