Monday, December 06, 2010

Dems aim for 100+ bills in 1 swoop

Democratic efforts to push through more than 100 public lands and water bills in the lame duck session are reaching a fever pitch, with the recognition this is the last chance many of them have to become law. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has tasked Democratic leaders on at least three committees to come up with a list of bills that could get past a GOP filibuster. They may also need to be able to secure the two-thirds support that would be needed if the House tries to expedite the package without amendments in a tight legislative calendar. Several Senate Republicans are cosponsors of individual bills that could be included but the GOP appears likely to object to the package as a whole. “There’s no way a giant omnibus like that would gain support among Republicans,” said Robert Dillon, spokesman for Energy and Natural Resources ranking member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). “There’s bills in there we would like to see passed but not this way. We don’t have the time to fix all the problems.” A potential Democratic package could include more than 100 measures from at least three panels. Energy and Natural Resources has passed 72 public lands bills that are pending on the Senate calendar and there are others the panel has not yet voted on; the Environment and Public Works Committee has so far given more than a dozen bills to be considered; while the Commerce Committee Friday sent over a list of 13 bills. Bingaman spokesman Bill Wicker said the panel's bills are not controversial and many were approved with no opposition. Bingaman staffers are holding off on providing a final list to Reid in case additional bills not voted on by the panel could be added...more

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