Congress and the Nation 2009–2012, Volume XIII: Politics and Policy in the 111th and 112th Congresses

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Edited by: Dave Tarr

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    Tables, Figures, and Boxes

    Boxes

    Introduction

    The four years from 2009 to 2013, the period of the 111th and 112th U.S. Congresses and the first presidential term of Barack Obama, were dominated by one overriding event: the most devastating economic recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The reaction of both Congress as an institution and the presidency to this crisis foreshadowed much of the interplay between the two institutions—and the political parties—that was to dominate the full term of the newly elected president.

    The Democratic Party, which controlled all of the 111th Congress, moved aggressively on legislation—principally spending, financial regulation, and health care—that the Republican Party largely voted against. The GOP's reluctance to provide many votes in favor of the Democratic initiatives in the first two years hardened into unyielding opposition to Obama in the 112th Congress after Republicans took control of the House in 2010 elections. Democrats still controlled the Senate but with their party in a decided House minority—plus GOP use of the Senate filibuster to block most legislation and many presidential appointments it opposed—Congress fell into gridlock and came close to closing down the federal government and causing the nation to default on its debt.

    The president did win Senate approval of two new Supreme Court justices even though Republican support was lukewarm. The 110th Congress (2009–2011) with Democratic majorities, passed the far-reaching Affordable Care Act seeking to bring health insurance to thousands of Americans, and financial regulation seeking to prevent future economic crises of the type that caused the devastating recession. Legislation beyond the major items on economic and health issues also passed during the four years, but many other issues proved too controversial to move ahead in a deeply divided Congress, perhaps most notably immigration reform and serious debate on climate change. (See box, major legislation, p. xx)

    Nevertheless, the four years were defined by the economic woes from the recession and, institutionally, the deepening animosity between the political parties and the barely concealed hostility of much of the GOP toward the president.

    The Bubble Bursts

    The economic crisis started, although unobtrusively, in mid-2006 as real estate price increases slowed from a torrid pace earlier in the decade and then collapsed as the housing market bubble—clearly visible in hindsight—burst. From there, things got worse.

    Housing prices sank in much of the nation by mid-2007 and spread globally into 2008 and 2009. Thousands of homeowners found their mortgages were larger than the house's value and fell into default. Foreclosures spread and banks, whose complicated and shady lending practices were now exposed, were threatened with failure.

    A pivotal moment in the global economic crisis occurred in September 2008, when the venerable Wall Street investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed under the weight of toxic financial constructs in the housing market, particularly in so-called subprime mortgages taken out by thousands of borrowers whose earnings and creditworthiness barred them from conventional lending. When hard times came, this swath of lending became the lynchpin of the economic downturn.

    First Lehman Brothers collapsed, and then other even larger banks nearly did also, which froze the global lending system. With lending largely unavailable to businesses and individuals, economic activity plunged and jobs disappeared by the thousands, with unemployment eventually spiking at over 10 percent. Moreover, household net worth—the difference between asset values (such as stocks or a house's value) and liabilities—declined by 20 percent, the Federal Reserve Board (Fed) calculated.

    This was the crisis in which the United States and most of the developed world found itself as America was making a transition from the Republican administration of George W. Bush to the Democratic victor in 2008, Obama.

    The New Team in Washington

    The inauguration of Obama as the nation's forty-fourth president, on an exceptionally frigid day in Washington, D.C., initially seemed to presage a new national start from a decade of unexpected terrorism attacks on American soil and in other nations, wild economic swings, and the waging of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The former was a war brought on by the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City and near Washington, D.C. The latter was a war of choice by the United States that was based on arguments made to the public and to Congress about weapons of mass destruction that turned out to be false. At first, both had popular support, but together as they dragged on through the decade, war weariness grew in America. A main campaign theme of Obama in 2008 was that he would bring these wars to an end.

    Still, the immediate matter before the new administration was what to do about the economic collapse.

