The congressional lame-duck session finally ended Christmas week for both the Senate and the House. The 112th Congress will begin at 12 noon on Wednesday, Jan. 5.
In an effort to report on allthe activities that occurred during the lame-duck session, I will list the bills or common names of the bills and recorded votes where applicable. This will allow you to reference this column as you write and read other reports on the lame-duck session. Just so you know, this lame-duck session was clearly the most active since World War II and by my accounts the longest in recent history.
We can debate whether that is good or bad, or whether members' accomplishments were also good or bad at another time. In the meantime, please enjoy this piece as a reference item. Here goes:
- START treaty -- ratified in the Senate by a vote of 71-26 (three not voting); House does not act.
- Continuing resolution (appropriations through March 4, 2011) -- passed Senate by a vote of 79-16 (five not voting); passed the House by a vote of 193 to 165 (75 not voting).
- Repeal of the DOD policy called dont ask, dont tell -- passed Senate by a vote of 65-31 (four not voting); passed the House by a vote of 250-195 (nine not voting).
- DREAM act -- defeated in the Senate by a vote of 55-41 (four not voting); passed the House by a vote of 216-198 (20 not voting).
- DOD authorization bill -- passed in the Senate by unanimous consent; passed the House by a vote of 341-48 (44 not voting).
- 9/11 Health Care bill -- passed in the Senate by voice vote; passed the House by a vote of 206-60 (168 not voting).
- Global tax agreement -- passed Senate by a vote of 81-19; passed the House by a vote of 277-148 (eight not voting).
- $250 dollar payment to seniors vs. Social Security COLA -- defeated in the Senate by a vote of 53-45 (two not voting). This vote needed 60 affirmative votes to advance the bill.
- Firefighters' collective bargaining -- defeated in the Senate by a vote of 55-43 (two not voting). This vote needed 60 affirmative votes to advance the bill.
- Food safety modernization -- passed Senate by a vote of 73-25 (two not voting); passed the House by a vote of 215-144 (74 not voting).
- The Senate confirmed over 35 executive calendar nominations, including members to boards, commissions and the director of Office of Management and Budget, Jacob Lew. The Senate also confirmed five U.S. marshalls, one U.S. attorney and 15 federal judges.
I wish each reader a wonderful, safe, healthy and blessed new year! Thank you for your support and readership in the past and, as always, stay tuned for lots more in the upcoming year.
Elizabeth B. Letchworth is a retired, elected United States Senate secretary for the majority and minority. Currently she is a senior legislative adviser for Covington & Burling, LLC and is the founder of GradeGov.com.