This Week in Citizen Joe (11/13/2007)

Farm Bill
Photo:dbaron, Creative Commons, Flickr

The House gets to one of the many mortgage bills sifting through Congress – all part of an effort to respond to the nation's still jittery credit market. HR 3915 would set new lending standards for mortgage brokers and backers, requiring – for one – that brokers make sure families can cover future payments on "adjustable rate" mortgages (the kind where payments tend to spike up).

After a cease-fire in October, House members bring the Iraq debate back front and center, attaching a resolution to a $50 billion spending bill that would require soldiers start coming home in two months, with all combat troops home by December '08. The measure also tackles torture, outlawing "waterboarding" and generally requiring the CIA stick to the military's interrogation rules. Like the many similar bills passed in the House earlier this year, it is not expected to get very far.

The Senate sticks to its farm bill, which made little headway last week. A five year $288b grab bag of agricultural subsidies, food stamps and conservation programs, the farm bill is up for its occasional renewal. To the dismay of fiscal conservatives, the new farm bill looks a lot like the old farm bill, but some senators will try to whittle down its size by capping subsidies at $250,000 per farm.

Congress and the president may enter full-bore budget head-butt mode, with the House planning an attempt to override Bush's veto of the $151 billion Labor-Health-Education spending bill. Congress may also pass the prez a $51 billion Transportation-Housing bill for a second veto.

Both chambers also plan to okay a final Head Start reauthorization bill.