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Sweeping Up

September 28, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

All the news on the Senate these days is about that odd offshoring bill that seemed to be designed to fail, in every respect, and was rejected this afternoon. Less attention is being paid to all the stuff the Senate is actually getting done. For example, they passed 16 bills by unanimous consent last night. That’s a pretty heavy haul for the typically slow-moving, hyper-obstructionist Senate. And there’s even some substantial stuff in there. Take a look:

Passed H.R.553, the Reducing Over-Classification Act, with Lieberman amendment.

Passed H.R.946, the Plain Writing Act of 2010 w/ an Akaka amendment

Passed H.R.3553, the Indian Veterans Housing Opportunity Act of 2010.

Passed H.R.2092, the Kingman and Heritage Islands Act of 2009 w/ committee-reported amendments.

Passed S.1510, US Secret Service Uniformed Division Modernization Act w/ substitute amendment

Concurred in the House Message to accompany S.2868, the Federal Supply Schedules Usage Act of 2010.

Passed H.R.3808, the Interstate Recognition of Notarizations Act of 2010.

Passed H.R.2701, Intelligence Authorization w/ Feinstein-Bond substitute amendment.

Passed S.1338, a bill to require the accreditation of English language training programs and for other purposes.

Passed S.3802, Mount Stevens and Ted Stevens Icefield Designation Act w/ a Murkowski substitute amendment.

Passed S.3847, a bill to implement certain defense trade cooperation treaties and for other purposes.

Passed H.R.2923, the Combat Methamphetamine Enhancement Act.

Adopted S.Res.618, designating October 2010 as “National Work and Family Month.”

Adopted S.Res.649, supporting the goals and ideals of “National Save for Retirement Week.”

Adopted S.Res.650, designating the week of October 24-October 31, 2010, as “National Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week.”

Adopted S.Res.651, recognizing the 20th anniversary of the designation of the month of September 1991 as “National Rice Month.”

When’s the last time you’ve seen an Intelligence Authorization bill passed under unanimous consent? The amazing thing about that is that it passed in the House on a pretty partisan 235-168 vote. It’s not not controversial. In fact it contains, in some form, a provision that’s been the subject of a good deal of debate that would require the President to reveal the government’s covert actions findings to the full House and Senate Intelligence Committees, not just the “Gang of Eight.”

All the Senate bills on this list now go to the House for approval and then off the the President to become law. The House bills either go straight to Obama for his signature or, if amended by the Senate, back to the House for a vote on agreeing to the amendment, or to a joint conference committee to work out the differences between the chambers. At this late date in the congressional session, it’s most likely that the House will simply agree to any changes the Senate has made since a conference committee takes some time and requires another vote from each chamber before it can be sent to Obama.

UPDATE: I should add that this is the kind of stuff that Sen. Jim DeMint’s [R, SC] pledge to “hold” every bill that is not cleared by his office by tonight is going to prevent from passing. The 20 or so major bills the Democrats want to do in the lame-duck session were going to have a hold placed on them by someone anyways. A hold is just an objection to unanimous consent, which has become standard operating procedure in the Senate since the Republicans became the minority party in ‘07. DeMint’s de facto hold on everything means that the Senate wont be able to sweep up bills and pas them quickly like they did last night.

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