Difference between revisions of "113th United States Congress"

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{{Cong features vnt}}{{tnr}}<div style="float:right; margin-top: 0.0em; margin-bottom:3px; background-color: #cee0f2; padding: .2em .6em; font-size: 130%; border:1px solid #A3B1BF;"><span style="font-size: larger;font-weight: bold;">&larr;</span> '''[[112th United States Congress|112th Congress]]''' </div>The '''113th United States Congress''' is the current meeting of the [[United States Congress|legislative branch of the United States federal government]], composed of the [[United States Senate|Senate]] and the [[United States House of Representatives|House of Representatives]]. The 113th Congress first convened in Washington, D.C. on January 3, 2013 and will conclude on January 3, 2015. It is the most diverse Congress in the nation's history, owing to a record number of newly elected women and minorities. Six years after House Minority Leader [[Nancy Pelosi]] (D) was elected the first female Speaker, the chamber's Democrats broke ground once again when they swore in 58 women and 72 minorities, making it the first ever congressional caucus from either party or chamber where Caucasian men do not make up the majority.<ref name=113th>[http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/113th-congress-has-more-women-minorities-than-ever/2013/01/03/7d1aaf30-55e5-11e2-8b9e-dd8773594efc_story.html ''The Washington Post,'' "The 113th Congress is the most diverse in history," January 3, 2013]</ref>  
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{{Cong features vnt}}{{tnr}}<div style="float:right; margin-top: 0.0em; margin-bottom:3px; background-color: #cee0f2; padding: .2em .6em; font-size: 130%; border:1px solid #A3B1BF;"><span style="font-size: larger;font-weight: bold;">&larr;</span> '''[[112th United States Congress|112th Congress]]''' </div>The '''113th United States Congress''' is the current meeting of the [[United States Congress|legislative branch of the United States federal government]], composed of the [[United States Senate|Senate]] and the [[United States House of Representatives|House of Representatives]]. The 113th Congress first convened in Washington, D.C. on January 3, 2013, and will conclude on January 3, 2015. It is the most diverse Congress in the nation's history, owing to a record number of newly elected women and minorities. Six years after House Minority Leader [[Nancy Pelosi]] (D) was elected the first female Speaker, the chamber's Democrats broke ground once again when they swore in 58 women and 72 minorities, making it the first ever congressional caucus from either party or chamber where Caucasian men do not make up the majority.<ref name=113th>[http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/113th-congress-has-more-women-minorities-than-ever/2013/01/03/7d1aaf30-55e5-11e2-8b9e-dd8773594efc_story.html ''The Washington Post'', "The 113th Congress is the most diverse in history," January 3, 2013]</ref>  
  
 
New members, including the first Buddhist Senator, first Hindu Rep. and first open bisexual female Rep., were elected on [[United States Congress elections, 2012|November 6, 2012]].<ref name=113th/>
 
New members, including the first Buddhist Senator, first Hindu Rep. and first open bisexual female Rep., were elected on [[United States Congress elections, 2012|November 6, 2012]].<ref name=113th/>
  
The appointments of [[Tim Scott]] and [[Mo Cowan]] mark the first time in United States history where two black senators are serving in the [[United States Senate|U.S. Senate]] at the same time.<ref>[http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2013/01/30/for_the_first_time_ever_we_ll_have_two_black_senators_at_the_same_time.html ''Slate.com'' "For the First Time Ever, We'll Have Two Black Senators Serving at the Same Time," January 30, 2013]</ref>
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The appointments of [[Tim Scott]] and [[Mo Cowan]] mark the first time in United States history where two black senators are serving in the [[United States Senate|U.S. Senate]] at the same time.<ref>[http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2013/01/30/for_the_first_time_ever_we_ll_have_two_black_senators_at_the_same_time.html ''Slate.com'', "For the First Time Ever, We'll Have Two Black Senators Serving at the Same Time," January 30, 2013]</ref>
  
In addition to its diversity, the composition of the 113th Congress is notable for its inexperience. In Feb. 2013, the ''Washington Post'' published a story exploring how the current generation of congressional committee leaders see the dismantlement of traditional lawmaking procedure, and their roles within it, as a consequence of Congress' recent bulge of freshmen members. Reinforcing their theory, the report cited that over one third of House members, and 32 of the Senate's 100 members, have "served two years or less."<ref>[http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/congresss-committee-chairman-push-to-reassert-their-power/2013/02/16/2acb7770-6a6a-11e2-af53-7b2b2a7510a8_story_2.html ''The Washington Post,'' "Congress's committee chairmen push to reassert their power," February 13,  2013]</ref>
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In addition to its diversity, the composition of the 113th Congress is notable for its inexperience. In Feb. 2013, the ''Washington Post'' published a story exploring how the current generation of congressional committee leaders see the dismantlement of traditional lawmaking procedure, and their roles within it, as a consequence of Congress' recent bulge of freshmen members. Reinforcing their theory, the report cited that over one third of House members, and 32 of the Senate's 100 members, have "served two years or less."<ref>[http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/congresss-committee-chairman-push-to-reassert-their-power/2013/02/16/2acb7770-6a6a-11e2-af53-7b2b2a7510a8_story_2.html ''The Washington Post'', "Congress's committee chairmen push to reassert their power," February 13,  2013]</ref>
 
