September 2010

Congress Adjourns until Fall with Most Appropriations Bills Unfinished

A Look Ahead

It is highly likely that there will not be floor action on any remaining appropriations bills until after the elections on Nov. 2. This is especially true with the two bills discussed above, Labor/HHS and CJS, as they contain programs that frequently provoke floor fights. Thus, Congress will return after Labor Day and take up only “must pass” legislation, which is likely to be a continuing resolution to fund the government until after the November elections, at which time Congress may return for a lame-duck session to try to wrap up the remaining appropriations bills.

It is not certain that a lame-duck session will occur, however. The politics of such a session would be a very important factor. It appears as though control of the House of Representatives may be “in play,” with at least the possibility existing that the Democrats will lose their majority. (It almost is a foregone conclusion that the Democrats will lose seats.) If this were to occur, the Democrats may try to hold a “lame-duck” session to pass bills that they know they will be unable to pass in the next Congress. The GOP will, of course, stall and delay as much as possible to keep anything controversial from passing prior to the new Congress convening after the new year.

Our prediction: look for an exciting fall, both in terms of politics and substance.

Peter Farnham ( is director of public affairs at ASBMB.

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