Monday, December 12, 2016

Senate Completes Final Formal Session of 114th Congress

On Friday, the Senate conducted their final formal session of the 114th Congress. There will be a number of proforma sessions conducted between today and January 3rd, but no business will be conducted during those sessions. In Friday’s session the Senate passed a number of bills in addition to the continuing resolution that I briefly reported upon Saturday. Of those bills two may be of specific interest to readers of this blog:

S 546 was sent to the President for signature as the Senate accepted the House amendment to the bill. As predicted the bill was considered under the Senate’s unanimous consent process with no debate or vote.

The future of HR 710 is less clear as the Senate amended HR 710 (also under the unanimous consent process). This was not the amendment that was included in the report from the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee that I described in May, but new substitute language (pg S7078) introduced on Friday. The general intent and process outlined in the House version of the bill was essentially included in the new language, but numerous details were changed.

The House is scheduled to meet in proforma session today. Unlike the Senate, the House rules do allow for the House to complete actual business in a proforma session, but it does require some serious coordination between the Republican and Democratic leadership. The House originally passed the bill under suspension of the rules by a voice vote, so there was no substantial objection to the bill. That makes this bill one that could potentially be considered in a proforma session, especially since the bill only requires a study and some reports to Congress and spends no new monies.

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