==Events==
 
==Events==
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===2013 Farm bills===
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====House====
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On June 20, 2013, the [[U.S. House|House]] voted down its own version of the massive farm bill that would have set the course of U.S. food policy for the next half-decade.<ref name="farmhouse"/> The House version was 629 pages long, costing approximately $939.5 billion over 10 years.<ref name="farmhouse">[http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/06/20/the-house-is-voting-on-a-940-billion-farm-bill-heres-whats-in-it/ ''Washington Post'', "The House is voting on a $940 billion farm bill. Here’s what’s in it." Accessed June 20, 2013]</ref>
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Members voted down the bill in a 195-234 vote that only won 24 Democratic votes.<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2013/06/farm-bill-vote-house-93119.html ''Politico'', "House Farm bill roll call vote: Who voted against the bill" Accessed June 20, 2013]</ref><ref name="farmhill">[http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/306857-house-rejects-farm-bill-that-cuts-restricts-food-stamp-program ''The Hill'', "House rejects farm bill" Accessed June 20, 2013]</ref> Most [[Democrats]] voted against the bill because it cut food stamp programs by more than $20 billion, while many [[Republicans]] also voted no, saying it was too expensive a bill to pass when the country has $17 trillion in debt.<ref name="farmhill"/> The major items included in the bill are:
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*Food stamps and nutrition: $743.9 billion over 10 years. This is by far the biggest part of the farm bill, with the bulk taken up by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which helps low-income families pay for food.<ref name="farmhouse"/> It’s also the most controversial part of the House version of the farm bill.<ref name="farmhouse"/> The House bill contains a number of restrictions on eligibility and money to combat food-stamp trafficking, and the [[U.S. House|House]] bill cuts food-stamp spending more than $20.5 billion compared to what would happen if current policy was kept in place.<ref name="farmhouse"/> Some Republicans want to restrict spending even further, and have offered several amendments in order to do so, including everything from drug-testing for recipients to creating a “food-stamp registry.”<ref name="farmhouse"/>
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*Commodity programs: $40.1 billion over 10 years. This section includes a variety of programs to shield farmers against sharp fluctuations in prices, particularly corn, wheat, soybean, cotton, rice, peanut, and dairy producers.<ref name="farmhouse"/> In past bills this was an even bigger portion overall, which often provided “direct payments” to farmers regardless of how much they actually planted or how much they would sell their crops for. This latest farm bill would cut most of these direct payments, saving about $18.6 billion over 10 years.<ref name="farmhouse"/> The proposed cuts are arguably the biggest policy change in both the [[U.S. House|House]] and [[U.S. Senate|Senate]] bills, although much of the savings have been channeled into other types of farm aid, including billions of dollars in disaster assistance and subsidized loans for farmers.<ref name="farmhouse"/>
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*Crop insurance: $93 billion over 10 years. For decades, farmers have been able to buy crop insurance in case their crops fail or prices decline.<ref name="farmhouse"/> This is another of the more contentious parts of the farm bill. Some critics have warned that this insurance program could cost far more than expected, depending on how crop prices shift, and the Environmental Working Group has argued that one-third of these subsidies go to the largest 4 percent of farm operators. Some [[U.S. House|House]] [[Republicans]] have offered amendments to cut the insurance program further.<ref name="farmhouse"/>
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*Conservation: $56.7 billion over 10 years. This includes programs to help farmers protect against soil erosion and to use ecologically friendly methods like drop irrigation. It also includes programs that pay farmers to grow on less land.<ref name="farmhouse"/>
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*Trade: $3.6 billion over 10 years. This money is used to promote U.S. crops overseas and provide food aid abroad. The government also offers some technical assistance to farmers in developing countries.<ref name="farmhouse"/>
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*Energy: $243 million over 10 years. This includes money for biofuels as well as for energy-efficiency programs in rural areas. It also provides funding to help develop biochemicals and bioplastics industries, in an attempt to reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels.<ref name="farmhouse"/>
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*Miscellaneous: approximately $1.5 billion over 10 years. This includes everything from forestry programs to rural development to research and development. There are programs for promoting farmers markets, selling off timber on federal lands, and even research into organic agriculture and citrus diseases. The Senate bill would create a new R&D agency akin to the National Institutes of Health.
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====Senate====
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On June 10, 2013, the [[U.S. Senate|Senate]] voted 66 to 27 to approve a farm bill that is expected to help set the course of U.S. food policy. The old farm bill expired in 2012, and the new [[U.S. Senate|Senate]] farm bill is 1,150 pages long, costing approximately $955 billion over 10 years.<ref name="farmsenate">[http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/06/10/the-senate-is-voting-on-a-955-billion-farm-bill-heres-whats-in-it/ ''Washington Post'', "The Senate is voting on a $955 billion farm bill. Here’s what’s in it." Accessed June 20, 2013]</ref> The major items included in the bill are:
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*Food stamps and nutrition: $760.5 billion over 10 years. This is again by far the biggest part of the farm bill, with the bulk taken up by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which helps low-income families pay for food<ref name="farmsenate"/> The [[U.S. Senate|Senate]] bill tweaks some of the rules governing eligibility and cut spending slightly by $3.9 billion compared to what would happen if current policy was kept.<ref name="farmsenate"/> The bill also includes a controversial amendment by [[David Vitter]] (R) of [[Louisiana]]] to ban anyone convicted of a violent crime from food stamps for life.<ref name="farmsenate"/> The [[U.S. House|House]] bill makes deeper cuts here, reducing food-stamp payments by $20.5 billion over 10 years compared to current policy.<ref name="farmsenate"/>
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*Commodity programs: $41.3 billion over 10 years. This section includes a variety of programs to shield farmers against sharp fluctuations in prices, particularly corn, wheat, soybean, cotton, rice, peanut, and dairy producers. This latest farm bill would cut most of these direct payments, saving about $17.44 billion over 10 years.<ref name="farmsenate"/>
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*Crop insurance: $89 billion over 10 years. For decades, farmers have been able to buy crop insurance in case their crops fail or prices decline. Under the new [[U.S. Senate|Senate]] farm bill, the government would also spend an additional $5 billion per year covering the deductibles that farmers have to pay before the insurance kicks in. This is supposed to help cushion the blow from the loss of direct payments.<ref name="farmsenate"/> This is one of the more contentious parts of the farm bill and some critics have warned that this insurance program could cost far more than expected.<ref name="farmsenate"/> In response, the [[U.S. Senate|Senate]] added a slight change to shrink subsidies for farmers earning more than $750,000 per year.<ref name="farmsenate"/>
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*Conservation: $58 billion over 10 years. This includes programs to help farmers protect against soil erosion and to use ecologically friendly methods like drop irrigation. It also includes programs that pay farmers to grow on less land.<ref name="farmsenate"/> According to a Congressional Budget Office analysis, this part of the farm bill was cut by about $3.5 billion, in part because the government will be supervising a smaller total area.<ref name="farmsenate"/>
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*Trade: $3.6 billion over 10 years. This money is used to promote U.S. crops overseas and provide food aid abroad. The government also offers some technical assistance to farmers in developing countries.<ref name="farmsenate"/> President Obama had earlier called for an overhaul of the food aid program, where instead of buying food from U.S. farmers and shipping it overseas some of the money would just be sent directly to poor countries.<ref name="farmsenate"/>The [[U.S. Senate|Senate]] ended up keeping the food-aid program intact, albeit with an extra $60 million to buy food locally in developing countries.<ref name="farmsenate"/>
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*Energy: $1.1 billion over 10 years. This includes money for biofuels as well as for energy-efficiency programs in rural areas. It also provides funding to help develop biochemicals and bioplastics industries, in an attempt to reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels.<ref name="farmsenate"/>
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*Miscellaneous, about $1.1 billion over 10 years. This includes everything from forestry programs to rural development to research and development. There are programs for promoting farmers markets, selling off timber on federal lands, and even research into organic agriculture and citrus diseases. The Senate bill would create a new R&D agency akin to the National Institutes of Health.<ref name="farmsenate"/>
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====Comparing the bills====
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Compared with the [[U.S. Senate|Senate]] bill, the [[U.S. House|House]] bill had less money designated for food stamps and nutrition.<ref name="farmsenate"/><ref name="farmhouse"/> There was also somewhat less money for conservation, slightly deeper cuts to commodity payments, and a bit more money for crop insurance, due to a number of different rules used to calculate payments.<ref name="farmsenate"/><ref name="farmhouse"/><ref>[http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43076.pdf ''Congressional Research Service'' "The 2013 Farm Bill: A Comparison of the Senate-Passed Bill (S. 954) and House-Reported Bill (H.R. 1947) with Current Law" Accessed June 20, 2013]</ref>
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===House vote on abortion ban===
 
===House vote on abortion ban===
On June 18, 2013 the [[U.S. House|House]] voted 228-196 to approve a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.<ref name="abortionvote">[http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2013/roll251.xml ''U.S. House'' "June 18 Roll Call Vote" Accessed June 20, 2013]</ref> A number of members crossed over party lines in their votes. Some of the notable votes included:  
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On June 18, 2013, the [[U.S. House|House]] voted 228-196, mostly along party lines, to approve a ban on late-term abortions, or abortions occurring after 20 weeks of pregnancy<ref>[http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/06/18/house-passes-late-term-abortion-ban/ ''CNN'' "House passes late term abortion ban" Accessed June 20, 2013]</ref><ref name="abortionvote">[http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2013/roll251.xml ''U.S. House'' "June 18 Roll Call Vote" Accessed June 20, 2013]</ref> A number of members crossed over party lines in their votes. The vote was largely symbolic as the bill is not expected to be taken up in the [[U.S. Senate|Senate]] and the White House has threatened to veto the legislation.<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2013/06/house-debating-tough-anti-abortion-bill-93011.html ''Politico'', "House OKs 20-week abortion ban bill" Accessed June 20, 2013]</ref> Some of the notable votes included:
  
 
{{reddot}}Republicans who voted against:
 
{{reddot}}Republicans who voted against:
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*[[Charlie Dent]]
 
*[[Charlie Dent]]
  
'''Note:''' [[U.S. House|Reps.]] [[Rob Woodall|Woodall]] and [[Paul Broun|Broun]] were opposed because they felt the bill did not go far enough and left exceptions to the ban.<ref name="abortionvote"/><ref>[http://www.examiner.com/article/two-georgia-republicans-voted-against-abortion-ban ''Examiner'' "Two Georgia Republicans voted against abortion ban (Video)" Accessed June 20, 2013]</ref>
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'''Note:''' [[U.S. House|Reps.]] [[Rob Woodall|Woodall]] and [[Paul Broun|Broun]] were opposed because they felt the bill did not go far enough and left exceptions to the ban.<ref name="abortionvote"/><ref>[http://www.examiner.com/article/two-georgia-republicans-voted-against-abortion-ban ''Examiner'', "Two Georgia Republicans voted against abortion ban (Video)" Accessed June 20, 2013]</ref>
 
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{{bluedot}}Democrats who voted in favor:
 
