Thursday, January 3, 2013

The 113th Congress

Well the Senate and the House have officially convened the first session of the 113th Congress. The leadership has been elected and we’re off on the start of a new legislative travail. Much has stayed the same from the 112th; a firm Republican majority in the House, a narrow but ineffective Democratic majority in the Senate, and a Democratic President. The main players remain the same, but a number of Committee Chairs have changed hands and it is too early to be sure how much effect that will have on the legislative agenda and effectiveness.

While there will be some symbolic votes this week, and perhaps an important bill or two, most of the next couple of weeks will be dominated by housekeeping issues. Every Committee with a new Chair will have a revised web site (and none of the old links will work) and even some of the carryover Chairs will take the opportunity to update or change their site. The first one out of the box that I have noticed is the House Transportation Committee; their new home page is not yet operational but the biography of their new chairman {Rep. Shuster (R,PA)} and their Hearing Page are up and running.

The House Calendar calls for the House to be in session this week. Next week is currently planned to be a District Work Week, but that may change because of the way the Senate ‘fiscal cliff bill’ dealt with the sequester issue. The Senate has not yet posted their Calendar on their website yet.

Since all of the bills that were not passed in the 112th Congress have now been sent to the archives, there will be a whole slew of fresh bills to offer. Every veteran lawmaker has a stack of their favorite bills that will be submitted again, once again in the hope that the pet project will finally make its way through the process and end up under the President’s pen.

There will be so many bills submitted that it will take weeks for them all to make their way into availability on the GPO web site. Typically I wait until I have a chance to actually read a bill before I announce its introduction here. This year I think I’ll change that out, at least for the month of January and report the bills of potential interest introduced the day before as their titles become available on the Thomas – Library of Congress web site. I will continue to provide my typical summary data of the bills that I think will be of interest to my readers as the text of the bill becomes available on-line.

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