    Obama and his financial team did not come into office in January 2009 in an economic vacuum. The Democratically controlled Congress and the Republican George W. Bush administration in 2008, seeing the damage of the housing collapse, responded in a variety of ways, starting as early as February that year with a stimulus bill estimated to cost $134 billion over six years. Even more importantly Congress in late 2008 passed a $700 billion bill—known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)—that initially was intended to buy up toxic assets in the banking system. In fact, as new information emerged about the shakiness of the entire system, substantial amounts of the funds went instead to bail out most of the nation's largest financial institutions, including both commercial and Wall Street investment banks, with loans and direct infusion of cash. In addition, a chunk went to prop up two of the nation's largest auto companies (Chrysler and General Motors), which were near bankruptcy as car sales disappeared. (Congress and the Nation Vol. XII, p. 163)

    Even with this running start, few doubted that the economy needed more help, although some economists and many Republicans argued that numerous earlier recessions quickly proved self-correcting and so relatively little government action was appropriate. Even some Obama advisors, to their later regret, were reluctant to push for a large-scale government stimulus of the economy.

    One other component of the national government, the Fed—the nation's central bank—saw the danger starkly. As it happened, the Fed chair, Ben Bernanke, who was a scholar of the Great Depression, understood better than most where the current situation might lead. To that end he led the central bank into previously unexplored ways of propping up the economy—most notably a policy called quantitative easing that essentially involved pumping billions of dollars into the economy through the Fed's unique power to create new money.

    But in the White House and Congress, the key actors, facing dangers of unknown parameters, had to decide how much and what kind of economic stimulus was needed. The answer was legislation that provided $787.2 billion in spending on a variety of activities including $575.3 billion in new funding over eleven years for projects intended to save or create jobs such as road construction and energy initiatives; programs to assist the jobless, such as extended emergency unemployment benefits and food stamps; education programs; and initiatives to expand health information technology and the extension of broadband service to rural areas. Included in that $787.2 billion total was $211.8 billion in tax cuts over eleven years for individuals and businesses.

    The legislation, which was thereafter known as the stimulus bill, passed with the support of three congressional Republicans out of a total 212 GOP senators and representatives who cast ballots on the key votes on the measure. This voting pattern was to be replicated time and again over the four years as the two parties increasingly talked past one another rather than debating, and reconciling, their differences.

    Health Care and Financial Regulation

    Although economic matters were foremost in Washington in early 2009, the Obama administration and its Democratic allies in Congress decided the time was ripe to move legislatively on two other fronts: one an immediate child of the economic crisis and the other a Democratic goal for more than half a century.

    The first was new financial regulation to proscribe the excesses of banks and other new investment institutions that underpinned the collapse of the housing market and near collapse of the global financial system. It took a year and a half to enact the legislation and was opposed at every turn by the financial industry and Republicans in Congress. Indeed, the GOP spent much of the rest of Obama's first term trying to undo key provisions of the reform.

    The second was a far-reaching overhaul of the American health care system to provide nearly universal health care coverage for the nation. The goal was to add up to 30 million individuals to the insurance rolls, to slow the rising cost of health care, to help lower-income citizens get health insurance, to set minimal insurance coverage standards, and to end an array of insurance company practices, such as coverage denial for preexisting conditions, that affected even those who had coverage. Some Obama advisers counseled against going after so big a target while the economy was still a wreck, but the president decided otherwise.

    Debate on the legislation, known formally as the Affordable Care Act and derisively by opponents as “Obamacare,” lasted more than a year before enactment in March 2010 and involved multiple high-wire acts in both chambers—ranging from the always controversial issue of abortion coverage to stapling together a sixty-vote margin in the Senate to end the GOP's filibuster. As with financial regulation, Republicans spent much of the rest of the 111th Congress and all of the 112th Congress trying to defund or even repeal the law. With Obama holding the veto pen, and no chance of a congressional override, these efforts were seen mostly as Republican efforts looking ahead to the next elections, and in 2010 they struck gold but in 2012 struck out.

    A Tale of Two Elections

    Democrats in 2008 had won almost everything they could hope for: the White House—historically electing an African American that few thought possible only a few decades after the civil rights changes from the 1960s—and solid control of Congress, with a commanding House majority and an almost filibuster-proof Senate majority, although implementing the latter proved far more challenging than the numbers suggested.

