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Hobby Lobby, Immigration Supplemental At Top of Reid’s July Agenda (Video)
Posted at 4:17 p.m. on July 8, 2014
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., plans a packed July work period with the Senate expected to consider a raft of bills, including a Democratic response to the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision and the emergency immigration supplemental spending bill.
“We have so much to do this month,” Reid said after a meeting with his Democratic colleagues. “At the caucus that I just completed we weren’t able to get through all the issues. So we have to finish our work on Thursday just to talk about them.”
Reid said a top priority is taking action in response to the court’s 5-4 ruling that closely held corporations did not have to provide contraceptive services as part of health insurance plans if they have religious objections.
“The one thing we are going to do during this work period, sooner rather than later, is to ensure that women’s lives are not determine by virtue of five white men,” Reid said. “This Hobby Lobby decision is outrageous and we are going to do something about it. People are going to have to walk down here and vote. And if they vote with the five men on the Supreme Court I think they are going to be treated unfavorably come November.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the month would go a lot smoother if Democrats refrained from political votes, such as the Hobby Lobby proposal.
“In terms of the schedule ahead for the month … I would make one suggestion … that we would have a better chance of working our way through the bills that we need to pass if we cut out the show votes and didn’t eat up time trying to score points for the fall election,” McConnell said.
Among the “need-to-pass” bills is the $4.3 billion emergency supplemental spending bill that the White House has requested, which includes funds to stem the flow of undocumented Central American children crossing the border. The bill also includes funding for fighting wildfires in several western states.
Many Republicans have called for offsetting the funding, but McConnell declined to do so until after reviewing the request.
“We just got it about two hours ago and we are going to take a look at it,” McConnell said when asked about offsets. “I don’t have an opinion yet about the president’s request.”
Reid said he doesn’t believe the supplemental should be offset. He also said he doesn’t want to add to the proposal, likely limiting opportunities for amendments to the package.
“The main thing we have to do is recognize we have an emergency,” he said. “I think we should try to stick with what we have.”
Reid said he also hopes to take up a measure to dissuade companies from shipping jobs overseas, as well as the nominations of Shaun Donovan to become Office of Management and Budget Director and Julian Castro to be Housing and Urban Development secretary. Extending the expiring highway bill is also on the schedule for this month.