{{bluedot}}Democrats who voted in favor:
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*[[Jim Matheson]]
 
*[[Jim Matheson]]
 
*[[Nick Rahall]]
 
*[[Nick Rahall]]
 
  
 
===2013 Budget Proposals===
 
===2013 Budget Proposals===
 
====Paul Ryan Budget Plan====
 
====Paul Ryan Budget Plan====
In March 2013 the [[Republican]] controlled [[U.S. House|House]] passed the budget proposal set out by [[Wisconsin]] Rep. [[Paul Ryan]] (R) for the third straight year.<ref name="post"/> However, not all [[Republican]] representatives voted in favor of the proposal.<ref name="post"/> 10 Republican [[U.S. House|Representatives]] voted against [[Paul Ryan|Ryan's]] budget proposal.<ref name="post">[http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/03/21/10-house-republicans-vote-against-ryan-budget/ ''Washington Post'' "10 House Republicans Vote Against Ryan Budget" Accessed March 22, 2013]</ref> The 10 [[Republican]] [[U.S. House|Representatives]] included  [[Justin Amash]], [[Paul Broun]], [[Rick Crawford]], [[Randy Forbes]], [[Chris Gibson]], [[Phil Gingrey]], [[Joe Heck]], [[Walter Jones]], [[Tom Massie]] and [[David McKinley]].
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In March 2013 the [[Republican]] controlled [[U.S. House|House]] passed the budget proposal set out by [[Wisconsin]] Rep. [[Paul Ryan]] (R) for the third straight year.<ref name="post"/> However, not all [[Republican]] representatives voted in favor of the proposal.<ref name="post"/> 10 Republican [[U.S. House|Representatives]] voted against [[Paul Ryan|Ryan's]] budget proposal.<ref name="post">[http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/03/21/10-house-republicans-vote-against-ryan-budget/ ''Washington Post'', "10 House Republicans Vote Against Ryan Budget" Accessed March 22, 2013]</ref> The 10 [[Republican]] [[U.S. House|Representatives]] included  [[Justin Amash]], [[Paul Broun]], [[Rick Crawford]], [[Randy Forbes]], [[Chris Gibson]], [[Phil Gingrey]], [[Joe Heck]], [[Walter Jones]], [[Tom Massie]] and [[David McKinley]].
  
The proposal was killed after being voted down in the [[U.S. Senate]] with a 40-59 vote.<ref name="cbs">[http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57575731/senate-rejects-paul-ryan-budget/ ''CBS News'' "Senate Rejects Paul Ryan Budget" Accessed March 22, 2013]</ref>  
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The proposal was killed after being voted down in the [[United States Senate|U.S. Senate]] with a 40-59 vote.<ref name="cbs">[http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57575731/senate-rejects-paul-ryan-budget/ ''CBS News'' "Senate Rejects Paul Ryan Budget" Accessed March 22, 2013]</ref>  
  
 
The proposal would have cut about $5 trillion over the next decade and aimed to balance the budget by the end of the 10-year period.<ref name="post"/> The 2013 bill had opposition from 10 Republicans — the same number that voted against it in 2012. In 2011 only four Republicans cast a vote in opposition.<ref name="post"/> Democrats have unanimously voted against the bill every year.<ref name="post"/>
 
The proposal would have cut about $5 trillion over the next decade and aimed to balance the budget by the end of the 10-year period.<ref name="post"/> The 2013 bill had opposition from 10 Republicans — the same number that voted against it in 2012. In 2011 only four Republicans cast a vote in opposition.<ref name="post"/> Democrats have unanimously voted against the bill every year.<ref name="post"/>
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The [[U.S. Senate|Senate]] plan differs greatly, and includes $100 billion in upfront infrastructure spending to bolster the economy and calls for special fast-track rules to overhaul the tax code and raise $975 billion over 10 years in legislation that could not be filibustered. Even with that tax increase and prescribed spending cuts, the plan approved by the [[U.S. Senate|Senate]] would leave the government with a $566 billion annual deficit in 10 years, and $5.2 trillion in additional debt over that window.<ref name="times"/><noinclude>[[Category:Congress templates]]</noinclude>
 
The [[U.S. Senate|Senate]] plan differs greatly, and includes $100 billion in upfront infrastructure spending to bolster the economy and calls for special fast-track rules to overhaul the tax code and raise $975 billion over 10 years in legislation that could not be filibustered. Even with that tax increase and prescribed spending cuts, the plan approved by the [[U.S. Senate|Senate]] would leave the government with a $566 billion annual deficit in 10 years, and $5.2 trillion in additional debt over that window.<ref name="times"/><noinclude>[[Category:Congress templates]]</noinclude>
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===September 2013 budget fight===
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: ''Please see: [[United States budget debate, 2013]]''
  
 
===March 2013 filibuster===
 
===March 2013 filibuster===
 
::''See also: [[Rand Paul filibuster of John Brennan's CIA Nomination in March 2013]]''
 
::''See also: [[Rand Paul filibuster of John Brennan's CIA Nomination in March 2013]]''
“I rise today to begin to [[filibuster]] John Brennan’s nomination for the CIA. I will speak until I can no longer speak,”<ref>[http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/mar/6/rand-paul-filibusters-brennan-nomination-cia-direc/#ixzz2MseqAlnj ''Washingtontimes.com''"After almost 13 hours, Rand Paul ends Brennan filibuster" March 7, 2013]</ref> With these words Sen. [[Rand Paul]] initiated a [[filibuster]] to delay the senate vote on the confirmation of the President's nominee to the head of the CIA and to draw attention to the questions surrounding the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or "drones" by the executive branch. Paul began speaking shortly before noon on Wednesday and continued to speak for 12 hours and 52 minutes, which marks his speech as the 9th longest [[filibuster]] in the history of the Senate.<ref>[http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/06/rand-paul-does-not-go-quietly-into-the-night/ ''NYTimes.com'' Republicans, Led by Rand Paul, Finally End Filibuster March 7, 2013]</ref> When asked why this sort of event does not occur more frequently, Paul explained that since who speaks on the Senate floor is decided by the leadership of the Senate, it's often difficult to begin a traditional filibuster. "One of the reasons filibusters don't occur is because they carefully guard the floor from letting it happen. And it was left unguarded," he said,"We had no plan and I had the wrong shoes on, my feet were hurting the whole day," <ref>[http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/07/rand-paul-says-hes-heard-from-white-house-after-filibuster/comment-page-3/ '''CNN Poliitical ticker ''' "Rand Paul on filibuster: 'We had no plan March 7, 2013]</ref>
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“I rise today to begin to [[filibuster]] John Brennan’s nomination for the CIA. I will speak until I can no longer speak,”<ref>[http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/mar/6/rand-paul-filibusters-brennan-nomination-cia-direc/#ixzz2MseqAlnj ''Washingtontimes.com''"After almost 13 hours, Rand Paul ends Brennan filibuster" March 7, 2013]</ref> With these words Sen. [[Rand Paul]] initiated a [[filibuster]] to delay the senate vote on the confirmation of the President's nominee to the head of the CIA and to draw attention to the questions surrounding the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or "drones" by the executive branch. Paul began speaking shortly before noon on Wednesday and continued to speak for 12 hours and 52 minutes, which marks his speech as the 9th longest [[filibuster]] in the history of the Senate.<ref>[http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/06/rand-paul-does-not-go-quietly-into-the-night/ ''NYTimes.com'' Republicans, Led by Rand Paul, Finally End Filibuster March 7, 2013]</ref> When asked why this sort of event does not occur more frequently, Paul explained that since who speaks on the Senate floor is decided by the leadership of the Senate, it's often difficult to begin a traditional filibuster. "One of the reasons filibusters don't occur is because they carefully guard the floor from letting it happen. And it was left unguarded," he said,"We had no plan and I had the wrong shoes on, my feet were hurting the whole day,"<ref>[http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/07/rand-paul-says-hes-heard-from-white-house-after-filibuster/comment-page-3/ '''CNN Poliitical ticker ''' "Rand Paul on filibuster: 'We had no plan March 7, 2013]</ref>
  
