110th Congress Preparations
Pray for Congress
November 10, 2006
Arise, cry aloud in the night At the beginning of the night watches;
Pour out your heart like water Before the presence of the Lord;
Lift up your hands to Him For the life of your little ones
Today concludes the first third of November, and what a month it has been already!
We want to note some of the changes, and then talk about how the 110th Congress will take shape between now and when it officially convenes in January.
Changes from the Elections
House of Representatives
Both major parties in the House of Representatives have their respective conservative coalitions: the Republican Study Committee and the Blue Dog Coalition (PAC site)
RSC Losses and Gains
10 new conservatives for the 110th Congress: (Picture Directory, PDF)
- Michele Bachmann (MN-06)
- Vernon Buchanan (FL-05)
- David Davis (TN-01)
- Mary Fallin (OK-05)
- Jim Jordan (OH-04)
- Douglas Lamborn (CO-05)
- Peter Roskam (IL-06)
- Bill Sali (ID-01)
- Adrian Smith (NE-03)
- Tim Walberg (MI-07)
RSC Losses - 3 retirements, 10 replacements:
- Chris Chocola replaced by Joe Donnelly (IN-02)
- Gil Gutknecht replaced by Tim Walz (MN-01)
- Melissa Hart replaced by Jason Altmire (PA-04)
- J.D. Hayworth replaced by Harry Mitchell (AZ-05)
- John Hostettler replaced by Brad Ellsworth (IN-08)
- Anne Northup replaced by John Yarmuth (KY-03)
- Richard Pombo replaced by Jerry McNerney (CA-11)
- Jim Ryun replaced by Nancy Boyda (KS-02)
- Mike Sodrel replaced by Baron Hill (IN-09)
- Charles Taylor replaced by Heath Shuler (NC-11)
Right Democrat reports, "Nine new members-elect are set to join the Blue Dog Coalition" who will "bring the coalition total to 44 Members in the 110th Congress." The new members are:
- Tim Mahoney (FL-16)
- Joe Donnelly (IN-02)
- Brad Ellsworth (IN-08)
- Baron Hill (IN-09)
- Heath Shuler (NC-11)
- Kirsten Gillibrand (NY-20)
- Michael Arcuri (NY-24)
- Charlie Wilson (OH-06)
- Patrick Murphy (PA-08)
"In the 110th Congress, the members-elect will join the Blue Dogs in their fight for fiscal responsibility and greater government accountability. As moderates and fiscal hawks, the Blue Dogs have made a determined effort to reach across the aisle to engage in a real debate on fiscal responsibility - including the adoption of pay-as-you-go, a core Blue Dog value that government should not spend more than it has."
Right Democrat also reports, "Democrats For Life of America applauded the Democratic leadership today for recruiting pro-life Democrats to run for key Congressional races in this week's history making elections."
The Washington Post selected a few new members of the House to profile:
Elections Among the Elected
House of Representatives
The Incoming Majority
- Speaker: No one is expected to challenge Nancy Pelosi (CA) for the post.
- Majority Leader: Current Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) and John Murtha (PA) are running
Before she even becomes Speaker, Nancy Pelosi will face awkward nuances within the Democratic party for the leadership races. "Hoyer is a Pelosi rival and Murtha has been seen as her stalking horse. And Pelosi is already under heat from the black caucus, first for the way in which she handled the Rep. Bill Jefferson scandal, and now for her not-so-secret plan to pass over Rep. Alcee Hastings, an impeached former judge, for chair of the Intelligence Committee."
"NBC's Mike Viqueira reports that House Democrats seem likely to gather one week from [Thursday] to elect their new leadership. Although Pelosi isn't expected to be challenged for Speaker, Democrats may see fights for their number-two and number-three posts. Rahm Emanuel, the highly successful chair of the party's House campaign committee, is considering challenging former Congressional Black Caucus chair Jim Clyburn for whip."
"African-Americans are expected to achieve unprecedented prominence in Washington as five ascend to top jobs in Congress," NBC News reports. "Rep. Jim Clyburn is likely to get elected House Majority Whip, and Reps. John Conyers, Charlie Rangel, Bennie Thompson, and Juanita Millender-McDonald are about to chair the Judiciary, Ways and Means, Homeland Security, and Administration committees. Rep. Alcee Hastings is also in line to chair the House Intelligence Committee, though he may seek another post instead."
"Incoming House Judiciary Committee chair John Conyers yesterday reiterated that he agrees with incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi that impeachment hearings are 'off the table,'" Mike Viqueira of NBC News reports. "But a new liberal coalition will hold an event in Philadelphia tomorrow to call for a national movement in support of impeachment."
