Pre-Election Report >>

October 3rd, 2010


After midnight on Thursday, September 30th, the U.S. House of Representatives adjourned for the November 2, 2010, federal elections. Before leaving, the House approved a continuing resolution to fund the government through December 3, 2010, at current spending levels – a measure the U.S. Senate approved approximately 6 hours earlier. At stake in the November 2nd elections are all 435 House seats, and 37 Senate seats. The current makeup of the House is 255 Democrats, and 178 Republicans (2 seats are currently vacant). The Senate currently has a 59-41 Democrat-Republican split. Most signs point to gains for the Republican Caucus in both the House and Senate. Mapetsi will provide a prompt comprehensive post-election report after the elections.

However, before new Members are sworn in for the 112th Congress, the 111th Congress will reconvene for a “lame duck” session after the elections. This session will last at least 2 weeks, beginning the week of November 15 through 19. Congress will then take a one-week recess for the Thanksgiving holiday, and then reconvene for the week of November 29 to December 3. The primary goal for the lame duck session will be passage of a fiscal year 2011 spending bill either in the form of an omnibus appropriations bill or a year-long continuing resolution. In addition, Congress will likely consider extension of President George W. Bush’s tax cuts, the defense reauthorization bill (which currently includes a repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” the Development, Relief and Education for Minors or “DREAM” Act), and an extension of unemployment insurance benefits.

From Indian country’s perspective, this will be a final opportunity this year for Congress to consider passage of legislation to address the Supreme Court’s attack on tribal sovereignty in the Carcieri v. Salazar decision as well as approval of a settlement of the long-standing Cobell litigation. In addition, we are pushing for the Congress to enact appropriations bills or an omnibus instead of a year-long continuing resolution because federal spending for subsequent fiscal years will likely be flat.

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