The main topic of Paul's speech was the use of drones as a means of attacking American citizens on U.S. soil, asking "Your notification is the buzz of propellers on the drone as it flies overhead in the seconds before you're killed. Is that what we really want from our government?" <ref>[http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/03/07/historic-filibuster-renews-bipartisan-focus-on-drones-regulation/#ixzz2MsaUqGt7 ''FoxNews.com'' "Sen. Paul declares 'victory' after Holder offers assurance on drones" March 2013]</ref>. Paul protested the lack of transparency in the drone program, asking "What will be the standard for how we kill Americans in America?... Could political dissent be part of the standard for drone strikes?"<ref>[http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/06/rand-paul-does-not-go-quietly-into-the-night/ NYTimes.com "Republicans, Led by Rand Paul, Finally End Filibuster March 7,2013]</ref> Paul questioned the President's refusal to state publicly that such strikes would not be used against citizens on U.S. soil saying, "[Obama] says trust him because he hasn’t done it yet. He says he doesn’t intend to do so, but he might. Mr. President, that’s not good enough . . . so I’ve come here to speak for as long as I can to draw attention to something that I find to really be very disturbing.”<ref>[http://washingtonexaminer.com/rand-paul-filibustering-over-drones-i-will-not-let-obama-shred-the-constitution/article/2523425 ''Washingtonexaminer.com'' "Rand Paul filibustering over drones: I will not let Obama ‘shred the Constitution’" March 7, 2013]</ref> Paul concluded his remarks asking for his counterparts on the other side of the aisle to join him in his efforts to obtain clarification from the president.<ref>[http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/03/07/rand-paul-filibuster-longest-senate-thurmond/1970291/ ''USA Today'' "Rand Paul filibuster ranks among Senate's longest" March 7, 2013]</ref>
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The main topic of Paul's speech was the use of drones as a means of attacking American citizens on U.S. soil, asking "Your notification is the buzz of propellers on the drone as it flies overhead in the seconds before you're killed. Is that what we really want from our government?"<ref>[http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/03/07/historic-filibuster-renews-bipartisan-focus-on-drones-regulation/#ixzz2MsaUqGt7 ''FoxNews.com'', "Sen. Paul declares 'victory' after Holder offers assurance on drones" March 2013]</ref>. Paul protested the lack of transparency in the drone program, asking "What will be the standard for how we kill Americans in America?... Could political dissent be part of the standard for drone strikes?"<ref>[http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/06/rand-paul-does-not-go-quietly-into-the-night/ NYTimes.com "Republicans, Led by Rand Paul, Finally End Filibuster March 7,2013]</ref> Paul questioned the President's refusal to state publicly that such strikes would not be used against citizens on U.S. soil saying, "[Obama] says trust him because he hasn’t done it yet. He says he doesn’t intend to do so, but he might. Mr. President, that’s not good enough . . . so I’ve come here to speak for as long as I can to draw attention to something that I find to really be very disturbing.”<ref>[http://washingtonexaminer.com/rand-paul-filibustering-over-drones-i-will-not-let-obama-shred-the-constitution/article/2523425 ''Washingtonexaminer.com'', "Rand Paul filibustering over drones: I will not let Obama ‘shred the Constitution’" March 7, 2013]</ref> Paul concluded his remarks asking for his counterparts on the other side of the aisle to join him in his efforts to obtain clarification from the president.<ref>[http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/03/07/rand-paul-filibuster-longest-senate-thurmond/1970291/ ''USA Today'', "Rand Paul filibuster ranks among Senate's longest" March 7, 2013]</ref>
  
A total of 14 senators joined Paul in the [[filibuster]] -- 13 Republicans and one Democrat.<ref>[http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/07/rand-paul-says-hes-heard-from-white-house-after-filibuster/ ''CNN'' "Rand Paul says he's heard from White House after filibuster," March 7, 2013]</ref><ref>[http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/03/07/rand-paul-filibuster-longest-senate-thurmond/1970291/ ''USA Today'' "Rand Paul filibuster ranks among Senate's longest," March 7, 2013]</ref><ref>[http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/03/rand-paul-wins-applause-from-gop-and-liberals/ ''ABC News'' "Rand Paul Wins Applause From GOP and Liberals," March 7, 2013]</ref> According to the website ''Breitbart'', 30 Republican senators did not support the filibuster.<ref>[http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/03/07/GOP-Senators-Who-Did-Not-Stand-With-Rand ''Breitbart'' "AWOL: Meet The GOP Senators Who Refused to Stand With Rand," March 7, 2013]</ref><ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2013/03/john-mccain-lindsey-graham-blast-rand-paul-filibuster-88564.html?hp=l3 ''Politico'' "Rand Paul filibuster blasted by Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham," March 7, 2013]</ref>
+
A total of 14 senators joined Paul in the [[filibuster]] -- 13 Republicans and one Democrat.<ref>[http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/07/rand-paul-says-hes-heard-from-white-house-after-filibuster/ ''CNN'' "Rand Paul says he's heard from White House after filibuster," March 7, 2013]</ref><ref>[http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/03/07/rand-paul-filibuster-longest-senate-thurmond/1970291/ ''USA Today'', "Rand Paul filibuster ranks among Senate's longest," March 7, 2013]</ref><ref>[http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/03/rand-paul-wins-applause-from-gop-and-liberals/ ''ABC News'' "Rand Paul Wins Applause From GOP and Liberals," March 7, 2013]</ref> According to the website ''Breitbart'', 30 Republican senators did not support the filibuster.<ref>[http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/03/07/GOP-Senators-Who-Did-Not-Stand-With-Rand ''Breitbart'', "AWOL: Meet The GOP Senators Who Refused to Stand With Rand," March 7, 2013]</ref><ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2013/03/john-mccain-lindsey-graham-blast-rand-paul-filibuster-88564.html?hp=l3 ''Politico'', "Rand Paul filibuster blasted by Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham," March 7, 2013]</ref>
The day after the filibuster, Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to [[Rand Paul|Paul]], responding to the filibuster. Holder wrote, "Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on U.S. soil? The answer to that is no."<ref>[http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/03/07/white-house-obama-would-not-use-drones-against-u-s-citizens-on-american-soil/ ''Washington Post'' "Eric Holder responds to Rand Paul with ‘no’," March 7, 2013]</ref>
+
The day after the filibuster, Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to [[Rand Paul|Paul]], responding to the filibuster. Holder wrote, "Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on U.S. soil? The answer to that is no."<ref>[http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/03/07/white-house-obama-would-not-use-drones-against-u-s-citizens-on-american-soil/ ''Washington Post'', "Eric Holder responds to Rand Paul with ‘no’," March 7, 2013]</ref>
 +
 
 +
==="Nuclear option" for nominees===
 +
On November 21, 2013, Senate Majority Leader [[Harry Reid]] invoked the "nuclear option" in the [[United States Senate|Senate]].  The "nuclear option" is using an interpretation of Senate procedure to be able to change chamber rules with a simple majority vote.  In this case, the option was used to change the vote requirement for executive nominee [[Appointment confirmation process|confirmations]] to be considered on the floor.<ref name="Politico">[http://www.politico.com/story/2013/11/harry-reid-nuclear-option-100199.html ''Politico'', "Senate goes for 'nuclear option'," November 21, 2013]</ref>  Prior to the rule change, Senators could filibuster until a cloture motion requiring 60 votes was passed in the chamber. The "nuclear option" changed the requirement to a simple majority. The threat of the "nuclear option" occurred in many Congresses, but none had put the option into use.<ref name="wapo"/>
 +
 
 +
The "nuclear option" was invoked in response to Senate Republicans blocking the nomination of three D.C. Circuit Court judges. The rule change passed by a vote of 52-48, with [[Carl Levin]], [[Joe Manchin]] and [[Mark Pryor]] being the only Democrats to vote in opposition. According to the Congressional Research Service, of the 67 times between 1967 and 2012 the filibuster was used on a judicial nominee, 31 have been during during the Obama administration.<ref name="wapo">[http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/senate-poised-to-limit-filibusters-in-party-line-vote-that-would-alter-centuries-of-precedent/2013/11/21/d065cfe8-52b6-11e3-9fe0-fd2ca728e67c_story.html ''Washington Post'', "Reid, Democrats trigger 'nuclear' option; eliminate most filibusters on nominees," November 21, 2013]</ref>
 +
 
