Saturday Session Still a Possibility

Posted July 24, 2008 at 1:32pm

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) reiterated his desire Thursday afternoon for a weekend vote on housing and energy. But a set of bills stitched together to avoid opposition from a GOP Senator likely won’t come up until next week.

The Senate is debating the Democratic proposal to tamp down speculation in the oil commodities market, but Republicans have moved to block action on any other legislation except energy. This has caused problems for a package of bills opposed by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) that Reid had originally hoped to bring up this weekend.

Senate GOP aides said Thursday that it appeared Reid was abandoning his plans to force a weekend vote on the so-called “Coburn Omnibus.”

But a weekend session could still be in the offing on the massive housing bill, which includes the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout, to which Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has objected. Republicans and Democrats could also reach a deal on energy.

DeMint wants to offer an amendment that would prevent the two mortgage giants from lobbying Congress. Reid charges that DeMint’s amendment, if approved, would bounce the housing bill back to the House and further delay passage.

Furthermore, Reid told reporters Thursday that he wants to move toward legislation on low-income heating assistance. If the bill overcomes some of its likely procedural hurdles, it could receive a final vote as early as Sunday.