Thursday, January 8, 2009

First Legislation of the 111th Congress Introduced

With party leadership elections decided, committee posts assigned, and manufactured controversies coming to an end, Congressional leaders have finally gotten down to the people's business, proceeding with the first step of the legislative process by formally introducing bills. In doing so, Senate Democrats have made their priorities clear. As Congressional Quarterly reports:

As is traditional at the start of a new Congress, all of the bills are mere shells, awaiting legislative language. The stimulus package received the symbolically important designation of S 1, while a health care overhaul was designated as S 4 and climate change legislation as S 5.

A full listing of the first ten bills to be introduced in the Senate is available here.

It is, however, important to note that the top legislative priorities do not necessarily correspond with the first bills to be thrust through the process. Although the exact lineup is still up in the air, insiders speculate that labor and health care reform will come to the fore:

...the House plans to consider several other bills before the new president takes office. The lineup includes an expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), the leftover fiscal 2009 appropriations bills, a “card check” bill sought by labor unions that would eliminate secret-ballot elections before a union could be certified, and legislation to make it easier for women who are paid less than their male counterparts to bring suits against their employers and be compensated, known as the Lilly Ledbetter bill.

Check back here in the coming days and weeks to stay posted on what's happening in Congress.

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