Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Congress Recesses

Last week, Congress recessed from session for the fall break and to prepare for the Nov. 2 national elections. All of the members of Congress and about 1/3 of the Senate will be up for re-election. Congress is expected to return Nov. 15 for a lame duck session, with just 10 days until Thanksgiving.

The results of the election will determine the nature of the legislation being considered during the lame duck session. Neither the National Defense Authorization nor the Defense Appropriations bills have been passed. Funding the government will be one of the topics that will be approached, but whether this is done in a single omnibus bill or the separate bills for federal agencies is not yet determined, if any budget appropriations are passed at all. Earlier Congresses have used continuing resolutions that have passed budgeting from one Congress to the next.

While the only lame duck session that has been discussed is in November, it is likely that Congress will continue into December. Affecting the Senate in the lame duck is the fact that Illinois, West Virginia, and Deleware will be sending new Senators to the lame duck, as the current members filling those seats are appointees. If party affiliations change with any of those seats, the delegate balance between majority and minority will be further affected. The Senate requires a 60 vote majority on bills to limit debate, which becomes crucial when there is little time left before the end of the year.

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