Friday, March 4, 2011

Final Day for the 61st Congress

Congress today is quickly trying to finish up the current session, the last one of the 61st Congress.  Yesterday, the Senate passed a several appropriation bills, though some not without controversy.  In the General Deficiency Appropriation Bill, $25,000 were assigned to the Senator Lorimer personally for his defense in the recent corruption case.  When the item was read out by the Senate clerk, democrats on the Appropriations Committee immediately became indignant at not knowing that it was in the bill.  Senator Lorimer rose to say that he didn't ask for the money and asked that it be stricken from the bill.

Despite the magnanimous gesture, Senators Culberson, Overman, Martin, and Clarke rose to object further about the appropriation, claiming that the appropriation was planted in the bill to give Lorimer an opportunity to look good by rejecting it and that they had never seen the item in the bill before.  After a lecture by Senator Overman on how to handle appropriation bills, Lorimer's motion was approved unanimously.

In other legislative news, the tariff commission bill looks poised to pass after Democrats in the Senate agreed to back down if the Canadian trade bill were to go down in defeat.  The Canadian Trade Reciprocity Bill had been a major foreign policy measure for the Taft Administration, which would reduce the cost of US goods coming into Canada and would help to reduce standard of living costs in the US.  The tariff commission would be a regulatory body overseeing the tariff rate, which has often been a point of contention in Washington over the last century.  Another measure Congress will take a look at will be New Mexico and Arizona statehood.

With those bills to be taken up by Congress today, the 61st Congress will finish up its work on Capitol Hill.  The 62nd Congress could get started as early as March 15 with a special session.

Link: Scheme to Pay Senator Lorimer Sum of $25,000 [The Washington Herald]
Link: Reciprocity Bill Only is Doomed in Upper House [The Washington Herald]
Link: Special Message on Canadian Reciprocity []

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