 +
The change in rules does not apply to legislation or Supreme Court nominees.<ref name="Politico"/>
  
 
==Leadership==
 
==Leadership==
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====Speaker of the House Election====
 
====Speaker of the House Election====
During the 113th Congress swearing in ceremony and election for Speaker of the House, Ohio representative and Speaker of the 112th Congress [[John Boehner]] (R) saw nine [[Republican]] members of congress either vote for someone else or abstain and vote present. This is a change from the Speaker election in 2010, where Boehner received votes from the entire 241 member Republican caucus. Boehner won re-election to the speakership with 220 votes. He needed a majority of members voting, which would be 214 of the 426 who voted. Former Speaker and California representative [[Nancy Pelosi]] (D) in turn received 192 votes.<ref name="thehill">[http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/275419-boehner-re-elected-speaker-with-some-gop-defections ''The Hill'' "Boehner reelected as Speaker; nine Republicans defect in vote," January 3, 2013]</ref>
+
During the 113th Congress swearing in ceremony and election for Speaker of the House, Ohio representative and Speaker of the 112th Congress [[John Boehner]] (R) saw nine [[Republican]] members of congress either vote for someone else or abstain and vote present. This is a change from the Speaker election in 2010, where Boehner received votes from the entire 241 member Republican caucus. Boehner won re-election to the speakership with 220 votes. He needed a majority of members voting, which would be 214 of the 426 who voted. Former Speaker and California representative [[Nancy Pelosi]] (D) in turn received 192 votes.<ref name="thehill">[http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/275419-boehner-re-elected-speaker-with-some-gop-defections ''The Hill'', "Boehner re-elected as Speaker; nine Republicans defect in vote," January 3, 2013]</ref>
  
The nine [[Republican]] members who voted for someone other than Boehner include: [[Justin Amash]], [[Steve Pearce]], [[Jim Bridenstine]], [[Ted Yoho]], [[Paul Broun]], [[Louie Gohmert]], [[Walter Jones]], [[Thomas Massie]] and [[Tim Huelskamp]]. Not all members who voted for someone other the Boehner or Pelosi voted for a current member of the U.S. House. Outgoing member [[Allen West]], former Comptroller General David Walker, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell all received votes.<ref name="thehill"/> This highlights the fact that the speaker does not have to be a member of the U.S. House, although all previous speakers have been.<ref>[http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/memberfaq.aspx ''Office of the Clerk'' "House Leadership & Officers," accessed January 3, 2013]</ref>
+
The nine [[Republican]] members who voted for someone other than Boehner include: [[Justin Amash]], [[Steve Pearce]], [[Jim Bridenstine]], [[Ted Yoho]], [[Paul Broun]], [[Louie Gohmert]], [[Walter Jones]], [[Thomas Massie]] and [[Tim Huelskamp]]. Not all members who voted for someone other the Boehner or Pelosi voted for a current member of the U.S. House. Outgoing member [[Allen West]], former Comptroller General David Walker, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell all received votes.<ref name="thehill"/> This highlights the fact that the speaker does not have to be a member of the U.S. House, although all previous speakers have been.<ref>[http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/memberfaq.aspx ''Office of the Clerk'', "House Leadership & Officers," accessed January 3, 2013]</ref>
  
 
Following the vote, the leadership of the [[U.S. House of Representatives]] remained the same as it was in the [[112th United States Congress]].
 
Following the vote, the leadership of the [[U.S. House of Representatives]] remained the same as it was in the [[112th United States Congress]].
Line 151: Line 199:
  
 
* [[United States congressional delegations from Florida|Florida]] delegation
 
* [[United States congressional delegations from Florida|Florida]] delegation
** {{reddot}} [[Daniel Webster (Florida)|Daniel Webster]], [[Florida's 10th congressional district|Florida, District 10]]; first elected in 2010
+
** {{reddot}} [[Daniel Webster (Florida)|Daniel Webster]], [[Florida's 10th Congressional District|Florida, District 10]]; first elected in 2010
** {{bluedot}} [[Alan Grayson]], [[Florida's 9th congressional district|Florida, District 9]]; he was unseated by Webster in 2010, but won election back to the U.S. House in 2012
+
** {{bluedot}} [[Alan Grayson]], [[Florida's 9th Congressional District|Florida, District 9]]; he was unseated by Webster in 2010, but won election back to the U.S. House in 2012
  
 
* [[United States congressional delegations from Illinois|Illinois]] delegation
 
* [[United States congressional delegations from Illinois|Illinois]] delegation
** {{reddot}} [[Randy Hultgren]], [[Illinois' 14th congressional district|Illinois, District 14]]; first elected in 2010
+
** {{reddot}} [[Randy Hultgren]], [[Illinois' 14th Congressional District|Illinois, District 14]]; first elected in 2010
** {{bluedot}} [[Bill Foster]], [[Illinois' 11th congressional district|Illinois, District 11]]; he was unseated by Hultgren in 2010, but won election back to the U.S. House in 2012
+
** {{bluedot}} [[Bill Foster]], [[Illinois' 11th Congressional District|Illinois, District 11]]; he was unseated by Hultgren in 2010, but won election back to the U.S. House in 2012
  
 
* [[United States congressional delegations from Nevada|Nevada]] delegation
 
* [[United States congressional delegations from Nevada|Nevada]] delegation
** {{reddot}} [[Joe Heck]], [[Nevada's 3rd congressional district|Nevada, District 3]]; first elected in 2010
+
** {{reddot}} [[Joe Heck]], [[Nevada's 3rd Congressional District|Nevada, District 3]]; first elected in 2010
** {{bluedot}} [[Dina Titus]], [[Nevada's 1st congressional district|Nevada, District 1]]; was unseated by Heck in 2010, but won election back to the U.S. House in 2012
+
** {{bluedot}} [[Dina Titus]], [[Nevada's 1st Congressional District|Nevada, District 1]]; was unseated by Heck in 2010, but won election back to the U.S. House in 2012
  
 
*[[United States congressional delegations from Washington|Washington]] delegation
 
*[[United States congressional delegations from Washington|Washington]] delegation
** {{reddot}} [[Jaime Herrera Beutler]], [[Washington's 3rd congressional district|Washington, District 3]]; first elected in 2010
+
** {{reddot}} [[Jaime Herrera Beutler]], [[Washington's 3rd Congressional District|Washington, District 3]]; first elected in 2010
** {{bluedot}} [[Denny Heck]], [[Washington's 10th congressional district|Washington, District 10]]; ran in 2010 and lost to Beutler, but won election to the U.S. House in 2012
+
** {{bluedot}} [[Denny Heck]], [[Washington's 10th Congressional District|Washington, District 10]]; ran in 2010 and lost to Beutler, but won election to the U.S. House in 2012
  
 
===Lobbying positions after leaving office===
 
===Lobbying positions after leaving office===
 
In March 2013 ''USA Today'' compiled a list of sixteen former lawmakers who took on a lobbying related positions after leaving office.<ref name="usa"/> Included on the list were [[Steven C. LaTourette]], [[Jo Ann Emerson]], [[Denny Rehberg]], [[Howard Berman]], [[Scott Brown]], [[Kathy Hochul]], [[Jon Kyl]] and [[Joe Lieberman]].<ref name="usa"/> The 16 former lawmakers were out of the 98 total lawmakers who have retired or were ousted by voters since January 2011 hold lobbying-related jobs.<ref name="usa"/> ''USA Today'' looked at lawmakers who retired, resigned or lost their seats in the last Congress — along with the handful who left their posts during the first months of the new 113th Congress.<ref name="usa"/>
 
In March 2013 ''USA Today'' compiled a list of sixteen former lawmakers who took on a lobbying related positions after leaving office.<ref name="usa"/> Included on the list were [[Steven C. LaTourette]], [[Jo Ann Emerson]], [[Denny Rehberg]], [[Howard Berman]], [[Scott Brown]], [[Kathy Hochul]], [[Jon Kyl]] and [[Joe Lieberman]].<ref name="usa"/> The 16 former lawmakers were out of the 98 total lawmakers who have retired or were ousted by voters since January 2011 hold lobbying-related jobs.<ref name="usa"/> ''USA Today'' looked at lawmakers who retired, resigned or lost their seats in the last Congress — along with the handful who left their posts during the first months of the new 113th Congress.<ref name="usa"/>
  
