The 110th Congress opened for business on January 4, with the Democrats in control of the Senate and the House of Representatives. After the obligatory congratulatory oratory to honor newly elected legislators, Democrats began the process of showing that they can break the previous legislative deadlock by having both parties involved in solving the country’s problems.
Lobbying in the United States
• Controlling earmarking, or “pork” amendments, and restraining lobbyists’ largesse continued to command the attention of lawmakers, and that led to a spate of committee hearings and bills to reduce public concern about lawmakers’ integrity.
— Congress returned from a 10-day break over St. Patrick’s Day but scheduled another recess in mid-April for Easter. Looking ahead, Congress anticipates shutting down shop in October in preparation for the November elections. Time is running out fairly rapidly for the 109th Congress, and it appears that the second session will meet fewer than 130 days.
• Congress recessed for the 4th of July, as it generally does when there is a national holiday, but, before adjourning, lawmakers passed a $94.5 billion emergency spending bill that included funds for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, hurricane recovery on the Gulf coast, a border security plan and avian flu preparedness.