111th Congress comes to a close; new session begins on Jan. 5

December 24, 2010

By Alexander Bolton, The Hill

The House on Wednesday evening passed a motion to adjourn the 111th Congress “Sine Die”, bringing to a close Democrats four-year reign in the lower chamber.

It also ended what has been the most productive lame-duck session in recent memory.

The House received a message informing it of an adjournment resolution passed earlier in the day by the Senate and moved to adjourn by voice vote, marking the end of Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) tenure as Speaker.

A House Democratic aide noted, however, that Pelosi is still Speaker until Jan. 5, when House Republican John Boehner (Ohio) will take the gavel.

The floor was virtually empty except for Reps. Mike Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), Mike Conaway (R-Texas) and a few staffers who offered a round of sporadic applause to mark the occasion.

In the Senate, lawmakers rushed off the floor to catch planes home after casting their final two roll-call votes of the year on New START treaty and the nomination of Mary Helen Murguia to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

Democrats touted the busy lame duck as a fitting end to what they are touting as one of the most productive Congresses in recent history.

“This was, by far, the most productive Congress in American history,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on the Senate floor Wednesday evening. “And the lame-duck session we’re finishing was the most productive of its kind.  Why?  Because we heard the message the American people sent us last month: They don’t want us to sit around and waste their time.  They want us to work together and work for them.”

Senate Democrats and Republicans joined together to pass a string of major accomplishments, including an $858 billion tax relief and unemployment benefits package, repeal of the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and ratification of the New START Treaty.

Reid also ticked off Democrats accomplishments before the midterm election, which include passage of a $787 billion economic stimulus package, sweeping healthcare reform and an overhaul of the financial services industry.

“This lame duck is typical of the Congress, it’s a very productive Congress,” said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, who struck a deal to pass the defense authorization bill Wednesday morning.

To read more, visit: http://thehill.com/homenews/house/134917-111th-congress-comes-to-a-close

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