Despite rules in place to prevent the constant rotation of lawmakers into lobbying positions, 16 former lawmakers have recently entered into positions with either lobbying firms or trade associations.<ref name="usa">[http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/03/25/former-lawmakers-lobbying-jobs/2011325/ ''USA Today'' "Former lawmakers lobbying jobs" Accessed March 27, 2013]</ref> Former [[U.S. House|House]] members are barred from lobbying their former colleagues for a year, and former [[U.S. Senate|senators]], are barred for two years.<ref name="usa"/>  
+
Despite rules in place to prevent the constant rotation of lawmakers into lobbying positions, 16 former lawmakers have recently entered into positions with either lobbying firms or trade associations.<ref name="usa">[http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/03/25/former-lawmakers-lobbying-jobs/2011325/ ''USA Today'', "Former lawmakers lobbying jobs" Accessed March 27, 2013]</ref> Former [[U.S. House|House]] members are barred from lobbying their former colleagues for a year, and former [[U.S. Senate|senators]], are barred for two years.<ref name="usa"/>  
  
 
There are no restrictions, however, on providing behind-the-scenes advice to corporations and others seeking to shape federal legislation.<ref name="usa"/> Ex-lawmakers can immediately lobby the executive branch and officials in state and local governments.<ref name="usa"/> Many former lawmakers are taking advantage of this slight distinction, and are taking positions after their political careers end as consultants and strategists.<ref name="usa"/>
 
There are no restrictions, however, on providing behind-the-scenes advice to corporations and others seeking to shape federal legislation.<ref name="usa"/> Ex-lawmakers can immediately lobby the executive branch and officials in state and local governments.<ref name="usa"/> Many former lawmakers are taking advantage of this slight distinction, and are taking positions after their political careers end as consultants and strategists.<ref name="usa"/>
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{{congress}}
 
{{congress}}
 
[[Category:Sessions of Congress]]
 
[[Category:Sessions of Congress]]
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[[Category:Unique congress pages]]

Revision as of 07:50, 6 May 2014

Portal:Congress
Features of Congress

Background
Federal Election CommissionDemocratic Congressional Campaign CommitteeNational Republican Congressional CommitteeFiling requirements for congressional candidatesClasses of United States SenatorsFilling vacancies in the U.S. SenatePresident Pro Tempore of the SenateUnited States Speaker of the HouseFilibuster

Sessions
113th Congress112th Congress111th Congress110th Congress

Analysis
Lifetime voting recordsNet worth of United States Senators and RepresentativesStaff salaries of United States Senators and RepresentativesNational Journal vote ratings
112th Congress
The 113th United States Congress is the current meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The 113th Congress first convened in Washington, D.C. on January 3, 2013, and will conclude on January 3, 2015. It is the most diverse Congress in the nation's history, owing to a record number of newly elected women and minorities. Six years after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) was elected the first female Speaker, the chamber's Democrats broke ground once again when they swore in 58 women and 72 minorities, making it the first ever congressional caucus from either party or chamber where Caucasian men do not make up the majority.[1]

New members, including the first Buddhist Senator, first Hindu Rep. and first open bisexual female Rep., were elected on November 6, 2012.[1]

The appointments of Tim Scott and Mo Cowan mark the first time in United States history where two black senators are serving in the U.S. Senate at the same time.[2]

In addition to its diversity, the composition of the 113th Congress is notable for its inexperience. In Feb. 2013, the Washington Post published a story exploring how the current generation of congressional committee leaders see the dismantlement of traditional lawmaking procedure, and their roles within it, as a consequence of Congress' recent bulge of freshmen members. Reinforcing their theory, the report cited that over one third of House members, and 32 of the Senate's 100 members, have "served two years or less."[3]

Events

2013 Farm bills

House

On June 20, 2013, the House voted down its own version of the massive farm bill that would have set the course of U.S. food policy for the next half-decade.[4] The House version was 629 pages long, costing approximately $939.5 billion over 10 years.[4]

Members voted down the bill in a 195-234 vote that only won 24 Democratic votes.[5][6] Most Democrats voted against the bill because it cut food stamp programs by more than $20 billion, while many Republicans also voted no, saying it was too expensive a bill to pass when the country has $17 trillion in debt.[6] The major items included in the bill are:

  • Food stamps and nutrition: $743.9 billion over 10 years. This is by far the biggest part of the farm bill, with the bulk taken up by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which helps low-income families pay for food.[4] It’s also the most controversial part of the House version of the farm bill.[4] The House bill contains a number of restrictions on eligibility and money to combat food-stamp trafficking, and the House bill cuts food-stamp spending more than $20.5 billion compared to what would happen if current policy was kept in place.[4] Some Republicans want to restrict spending even further, and have offered several amendments in order to do so, including everything from drug-testing for recipients to creating a “food-stamp registry.”[4]
  • Commodity programs: $40.1 billion over 10 years. This section includes a variety of programs to shield farmers against sharp fluctuations in prices, particularly corn, wheat, soybean, cotton, rice, peanut, and dairy producers.[4] In past bills this was an even bigger portion overall, which often provided “direct payments” to farmers regardless of how much they actually planted or how much they would sell their crops for. This latest farm bill would cut most of these direct payments, saving about $18.6 billion over 10 years.[4] The proposed cuts are arguably the biggest policy change in both the House and Senate bills, although much of the savings have been channeled into other types of farm aid, including billions of dollars in disaster assistance and subsidized loans for farmers.[4]
  • Crop insurance: $93 billion over 10 years. For decades, farmers have been able to buy crop insurance in case their crops fail or prices decline.[4] This is another of the more contentious parts of the farm bill. Some critics have warned that this insurance program could cost far more than expected, depending on how crop prices shift, and the Environmental Working Group has argued that one-third of these subsidies go to the largest 4 percent of farm operators. Some House Republicans have offered amendments to cut the insurance program further.[4]
  • Conservation: $56.7 billion over 10 years. This includes programs to help farmers protect against soil erosion and to use ecologically friendly methods like drop irrigation. It also includes programs that pay farmers to grow on less land.[4]
  • Trade: $3.6 billion over 10 years. This money is used to promote U.S. crops overseas and provide food aid abroad. The government also offers some technical assistance to farmers in developing countries.[4]
  • Energy: $243 million over 10 years. This includes money for biofuels as well as for energy-efficiency programs in rural areas. It also provides funding to help develop biochemicals and bioplastics industries, in an attempt to reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels.[4]
  • Miscellaneous: approximately $1.5 billion over 10 years. This includes everything from forestry programs to rural development to research and development. There are programs for promoting farmers markets, selling off timber on federal lands, and even research into organic agriculture and citrus diseases. The Senate bill would create a new R&D agency akin to the National Institutes of Health.