    The next round, the 2010 midterm elections, was another matter entirely. Republicans were energized by a variety of issues that an out-of-power opposition party often welcomes as a road map back into power. Most powerfully, the economic doldrums, snail-pace advances in job creation and economic recovery (even though the actual recession had ended months earlier), the continuing aftermath of housing collapse with many losing their homes to foreclosure, and—perhaps most powerful of all—the sweeping changes contained in the health care reform legislation. Into this volatile mix of national angst marched a new force that came to be known as the Tea Party. It was initially a more or less genuine spontaneous coming together of groups around the nation that saw in actions taken in Washington, and especially at the White House, a vast overreaching by the federal government. Later the Tea Party phenomena evolved into a more conventional political role as professional politicians sought to harness its energies to specific election campaigns. But for the Republican Party in 2010 the Tea Party overall could not have come at a better time.

    With much of the electorate harboring deep doubts about the nation's course and the Democratically controlled government's response, the GOP—using Tea Party energy where possible—rode to a stunning sweep in House elections in 2010, picking up sixty-three seats to regain control of the House for the first time since 2006 and significantly narrowing the Democratic majority in the Senate. Even President Obama said the Democratic Party took a “shellacking.”

    It was this “shellacking” on election day that gave birth to the gridlock Congress that prevailed for the following two years in the 112th Congress. Although legislation was passed during the period, including some bills of significance, much of the time was spent posturing for political gain with eyes set firmly on the 2012 national elections when the president was up for reelection.

    But unlike 2010, the Republican Party whiffed in 2012. President Obama won a convincing—if slightly smaller—margin in the popular vote and a commanding majority in the electoral votes by winning nearly all the large and vigorously contested battleground states. Republicans retained House control while losing some seats; to the party's embarrassment, the GOP also lost the total national vote for House seats. That did not matter to House control because redistricting after the 2010 census allowed drawing congressional district lines in favor of GOP candidates, the long-standing tradition of gerrymandering that was done by both parties when opportunity allowed.

    But that loss of the total national House vote, along with the clear national rejection of the Republican's presidential candidate, left many political observers, even staunch Republicans, wondering if the Grand Old Party had lost touch with substantial numbers of American voters—especially younger persons, women, and minorities.

    Legislation and Politics: 2009–2013

    This book continues a series begun in 1965 with the publication of Congress and the Nation Vol. I, which covered national government and politics from 1945 to 1964. Subsequent volumes, published every four years, covered the same subjects over the two congresses of each succeeding administration. As with the preceding volumes, this edition is divided into a series of chapters focusing on various substantive subjects such as economic and regulatory policy, commerce, law and justice, and health and welfare. This volume, as with recent ones, contains sixteen chapters, an extensive appendix, and a comprehensive index. Following are brief summaries of the chapters and the highlights of events described in them.

    Chapter 1 Politics and National Issues

    This chapter is an overview of the four-year period 2009 through 2012, the four years of Obama's first presidential term, and the 111th Congress and 112th Congress. The major legislative and the political events noted here are covered in more detail in subsequent chapters.

    Chapter 2 Economic Policy

    President Obama took office in 2009 during the most severe economic downturn since the 1930s, the repercussions of which were to dominate his entire first term even though the recession technically ended in mid-2009.

    The crisis reached into nearly every important part of American life: soaring unemployment that reached above 10 percent and still was above 7 percent after four years; decimated state government budgets that forced deep spending cuts; a near total collapse of the domestic auto industry; and a financial crisis that brought down many banks and left many others—even some of the largest—on life support from the federal government.

    The nation had survived many recessions since the 1930s but this one was unusual because, in addition to its severity, it was sparked by an intense financial crisis that started in the United States and spread worldwide.

