Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is warning of a whirlwind September schedule that will feature a slew of do-over votes on Democratic campaign priorities.
"I want everyone to know what's going to happen when we come back. Following the August recess, we're going to convene on Sept. 8, and we're going to be here for one week, two weeks and two days. Sept. 23 is our target date to adjourn until after the election," the Nevada Democrat said when opening the Senate floor Thursday for the last expected session day before the August break.
Finishing on Sept. 23 would allow the Senate to depart before Rosh Hashanah.
Reid previewed the September schedule, including a number of votes on issues ranging from student loans to contraception coverage for women that the Senate has already considered and fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance. Reid voted against those measures for procedural reasons to set up September's gambit. The rules allow him to quickly call for re-votes because he was on the prevailing side.
"There'll be no weekends off. There's only two weekends until we go home, and everyone should not plan things on those weekends," Reid said. "Fridays, Saturdays, Sunday we need to be here."
Reid also reaffirmed that the Senate would act in September on a constitutional amendment to upend Citizens United. It isn't all campaign fodder, though. Congress must send President Barack Obama some kind of spending bill to prevent a repeat of 2013's government shutdown.
Other items that Reid said he will seek to move in September include the annual defense policy bill, a stopgap extension of the Internet tax freedom law and a reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.
"We need to find a way forward on this. The no-government crowd in the House of Representatives and a few over here have made this very difficult to do, and it's so important to the economic stability of our country," Reid said of the Export-Import Bank bill. "It would be a shame if we weren't able to renew this. It expires at the end of September."
Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., and his committee ranking member James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., came to the floor Wednesday evening to prod their colleagues to file amendments before the onset of August recess in order to allow staff to process them over the next few weeks and ensuring the measure can be ready when the Senate returns.
"We can't push everything back to the so-called lame duck," Reid said.
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