Congress Schedules Lame Duck Session

The House and Senate have set the schedule for a lame duck session in Congress to begin the week of November 15 — two weeks after election day November 2 — providing a last gasp opportunity to push through more of the Obama/Reid/Pelosi agenda before the new Congress is seated January 3, 2011.

The House is set to return that Monday, November 15, with first votes taking place early evening.  No specific legislation has been publicly determined by the Democrats, only the date and time of first votes and to expect a five-day work week.  The House is then set to break for a week for the Thanksgiving holiday then return to the lame duck session the following week.

The Senate has also adjourned until Monday, November 15.  Immediately before the Senate closed Wednesday night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed cloture on the motion to proceed to three bills upon the Senate’s return:

• S.3815, the Natural Gas and Electric Vehicles Bill

• S.3772, the Paycheck Fairness Bill

• S.510, the Food Safety Bill

According to a senior GOP aide, since Reid filed the cloture petitions simultaneously, the votes will be scheduled under the rules as follows:

• If cloture is invoked on the Natural Gas bill, the Senate would have up to 30-hours of post cloture debate. Upon the adoption of the motion to proceed to S.3815, the Senate would immediately proceed to vote on cloture on the motion to proceed to the Paycheck Fairness bill.

• If cloture were invoked, the Senate would have up to another 30-hours of post cloture debate.  The Senate would then move to proceed to S.3772 then immediately proceed to vote on cloture on the motion to proceed to the Food Safety bill.  If that cloture vote were successful, the Senate would have up to 30 hours more of post-cloture debate, followed by a vote on adopting the motion to proceed to S.510.

• If cloture is not invoked on a given motion to proceed, the Senate will immediately proceed to vote on cloture on the next motion to proceed and would keep doing so until either cloture was invoked or all three votes had failed.  If cloture is not invoked on any of the motions to proceed, it’s unclear at this time what Reid plans to bring up next in the lame duck session.

The Senate will reconvene on Monday, November 15, but the first vote of that work period (cloture on the motion to proceed to the Natural Gas bill) would occur on Wednesday.

As reported on HUMAN EVENTS, the Senate will convene for pro-forma sessions every Monday and Friday during the break to bar any “emergency” recess appointments by the President.
The Senate has also announced plans to return the week of November 29 after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Republicans could pick up as many as three “special election” seats in the Senate on November 2 that would give them 44 seats for a lame duck session.  West Virginia, Illinois and Delaware are each holding special elections that would be seated immediately following the elections. And the GOP candidate is leading in the latest polls in two of the three races.

Republicans currently hold 41 seats in the Senate.  The onus would be on Democrats to cobble together 60 out of a possible 100 votes to break a filibuster on any bill during the lame duck.  Three more seats in the Republican column would make the task much more difficult.