Friday, January 28, 2011

Congress Finalizes Committee Assignments

Yesterday, Senate Democratic and Republican leaders agreed to new committee assignments, completing the 112th Congress’ committee assignments for both the House & Senate. You can find a PDF of the committee assignments here.

Additionally, the Senate reached and adopted a bipartisan compromise last night on changes to the chamber’s rules to speed up the legislative process. Although some Senators had advocated for direct limits to the use of the filibuster, lawmakers instead agreed upon less-controversial reforms to secret holds, confirmations, and the reading of amendments. Under the compromise, secret holds on legislation and nominees will be eliminated, the number of executive branch nominations subject to confirmation will be reduced by about a third, and Senators will no longer be allowed to force chamber clerks to read aloud amendments if those amendments have been posted online for at least 72 hours. Additionally, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) entered into a “gentlemen’s agreement” to reduce the frequency of filibusters of motions to begin consideration of legislation, but this part of the compromise is not backed by any official rule change.

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