    Timely and sustained action by Washington—notably an unprecedented bailout of Wall Street banks and other companies, a series of interest rate cuts and financial guarantees by the Federal Reserve Bank, and a one-time injection of “stimulus” spending and tax cuts—helped prevent the recession from deepening into a 1930s-style Great Depression. Massive infusions of taxpayer cash kept hundreds of banks afloat (even as more than 300 others failed) and ensured that the nation's credit system would not collapse.

    Even with the government's remarkable success in helping contain the economic damage, many taxpayers were deeply angered by the use of tax dollars to bail out giant Wall Street banks—the very banks whose risky bets had sparked the financial crisis. Perhaps more than any other single action, this propping up of wealthy banks significantly poisoned the nation's political atmosphere. The bailout program, called the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), had to be forced through Congress in the fall of 2008, when Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, was still in office. It was never popular to begin with, and quickly became a public symbol of everything that was wrong on Wall Street and in Washington. This was despite the fact that the bailout clearly rescued the financial system at a critical moment and wound up with a net cost to taxpayers, after repayments and profits, of only about $24 billion of its initial price tag of more than $700 billion.

    These developments are examined in the overview section that begins this chapter, and are explored in greater detail in the following sections on economic and regulatory policy, taxes and budget, and trade policy.

    Economic and regulatory policy. Within three weeks of Obama's swearing-in ceremony, Congress had approved $787.2 billion in new spending and tax cuts to spur economic growth, preserve jobs, and help those most affected by the recession. It was the largest economic stimulus bill in the nation's history—and, apart from a temporary payroll tax cut enacted a year later, the only significant measure enacted in the president's first term dedicated solely to economic recovery.

    Eighteen months later, Congress in July 2010 passed far-reaching reforms to the nation's financial regulatory system intended to prevent any future financial crisis similar to the one that plunged the country into recession, a significant victory for the president and advocates of reigning in Wall Street excesses. But opponents spent the next two years trying to undo parts of the law, and they succeeded in delaying implementation of many of its most important provisions.

    The widely differing views between Democrats and Republicans on how to repair the stumbling economy and faltering financial system fed into the partisanship that characterized Obama's first term and that was most intensely displayed in the legislative disputes over taxing and spending that nearly drove the government into financial default.

    Attempts to inject new or additional stimulus into the economy got caught up in the legislative battles over the budget when Republicans insisted on offsetting the costs with other spending cuts. Whether larger or longer stimulus would have helped the economy recover faster remained a controversy that economists—and politicians of every stripe—continued to debate. What seemed clear is that after four years the two parties seemed no closer—and perhaps even farther apart—on resolving their differences over the role of government in the nation's economy.

    Taxes and budget policy. Even though the 111th Congress in the first two years of Obama's presidency passed historic legislation, including overhauls of the nation's health care and financial regulation systems and the largest economic stimulus program ever enacted, by the end of Obama's first term legislators were more likely to be remembered for the deep partisan disputes over federal spending and tax policy that at times threatened to shut down the government and even throw it into default. Although last-minute compromises averted these disasters, they failed to resolve the underlying issues.

    The gridlock on federal spending and tax policy flowed from both economic and political factors. The immediate causes grew out of the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent economic recession. The resulting decline in tax receipts and jump in federal spending on safety net programs and other emergency measures led to a near tripling of the federal budget deficit in fiscal 2009 to $1.4 trillion.

    But political issues, and fundamental differences between Democrats and Republicans about government action, greatly complicated resolution of the economic problems, including a soaring public deficit. Over three decades the two parties had grown more and more polarized over their differing views on taxes, spending, and the role of government. Broadly speaking, Democrats favored government intervention in the marketplace in an effort to ensure fair treatment for producers, workers, and consumers and to provide safety nets to the less privileged. Republicans in contrast supported smaller government, preferring less regulation, taxation, and spending.

    On a deeper level, Democrats and Republicans were engaged in a long-standing debate about the proper distribution of the federal tax burden across income levels, and—by extension—over income and wealth inequality in American society. Democrats consistently tried to provide tax cuts for lower- and middle-income taxpayers and raise taxes on the wealthiest 1 percent to 2 percent of the population. Republicans, in turn, accused Democrats of “class warfare” and pointed to studies suggesting that roughly 50 percent of Americans did not have to pay income tax (although most workers paid Social Security taxes, plus state and local taxes including sales and property taxes for home owners and, indirectly, renters as well).