On the Democratic Agenda for the "First 100 Hours" of the 110th Congress: "As Democrats prepare to take control of the House for the first time in 12 years, their immediate agenda includes
- increasing the minimum wage,
- allowing the government to negotiate for lower prices under the 2003 Medicare drug law (PL 108-173),
- lowering college tuition costs,
- expanding embryonic stem cell research and
- implementing the remaining recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission." (CQ Today, 11/8/2006)
The one in red is a problem. We need to pray now:
- that the President will be just as ready to swiftly veto this legislation just like he did the last time
- that this legislation would not be tied to other possibly popular legislation
- that there would not be enough votes to override his veto
"The Democrats also plan to pass an overhaul of ethics guidelines and implement pay-as-you-go budgeting through changes to House rules."
Non-profit groups were not happy about disclosure requirements included in the last round of ethics/lobbying reform. Pray that those would not be included also.
The Incoming Minority (As reported by NBC News First Read)
- Minority Leader:
- Current House Speaker Dennis Hastert announced Wednesday that he won't run.
- Current Majority Leader John Boehner has declared his intention to run.
- Current Republican Study Committee Chairman Mike Pence has announced his intention to run.
"House members have moved their leadership elections back two days from next Wednesday to next Friday," November 17, 2006.
"First Read counts at least 126 Republican members (depending on the outcome of the still-undecided races) who will soon serve in the minority for the first time ever. Democratic aides in both chambers, looking forward to a turn in the majority, suggest that the toughest adjustment for Republicans may be not controlling the hearing process -- particularly as hearings about the Administration's Iraq policy kick into gear."
The Incoming Majority
The Democrats have no plans to change leadership from Leader Harry Reid (NV) and Assistant Leader Richard Durbin (IL).
Democratic Agenda: Expect Changes Ahead
"Bloomberg notes that incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will have a tougher time than Pelosi in getting the Democratic agenda through his chamber because of 'the Senate's Byzantine rules in a chamber where almost a dozen lawmakers are weighing 2008 presidential bids... While Pelosi can promise to act on a half-dozen initiatives within 100 hours in the House, it might take Reid months to muscle similar measures to the Senate floor'" First Read reports.
"After Reid returned to the Senate, he told reporters that he doesn't want to 'frighten' anyone with the notion that Democrats will launch a barrage of investigations on the Bush Administration. Instead, he said Democrats will conduct much needed 'oversight,' which Reid said was sorely lacking all this time that Republicans have controlled Congress. He added that subpoenas will be sought 'rarely'" NBC News First Read reported.
CBS News reports on Who's Who in the new Senate Leadership committee chairmen when the new Congress convenes in January.
The Incoming Minority
- Minority Leader: Current Assistant Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to be the new minority leader.
- Minority Whip/Assistant Leader: NBC News First Read reports, "Sen. Lamar Alexander (TN) claimed yesterday to have secured enough commitments from his colleagues to win the minority whip job. Alexander may be challenged for the post by Sen. Trent Lott" (MS).
The Los Angeles Times previews the variety of hearings expected to be convened by Democratic committee chairs in both chambers.
"Both the House and Senate will welcome their new members next week with formal and informal freshman orientation activities. House orientation sessions are scheduled from 9:45 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. in the Cannon House Office building starting Monday. Activities will continue Nov. 14 and 15" (CQ Today, 11/10/2006).
From the Tech Sector
NBC News First Read explained, "we suggest comparing Bush's playbook from when he was governor of Texas to his words from his press conference yesterday. A lot of his rhetoric in talking about bipartisanship and topics like education and immigration harked back to his days in Austin, when the 'uniter, not a divider' image he built up by working with a powerful Democratic lieutenant governor on some of those very issues helped get him elected President."
The Financial Times reports, "The Bush administration will soon launch a big 'energy independence' initiative, likely to include renewed emphasis on biofuels, as part of an attempt to regain the political initiative following the midterm elections."
Reuters reports, "Iran's most powerful leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Friday called U.S. President George W. Bush's defeat in the congressional elections an 'obvious victory' for the Iranian nation."
"There was an alarming threat from al Qaeda in Iraq today. The terror group taunted President Bush to keep American troops in Iraq because the terrorist organization had not shed 'enough of your blood,' and vowed to continue its fight until the White House is blown up" (CBS Evening News, 11/10/2006).
- Pray that the division of power would unite the country, and bring out the Austin Uniter in George W. Bush.
I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead (Philippians 3:13).
Pray for Congress
Live Floor Updates,