The 110th Congress began today, with the Democrats assuming the leadership of both the House and the Senate, and the leaders of both houses preparing to move forward on their near-term agendas.
Homeland security issues will be prominent on the agendas of both the House and the Senate this month, with an initial focus on bills to fully implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations, an issue that I covered in detail in a report last month. The House leadership plans to bring this issue to the floor next Tuesday, January 9th, according to the 100-hours agenda found on the House Majority Leader’s website. A document on the House Rules Committee website notes that this bill will be named H.R 1, but the text of it is not yet available online (I’ll update this post when it is).
Meanwhile in the Senate, new Majority Leader Harry Reid outlined the Senate’s first ten bills, including S. 4, focused on implementing the 9/11 Commission recommendations, and S. 9, focused on comprehensive immigration reform. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing next Tuesday examining the former issue in greater detail, and the Senate Judiciary Committee will be holding a hearing looking at data mining programs and privacy issues next Wednesday.
In related news, the House and Senate committee and leadership websites are facing the challenge of adapting to the shift, a challenge that House IT staffers haven’t previously faced(the last time the House was in Democratic control, the WWW was still in its infancy). For example, if you go to http://hsc.house.gov/, you now land on the former Democratic committee webpage, but all of the links on it still go to their former site, and the Republican site is nowhere to be found. As this transition takes places, hopefully steps will be taken to preserve content from previous Congresses; for example, all of the reports and testimony that were formerly at http://hsc.house.gov are currently not online, making many of my old links inoperative and depriving external researchers and the general public of a valuable resource. Hopefully this will be remedied as the transition moves forward.
Update (1/4): The AP weighs in about the House bill.
Update 2 (1/5): The House HSC Republicans’ website has moved here.