Senate

On June 10, 2013, the Senate voted 66 to 27 to approve a farm bill that is expected to help set the course of U.S. food policy. The old farm bill expired in 2012, and the new Senate farm bill is 1,150 pages long, costing approximately $955 billion over 10 years.[7] The major items included in the bill are:

  • Food stamps and nutrition: $760.5 billion over 10 years. This is again by far the biggest part of the farm bill, with the bulk taken up by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which helps low-income families pay for food[7] The Senate bill tweaks some of the rules governing eligibility and cut spending slightly by $3.9 billion compared to what would happen if current policy was kept.[7] The bill also includes a controversial amendment by David Vitter (R) of Louisiana] to ban anyone convicted of a violent crime from food stamps for life.[7] The House bill makes deeper cuts here, reducing food-stamp payments by $20.5 billion over 10 years compared to current policy.[7]
  • Commodity programs: $41.3 billion over 10 years. This section includes a variety of programs to shield farmers against sharp fluctuations in prices, particularly corn, wheat, soybean, cotton, rice, peanut, and dairy producers. This latest farm bill would cut most of these direct payments, saving about $17.44 billion over 10 years.[7]
  • Crop insurance: $89 billion over 10 years. For decades, farmers have been able to buy crop insurance in case their crops fail or prices decline. Under the new Senate farm bill, the government would also spend an additional $5 billion per year covering the deductibles that farmers have to pay before the insurance kicks in. This is supposed to help cushion the blow from the loss of direct payments.[7] This is one of the more contentious parts of the farm bill and some critics have warned that this insurance program could cost far more than expected.[7] In response, the Senate added a slight change to shrink subsidies for farmers earning more than $750,000 per year.[7]
  • Conservation: $58 billion over 10 years. This includes programs to help farmers protect against soil erosion and to use ecologically friendly methods like drop irrigation. It also includes programs that pay farmers to grow on less land.[7] According to a Congressional Budget Office analysis, this part of the farm bill was cut by about $3.5 billion, in part because the government will be supervising a smaller total area.[7]
  • Trade: $3.6 billion over 10 years. This money is used to promote U.S. crops overseas and provide food aid abroad. The government also offers some technical assistance to farmers in developing countries.[7] President Obama had earlier called for an overhaul of the food aid program, where instead of buying food from U.S. farmers and shipping it overseas some of the money would just be sent directly to poor countries.[7]The Senate ended up keeping the food-aid program intact, albeit with an extra $60 million to buy food locally in developing countries.[7]
  • Energy: $1.1 billion over 10 years. This includes money for biofuels as well as for energy-efficiency programs in rural areas. It also provides funding to help develop biochemicals and bioplastics industries, in an attempt to reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels.[7]
  • Miscellaneous, about $1.1 billion over 10 years. This includes everything from forestry programs to rural development to research and development. There are programs for promoting farmers markets, selling off timber on federal lands, and even research into organic agriculture and citrus diseases. The Senate bill would create a new R&D agency akin to the National Institutes of Health.[7]

Comparing the bills

Compared with the Senate bill, the House bill had less money designated for food stamps and nutrition.[7][4] There was also somewhat less money for conservation, slightly deeper cuts to commodity payments, and a bit more money for crop insurance, due to a number of different rules used to calculate payments.[7][4][8]

House vote on abortion ban

On June 18, 2013, the House voted 228-196, mostly along party lines, to approve a ban on late-term abortions, or abortions occurring after 20 weeks of pregnancy[9][10] A number of members crossed over party lines in their votes. The vote was largely symbolic as the bill is not expected to be taken up in the Senate and the White House has threatened to veto the legislation.[11] Some of the notable votes included:

Republican PartyRepublicans who voted against:

Note: Reps. Woodall and Broun were opposed because they felt the bill did not go far enough and left exceptions to the ban.[10][12]

Democratic PartyDemocrats who voted in favor:

2013 Budget Proposals

Paul Ryan Budget Plan

In March 2013 the Republican controlled House passed the budget proposal set out by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan (R) for the third straight year.[13] However, not all Republican representatives voted in favor of the proposal.[13] 10 Republican Representatives voted against Ryan's budget proposal.[13] The 10 Republican Representatives included Justin Amash, Paul Broun, Rick Crawford, Randy Forbes, Chris Gibson, Phil Gingrey, Joe Heck, Walter Jones, Tom Massie and David McKinley.

The proposal was killed after being voted down in the U.S. Senate with a 40-59 vote.[14]

The proposal would have cut about $5 trillion over the next decade and aimed to balance the budget by the end of the 10-year period.[13] The 2013 bill had opposition from 10 Republicans — the same number that voted against it in 2012. In 2011 only four Republicans cast a vote in opposition.[13] Democrats have unanimously voted against the bill every year.[13]

Senate Budget Proposal

On March 23, after an all-night debate that ended just before 5 a.m., by a 50 to 49 vote the Democratically controlled Senate approved its first budget in four years.[15] No Republicans voted for the Senate plan, and four Democrats, Mark Pryor, Kay Hagan, Mark Begich and Max Baucus, opposed it. All four are from red states and are up for re-election in 2014.[15]

The approved plan is a $3.7 trillion budget for 2014 and would provide a fast track for passage of tax increases, trim spending modestly and leave the government still deeply in the red for the next decade.[15]

The approval of a budget in the Senate began the process of setting up contentious, and potentially fruitless, negotiations with the Republican-controlled House starting in April to reconcile two vastly different plans for dealing with the nation’s economic and budgetary problems.

The House plan brings the government’s taxes and spending into balance by 2023 with cuts to domestic spending even below the levels of automatic across-the-board cuts for federal programs now, and it orders up dramatic and controversial changes to Medicare and the tax code.[15]

The Senate plan differs greatly, and includes $100 billion in upfront infrastructure spending to bolster the economy and calls for special fast-track rules to overhaul the tax code and raise $975 billion over 10 years in legislation that could not be filibustered. Even with that tax increase and prescribed spending cuts, the plan approved by the Senate would leave the government with a $566 billion annual deficit in 10 years, and $5.2 trillion in additional debt over that window.[15]

September 2013 budget fight

Please see: United States budget debate, 2013

March 2013 filibuster

See also: Rand Paul filibuster of John Brennan's CIA Nomination in March 2013

“I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan’s nomination for the CIA. I will speak until I can no longer speak,”[16] With these words Sen. Rand Paul initiated a filibuster to delay the senate vote on the confirmation of the President's nominee to the head of the CIA and to draw attention to the questions surrounding the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or "drones" by the executive branch. Paul began speaking shortly before noon on Wednesday and continued to speak for 12 hours and 52 minutes, which marks his speech as the 9th longest filibuster in the history of the Senate.[17] When asked why this sort of event does not occur more frequently, Paul explained that since who speaks on the Senate floor is decided by the leadership of the Senate, it's often difficult to begin a traditional filibuster. "One of the reasons filibusters don't occur is because they carefully guard the floor from letting it happen. And it was left unguarded," he said,"We had no plan and I had the wrong shoes on, my feet were hurting the whole day,"[18]

The main topic of Paul's speech was the use of drones as a means of attacking American citizens on U.S. soil, asking "Your notification is the buzz of propellers on the drone as it flies overhead in the seconds before you're killed. Is that what we really want from our government?"[19]. Paul protested the lack of transparency in the drone program, asking "What will be the standard for how we kill Americans in America?... Could political dissent be part of the standard for drone strikes?"[20] Paul questioned the President's refusal to state publicly that such strikes would not be used against citizens on U.S. soil saying, "[Obama] says trust him because he hasn’t done it yet. He says he doesn’t intend to do so, but he might. Mr. President, that’s not good enough . . . so I’ve come here to speak for as long as I can to draw attention to something that I find to really be very disturbing.”[21] Paul concluded his remarks asking for his counterparts on the other side of the aisle to join him in his efforts to obtain clarification from the president.[22]

A total of 14 senators joined Paul in the filibuster -- 13 Republicans and one Democrat.[23][24][25] According to the website Breitbart, 30 Republican senators did not support the filibuster.[26][27] The day after the filibuster, Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Paul, responding to the filibuster. Holder wrote, "Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on U.S. soil? The answer to that is no."[28]

"Nuclear option" for nominees

On November 21, 2013, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid invoked the "nuclear option" in the Senate. The "nuclear option" is using an interpretation of Senate procedure to be able to change chamber rules with a simple majority vote. In this case, the option was used to change the vote requirement for executive nominee confirmations to be considered on the floor.[29] Prior to the rule change, Senators could filibuster until a cloture motion requiring 60 votes was passed in the chamber. The "nuclear option" changed the requirement to a simple majority. The threat of the "nuclear option" occurred in many Congresses, but none had put the option into use.[30]

The "nuclear option" was invoked in response to Senate Republicans blocking the nomination of three D.C. Circuit Court judges. The rule change passed by a vote of 52-48, with Carl Levin, Joe Manchin and Mark Pryor being the only Democrats to vote in opposition. According to the Congressional Research Service, of the 67 times between 1967 and 2012 the filibuster was used on a judicial nominee, 31 have been during during the Obama administration.[30]

The change in rules does not apply to legislation or Supreme Court nominees.[29]