    Trade policy. Trade policy was not a top priority issue during Obama's first term but Congress did take important actions. Legislators in 2011 endorsed three trade pacts—one with South Korea, a major U.S. trading partner; the others, both smaller in scope, with Colombia and Panama. All three agreements were initially negotiated during George W. Bush's presidency and then renegotiated by the Obama administration to include stronger protections for labor and the environment. The agreements passed handily, but only after Congress resolved a difficult and related dispute over extending expanded trade adjustment assistance for displaced workers.

    Congress at the end of 2012 approved legislation establishing permanent normal trade relations with Russia. The removal of decades-old trade restrictions—originally intended to protest human rights violations by the Soviet Union but kept in place for two decades after the collapse of Soviet communism—was expected to lead to expanded commerce between the two countries.

    Over Republican objections, Congress also reauthorized the Export-Import Bank, which provided direct loans, financing, and loan guarantees to support the export of American goods and services. Obama had made the legislation a high priority because it supported U.S. jobs.

    Chapter 3 Homeland Security

    Even though candidate Obama repeatedly criticized the policies of the incumbent Bush, faulting the outgoing president on both domestic and international security issues, once in office Obama's actions on homeland security were not significantly different overall, as he continued many Bush administration policies opposed by civil libertarians and privacy advocates. The new president pursued different courses from Bush in various areas, but many of the homeland security–related arguments that began on Capitol Hill during the Bush years were refought again with Obama in the White House.

    The Obama administration faced a myriad of issues, ranging from border security to cybersecurity to an extension of the controversial Patriot Act. During Obama's first term, the country also had to deal with natural and human-caused disasters including a massive oil spill off the Gulf Coast in 2010 and Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast in 2012.

    In Congress lawmakers confronted a variety of issues on national security. Legislators eventually extended three controversial provisions in the Patriot Act. Congress increased funding for security along the U.S. border with Mexico, in part because of increased violence in Mexico from drug wars. Lawmakers extended warrantless wiretapping provisions that prompted heated debate. In addition, they considered but did not in every case resolve issues ranging from Coast Guard funding to cybersecurity to security at chemical plants.

    Chapter 4 Foreign Policy

    Obama came onto the world stage as a celebrity president, a man with almost rock-star drawing power that got him a respectful, often adoring, hearing in his early international travels. But as the new president, with little international experience, began dealing with tough global challenges, much of that warm-and-fuzzy aura wore away. By the end of his first term, Obama was struggling to keep up with a bewildering number of foreign crises or near-crises. Back home, he often faced harsh criticism, though little direct action in terms of legislation, from hostile Republicans in Congress who insisted he had diminished American influence in the world.

    Obama appeared to have two new priorities on his agenda: softening the world's image of the United States, which had been tarnished by the often-brusque behavior of the preceding Bush administration, especially with the invasion and occupation of Iraq that began in 2003; and a “pivot” toward a greater focus on U.S. interests in Asia, largely as a means of restraining China's influence as it became a global economic, and eventually strategic, superpower.

    If there was one big global surprise during Obama's first term, it came from a totally unexpected place: the Arab world. Popular protests against corrupt, autocratic governments began in Tunisia in December 2010 and quickly spread across North Africa and into the Arabian peninsula and the eastern Mediterranean. The protests became known as the “Arab Spring” or the “Arab Awakening.”

    Chapter 5 Defense Policy

    President Obama's first term appeared to mark a transition period for the U.S. defense establishment after the long wars and massive buildup of his predecessor, President Bush. The winding down of U.S. military involvement in Iraq, a temporary “surge” of U.S. forces in Afghanistan before a planned withdrawal in 2014, and the early stages of defense spending cuts mandated by Congress all suggested that the military and its missions might look substantially different—and certainly leaner—in the years to come.

