Reid Telegraphs Busy Summer

Posted May 5, 2009 at 3:21pm

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday laid out an ambitious month of legislating for the chamber, but acknowledged many of the Democrats’ top priorities will have to wait until the summer.

Reid said the Senate will complete legislation regulating the credit card industry and reforming government procurement before the Memorial Day recess. But the Majority Leader conceded that he will hold off bringing up a bill imposing new regulations on the tobacco industry until after the late-May break, which begins on the 23rd.

Reid also said he plans to move the tobacco measure through committee, rather than bringing the House-passed measure straight to the Senate floor.

“I think it’s probably better to take it through the [Health, Education, Labor and Pensions] Committee,— Reid said. “This is a bipartisan bill, and I don’t want to give anyone an excuse not to vote for it.—

The Senate must also pass a war supplemental bill before adjourning for the Memorial Day break. The House Appropriations Committee is poised to vote on a $94.2 billion bill on Thursday. The House blueprint is larger than the Obama administration’s $83.4 billion request.

Reid also noted that the Senate has a list of Obama administration appointees yet to consider. They include Dawn Johnsen, the controversial nominee to head the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department, and Cameron Kerry, Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) brother and the nominee for Commerce Department counsel.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee unanimously approved Cameron Kerry’s nomination last week, but the full Senate has yet to take it up.