Leadership

Senate

Position Representative Party
President of the Senate Joe Biden Electiondot.png Democratic
Senate Majority Leadership
President pro tempore Patrick Leahy Electiondot.png Democratic
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Electiondot.png Democratic
Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin Electiondot.png Democratic
Senate Minority Leadership
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Ends.png Republican
Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn Ends.png Republican

House of Representatives

Position Representative Party
Speaker of the House John Boehner Ends.png Republican
House Majority Leadership
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Ends.png Republican
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy Ends.png Republican
House Minority Leadership
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Electiondot.png Democratic
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer Electiondot.png Democratic

Speaker of the House Election

During the 113th Congress swearing in ceremony and election for Speaker of the House, Ohio representative and Speaker of the 112th Congress John Boehner (R) saw nine Republican members of congress either vote for someone else or abstain and vote present. This is a change from the Speaker election in 2010, where Boehner received votes from the entire 241 member Republican caucus. Boehner won re-election to the speakership with 220 votes. He needed a majority of members voting, which would be 214 of the 426 who voted. Former Speaker and California representative Nancy Pelosi (D) in turn received 192 votes.[31]

The nine Republican members who voted for someone other than Boehner include: Justin Amash, Steve Pearce, Jim Bridenstine, Ted Yoho, Paul Broun, Louie Gohmert, Walter Jones, Thomas Massie and Tim Huelskamp. Not all members who voted for someone other the Boehner or Pelosi voted for a current member of the U.S. House. Outgoing member Allen West, former Comptroller General David Walker, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell all received votes.[31] This highlights the fact that the speaker does not have to be a member of the U.S. House, although all previous speakers have been.[32]

Following the vote, the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives remained the same as it was in the 112th United States Congress.

Members

See the List of current members of the U.S. Congress page for a list of current members.

Analysis

Professions

Senate

The following data lists the professions of the members of the U.S. Senate and the change in their numbers from the 112th congress.[33]

  • 45 lawyers (-1)
  • 22 businesspeople (0)
  • 9 career politicians and government employees (-1)
  • 7 educators (0)
  • 4 nonprofit and community workers (+1)
  • 3 medical professionals (0)
  • 3 farmers and ranchers (+1)
  • 3 career military and law enforcement (+1)
  • 2 entertainment and media (-1)
  • 2 other (+1): 1 social worker, 1 engineer

House

The following data lists the professions of the members of the U.S. House and the change in their numbers from the 112th congress.[33]

  • 128 lawyers (+3)
  • 108 businesspeople (-7)
  • 55 career politicians and government employees (+2)
  • 44 educators (+2)
  • 29 medical professionals (+1)
  • 19 career military and law enforcement (+2)
  • 12 farmers and ranchers (-1)
  • 10 nonprofit and community workers (0)
  • 8 entertainment and media (+4)
  • 7 accountants (0)
  • 13 other (-4): 2 social workers, 1 microbiologist, 1 legal secretary, 2 clergy, 2 engineers, 1 youth camp director, 1 mill supervisor, 1 physicist, 1 carpenter, 1 union rep

Election rivals serving concurrently

There are several members of the U.S. House that were one-time rivals who faced off in previous elections. This is not a normal occurrence but does happen after redistricting or when a former candidate moves. The following is a list of such cases in the 113th Congress.

Lobbying positions after leaving office

In March 2013 USA Today compiled a list of sixteen former lawmakers who took on a lobbying related positions after leaving office.[34] Included on the list were Steven C. LaTourette, Jo Ann Emerson, Denny Rehberg, Howard Berman, Scott Brown, Kathy Hochul, Jon Kyl and Joe Lieberman.[34] The 16 former lawmakers were out of the 98 total lawmakers who have retired or were ousted by voters since January 2011 hold lobbying-related jobs.[34] USA Today looked at lawmakers who retired, resigned or lost their seats in the last Congress — along with the handful who left their posts during the first months of the new 113th Congress.[34]

Despite rules in place to prevent the constant rotation of lawmakers into lobbying positions, 16 former lawmakers have recently entered into positions with either lobbying firms or trade associations.[34] Former House members are barred from lobbying their former colleagues for a year, and former senators, are barred for two years.[34]

There are no restrictions, however, on providing behind-the-scenes advice to corporations and others seeking to shape federal legislation.[34] Ex-lawmakers can immediately lobby the executive branch and officials in state and local governments.[34] Many former lawmakers are taking advantage of this slight distinction, and are taking positions after their political careers end as consultants and strategists.[34]

See also

External links

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 The Washington Post, "The 113th Congress is the most diverse in history," January 3, 2013
  2. Slate.com, "For the First Time Ever, We'll Have Two Black Senators Serving at the Same Time," January 30, 2013
  3. The Washington Post, "Congress's committee chairmen push to reassert their power," February 13, 2013
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 Washington Post, "The House is voting on a $940 billion farm bill. Here’s what’s in it." Accessed June 20, 2013
  5. Politico, "House Farm bill roll call vote: Who voted against the bill" Accessed June 20, 2013
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Hill, "House rejects farm bill" Accessed June 20, 2013
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 7.15 7.16 7.17 Washington Post, "The Senate is voting on a $955 billion farm bill. Here’s what’s in it." Accessed June 20, 2013
  8. Congressional Research Service "The 2013 Farm Bill: A Comparison of the Senate-Passed Bill (S. 954) and House-Reported Bill (H.R. 1947) with Current Law" Accessed June 20, 2013
  9. CNN "House passes late term abortion ban" Accessed June 20, 2013
  10. 10.0 10.1 U.S. House "June 18 Roll Call Vote" Accessed June 20, 2013
  11. Politico, "House OKs 20-week abortion ban bill" Accessed June 20, 2013
  12. Examiner, "Two Georgia Republicans voted against abortion ban (Video)" Accessed June 20, 2013
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 Washington Post, "10 House Republicans Vote Against Ryan Budget" Accessed March 22, 2013
  14. CBS News "Senate Rejects Paul Ryan Budget" Accessed March 22, 2013
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 New York Times "Senate Passes $3.7 Trillion Budget, Setting Up Contentious Negotiations" Accessed March 25, 2013
  16. Washingtontimes.com"After almost 13 hours, Rand Paul ends Brennan filibuster" March 7, 2013
  17. NYTimes.com Republicans, Led by Rand Paul, Finally End Filibuster March 7, 2013
  18. CNN Poliitical ticker "Rand Paul on filibuster: 'We had no plan March 7, 2013
  19. FoxNews.com, "Sen. Paul declares 'victory' after Holder offers assurance on drones" March 2013
  20. NYTimes.com "Republicans, Led by Rand Paul, Finally End Filibuster March 7,2013
  21. Washingtonexaminer.com, "Rand Paul filibustering over drones: I will not let Obama ‘shred the Constitution’" March 7, 2013
  22. USA Today, "Rand Paul filibuster ranks among Senate's longest" March 7, 2013
  23. CNN "Rand Paul says he's heard from White House after filibuster," March 7, 2013
  24. USA Today, "Rand Paul filibuster ranks among Senate's longest," March 7, 2013
  25. ABC News "Rand Paul Wins Applause From GOP and Liberals," March 7, 2013
  26. Breitbart, "AWOL: Meet The GOP Senators Who Refused to Stand With Rand," March 7, 2013
  27. Politico, "Rand Paul filibuster blasted by Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham," March 7, 2013
  28. Washington Post, "Eric Holder responds to Rand Paul with ‘no’," March 7, 2013
  29. 29.0 29.1 Politico, "Senate goes for 'nuclear option'," November 21, 2013
  30. 30.0 30.1 Washington Post, "Reid, Democrats trigger 'nuclear' option; eliminate most filibusters on nominees," November 21, 2013
  31. 31.0 31.1 The Hill, "Boehner re-elected as Speaker; nine Republicans defect in vote," January 3, 2013
  32. Office of the Clerk, "House Leadership & Officers," accessed January 3, 2013
  33. 33.0 33.1 Bloomberg Businessweek, "The 113th Congress, by the Numbers," January 10, 2013
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 34.3 34.4 34.5 34.6 34.7 34.8 USA Today, "Former lawmakers lobbying jobs" Accessed March 27, 2013