    Perhaps the gravest warning sign for the Pentagon was the congressional inability, or unwillingness, to shield it (and related national security agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency) from across-the-board budget cuts that newly empowered conservative Republicans demanded throughout the government.

    A government-wide budget deal negotiated in 2011 called for reducing previously projected defense spending by $487 billion over the following decade (a cut of about 9 percent, according to some estimates). More immediately, 2011 budget legislation included the Pentagon in potential across-the-board spending cuts, known as the “sequester.” Few expected when the deal was negotiated that the sequester cuts actually would go into effect, but it did when an expected broader agreement on spending did not emerge.

    Congress delayed the mandatory sequester cuts until March 2013 but failed to prevent them from going into effect, thus subjecting most Pentagon spending for the remainder of fiscal 2013 to an across-the-board cut of 7.8 percent. The Pentagon made thousands of cutbacks in response, including furloughing all of its 800,000 civilian employees for twenty-two days.

    Despite the cuts, the Congressional Budget Office estimated early in 2013 that defense spending would continue to grow through the remainder of the decade, but at a much lower rate than in previous years and likely below the level of inflation.

    Chapter 6 Transportation, Commerce, and Communications

    Transportation and communication issues were recurring themes during President Obama's first term, but legislative efforts had mixed results as the White House and Congress focused primarily on combating the economic recession.

    Obama promoted infrastructure and highway projects as an avenue for job creation, and they became one of the cornerstones of a $787.2 billion economic stimulus package early in the 111th Congress. Lawmakers and the administration also offered the struggling automobile industry additional relief through a short-term auto trade-in program dubbed “cash for clunkers.” But lawmakers were not so quick to embrace other initiatives, and negotiations continued for months or, in several cases, years.

    Lawmakers attempting to complete long-term reauthorizations of laws governing surface transportation programs and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) frequently were frustrated as Obama placed a higher priority on overhauling laws governing financial services and health care and—for a time—on legislation to control climate change. That left little time, energy, or political capital to move other broad measures.

    Although it took some time, Congress eventually passed a twenty-seven-month highway reauthorization bill and a four-year FAA reauthorization as a sign of bipartisan cooperation. But those laws ultimately were criticized for not resolving several major issues and providing patchwork solutions to problems. The final highway measure, for example, avoided resolving long-term funding for the highway fund. Obama also had to relinquish hope for two of his major initiatives in the second session of Congress: high-speed rail and a national infrastructure bank.

    The Obama administration also came into office in January 2009 with several priorities in telecommunications, including implementation of a rule on “network neutrality”—a concept to essentially ensure equal access to the Internet for all consumers and content providers—that regulators issued over congressional Republican objections. It sought to subsidize broadband access in rural areas and to limit how much telecommunication companies could charge for access to high-speed lines. These issues remained unresolved.

    Chapter 7 Energy and Environment

    National elections in 2008 were initially seen as foreshadowing a dramatic shift from the environmental and energy policies of the administration of President Bush. Whereas Bush had ties to the oil and gas industry, Obama spoke often of the need for more “green-collar” jobs and a greater reliance on emerging renewable and solar energy policies. He promised to begin combating climate change, which he characterized as one of the major challenges facing society, and put a greater stress on ensuring clean air and water.

    Democratic lawmakers and the new president won a major, and early, victory in 2009. A sweeping economic stimulus package contained tens of billions of dollars in initiatives designed to increase energy efficiency and boost renewable energy industries. These included provisions to make the electric grid more reliable, provide loan guarantees and grants for renewable energy generation and transmission, help Americans make their homes more energy-efficient, and develop technologies to reduce dependence on foreign oil.

    Republicans warned that the provisions would interfere with the free market and plunge the government deeper into debt. But supporters said the proposals would not only put the United States on a more sustainable path but were also critical to helping the nation recover from the deep economic recession and compete globally.

    The stimulus, however, was the Democrats’ high-water mark on energy and environmental issues, partly because legislative activity focused on immediate economic recovery and health care reform. But an equally important reason throughout Obama's first term was that the most prominent issue on the environmental agenda was climate change. The notion of regulating greenhouse gases proved deeply unpopular with many in Congress, especially conservatives and members from states and districts with a strong reliance on the coal industry. Once Republicans won control of the House in 2010 elections, Obama's environmental agenda was essentially dead because most members in the GOP caucus were fundamentally hostile to its key parts.

