By Congresspedia assistant editor Avelino Maestas
Monday was supposed to be the day the House approved a $700 billion rescue/bailout plan for the U.S. financial services sector. With Congress set to adjourn after approving the rescue and a few other bills, the week was shaping up to be a quick one.
However, with the House’s defeat of the bailout measure Monday, the legislative calendar has been thrown into upheaval. Rather than vote on tax package, it appears the House will reconvene Thursday in order to give the rescue bill another try.
Confusion seems to be running the day. Democratic leaders in the Senate, including Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) have signaled they still want to work towards a vote on the measure. There is no agreement, however, as to what changes should or could be made to the bill, or whether the House or Senate should take up the revised legislation first.
The Senate, meanwhile, is working on a number of legislative goals. That body appears prepared to approve an Amtrak funding and rail-safety bill on Wednesday. Senators are also holding out for House consideration of a comprehensive tax package, though that appears unlikely. A number of popular provisions, including a fix for the alternative minimum tax, renewable energy tax credits, and disaster-relief rebates are in the package.
Also this week, the trial of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens (R) continues, after the trial judge refused to declare a mistrial or dismiss the criminal case. The defense had sought a dismissal after accusing the prosecution of withholding evidence in the case.