Congress to hold pro forma sessions until November

Rather than being in recess for more than five weeks, both the Senate and the House decided to hold pro forma sessions until after the November elections.

Both chambers will gavel in Tuesday morning for a brief session; typically, legislative business doesn't take place in pro forma sessions. At most members ask to be recognized for a speech, but rarely do.


Shaheen bill would prevent sexual orientation discrimination on juries

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) introduced a bill last Friday to prohibit discrimination in jury selections based on sexual orientation.

The Jury ACCESS (Access for Capable Citizens and Equality in Service Selection) Act would amend federal statute to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” meaning that striking jurors on that basis would be prohibited in federal courts.


Senate sends GOP bills to president's desk

Before leaving for the November elections, the Senate accepted House changes to two bills, ensuring that the legislation is on its way to the president’s desk.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced the Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act, S. 300, and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) introduced the Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act, S. 710.


Senate passes slew of bills, resolutions before adjourning

At 3:30 a.m. Saturday the Senate passed more than 40 bills and resolutions by unanimous consent and voice vote before adjourning for the November elections. 

The legislation ranged in issues from foreign policy in Burma to Federal Drug Administration user fees. A complete list of bills and resolutions passed follows:


Reid calls GOP's bluff, proposes work on defense authorization before adjourning

After months of criticism about the matter, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) proposed taking up the defense authorization act earlier Saturday morning before the Senate adjourned for the elections.

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) objected saying Reid didn’t give GOP member the proper notification that the measure would be called up.


Hatch: Romney's '47 percent' comment was inarticulate, but accurate

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) admitted that presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remark was inarticulate, but he defended the basic premise on the Senate floor Friday.

“He was inarticulate, and he’s said that,” Hatch said. “But he’s right that there are at least 47 percent of people that don’t pay income taxes.”


Graham: Paul's bill would harm Israel

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) bill to cut aid to Egypt, Libya and Pakistan threatens peace in the Middle East for Israel.

Graham said foreign aid to Egypt in particular is crucial to the safety of Israel because of the Camp David Peace Accord.