    Energy legislation fared no better. In June 2009, a Senate committee approved a bipartisan measure, seen as a component of the climate bill, that would have sharply increased electricity generated from renewable sources, opened vast new areas of the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling, and made it easier to site power transmission lines. But it died along with climate legislation.

    Chapter 8 Agricultural Policy

    The four years of President Obama's first term were unproductive on agricultural legislation. Congress unsuccessfully attempted to pass a major five-year farm bill in 2012. Although the Senate approved the legislation in June 2012, it fell victim to political battles in the House and did not make it to the floor for a vote. Many farm-related programs were extended through October 1, 2013, as part of a last-minute deal, approved in January 2013. (The complete farm law was finally extended in early 2014.)

    The five-year bill was designed to replace the previous multiyear farm bill, which was set to expire on September 30, 2012.

    A major controversy in the 2012 farm bill involved the food stamp program, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). At a time of escalating controversy over spending and budget deficits some members, notably conservative Republicans, sought steep funding cuts in the program. Food stamp supporters argued that especially during tough economic times the program's funding should not be slashed.

    A new food safety law, signed by President Obama on January 4, 2011, was perhaps the most significant agriculture-related legislation enacted during this period. The law gave new authority to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate food products. Among the FDA's new powers were the ability to call for mandatory food recalls, to install a more effective system to track food and trace sources of food-borne illnesses, to inspect food facilities on the basis of risk, and to increase oversight of imported food.

    Chapter 9 Health and Human Services

    Health issues—and legislation—along with economic recovery measures characterized President Obama's first term in the White House.

    Although he had more than a few difficulties with Congress in his four years he will be remembered as a president who succeeded in passing a major health overhaul, placing him alongside Lyndon B. Johnson, who saw enactment of Medicare in the 1960s.

    It was not pretty. In fact, it was downright ugly at times. But as Obama himself pointed out, the bill he signed March 23, 2010, came “after almost a century of trying.”

    Republicans, however, rode doubts about even the health law to electoral victory, reclaiming the House in the 2010 elections. But Democrats retained control of the Senate, and thus managed to fend off repeated GOP efforts through the 112th Congress to repeal or otherwise undermine the nascent health law.

    But while the health overhaul was center stage during all four years of Obama's first term, when it came to other health issues Congress did manage to pass important legislation. For example, early in 2009, Congress for the first time approved legislation to give the Food and Drug Administration the power to regulate tobacco products. Like the health overhaul, it was the culmination of a battle that had raged for decades and had pitted health advocates against powerful moneyed interests: growers, manufacturers, and sellers of tobacco products.

    The fully Democratic-controlled 111th Congress, with a Democratic president, also managed in 2009 to do what its predecessor tried and failed to do: expand the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

    For the first time, Congress managed to reauthorize the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program in 2009 without the usual regional and urban-rural clashes that had slowed earlier renewal efforts. The program, first passed at the height of the nation's AIDS epidemic in 1990, provided funding to states and cities for services and medications for those with AIDS and HIV and to prevent the further spread of the virus.

    One major health policy item Congress did not solve during the four years, however, was to fix a continuing problem with the way doctors were paid under the Medicare program. A glitch created by a 1997 budget bill required Congress to repeatedly do a so-called “doc fix” to prevent doctors from getting a 21 percent pay cut that lawmakers feared and doctors threatened could have jeopardized seniors’ ability to find physicians to care for them.

    Chapter 10 Education Policy

    On one of the most controversial and important education issues—reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind law, a signature piece of legislation for former President Bush—Congress struck out during the four years of Obama's first term. Complaints about the new law, which for the first time tied federal education aid to improvements in students’ test scores, emerged early after its enactment in 2002, spread across the political spectrum, and never went away. But a clear path to fixing the measure proved elusive.

