With a 27-second pro forma session this morning, the Senate adjourned, essentially closing the book on the 110th Congress. Such pro forma sessions (when one senator appears to open and immediately close the chamber) are necessary every four days to keep the president from making any interim appointments–a power he has if the Senate is in extended recess.
The 111th Congress will be sworn in at noon on Tuesday, despite a few seats still under debate (Minnesota’s Senate contest between Al Franken and Norm Coleman remains unresolved, and the Blagojevich scandal in Illinois has cast doubt upon his pick of Roland Burris to fill Obama’s vacant Senate seat).
Democrats are looking forward to greater majorities in both the House and Senate for the 111th Congress, hoping that bills like the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act, the Employee Free Choice Act, the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program authorization–all of which stalled or failed with the 110th Congress–might gain traction.
And, of course, the biggest task in front of the 111th Congress will be to develop an economic stimulus plan that will actually stimulate our economy. Given the economic situation, Congress is also prioritizing confirmation hearings for the financial and national security cabinet nominations. It’s expected that confirmation hearings will go fairly smoothly; there have been few objections to any of Obama’s choices.
What issues do you hope to see on the front burner for the 111th Congress when they return on Tuesday? Leave them in the comments.