    In March 2011, President Obama challenged Congress to rewrite the law by the start of the fall school year. Key Senate and House members promised swift action but reauthorization of the law, which had expired in 2007, did not occur. Little expectation existed that the job would be completed in 2012, during a presidential election year, and no meaningful progress was made. A hyperpartisan atmosphere, philosophical differences, and powerful stakeholder lobbying, for example, from teachers unions, stymied congressional efforts.

    The most noteworthy education policy-related action taken by the 111th Congress was removing the federal government from the business of guaranteeing student loans offered by private lenders. Lawmakers also provided funding to state and local governments to avert teacher layoffs. A new competitive grant program called Race to the Top sought to improve and reform the educational system.

    The 112th Congress, while unable to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act, did roll back a scheduled student loan interest rate increase, authorized funding for a federal school voucher program in the District of Columbia, and kept the budget ax from falling heavily on the Pell grant program for college expenses.

    Chapter 11 Housing and Urban Aid

    Housing policy remained a high priority in President Obama's first term as the ravages of the deep recession that started two years earlier continued to threaten a huge swath of American homeowners and devastated the nation's home-building industry.

    In the aftermath of the housing market collapse from the recession, the 111th Congress helped alleviate some borrowers’ worries by allowing easier access to mortgage modifications and by increasing federal deposit insurance coverage. Lawmakers also twice extended a tax credit for first-time homebuyers and created a credit for existing homeowners who bought a new home. The 112th Congress, with bitter partisanship growing after Republicans took control of the House, was less active in housing policy. The House passed bills to terminate some federal mortgage aid programs and to establish minimum annual premiums for mortgage insurance offered by the Federal Housing Administration, but none was taken up for consideration by the Senate. Congress did clear legislation to curtail the sale of unsafe drywall for use in building construction.

    Chapter 12 Labor and Pensions

    Organized labor fared much less well than they had hoped during President Obama's first term in the White House, disappointing leaders who had put union muscle behind Democratic campaigns.

    Initially, labor's priorities meshed well with those of the new administration, primarily in the economic stimulus law that Obama and Democratic leaders pushed through Congress early in 2009. The stimulus law, signed on the heels of passage of a long-sought measure aimed at helping workers sue employers for wage discrimination, provided hope to labor unions that the party then controlling both the executive and legislative branches could move forward on a range of other priorities.

    But Democrats’ success on subsequent initiatives was more limited than labor had hoped because Congress faced continuing pressure to rein in federal spending and Republicans, who took control of the House in the 112th Congress beginning in 2011, pushed back against costly proposals and sought to unravel what they viewed as cumbersome regulations throughout government, including labor rules.

    However, Obama and Democrats did achieve several extensions of unemployment benefits for workers still unable to find jobs. They repeatedly beat back GOP attempts to offset the cost and eventually extended benefits up to ninety-nine weeks.

    Democrats also helped the long-term unemployed by including in the economic stimulus law a subsidy to help individuals and families cover premiums for health care under a federal law called COBRA, although that subsidy eventually was eliminated in budget negotiations. The stimulus law and other legislation also continued aid to workers who either lost their jobs or faced reduced hours and wages as a result of trade agreements.

    Chapter 13 Law and Justice

    Congressional action on law and justice issues during Obama's first term largely fell into two categories. Several significant pieces of legislation that had previously resisted legislative solution were cleared by Congress and signed by the president, either because they enjoyed bipartisan support or because Democrats, using their majorities in the 111th Congress during 2009–2010, were able to force them through. But other issues, particularly immigration, proved far too divisive to advance.

    In 2009, Democrats pushed through two priorities. The first was a labor priority to make it easier for workers to file wage discrimination lawsuits against their employers. The second was an expansion of federal hate crimes law to include crimes against people because of their sexual orientation, gender, or disability.

    Despite diminished numbers, conservatives also scored some victories. Republicans, joined by a number of Democrats, repeatedly blocked the administration's efforts to close the U.S. detainee facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Lawmakers attached provisions to several of the annual spending bills that placed restrictions on moving the prisoners and on shuttering the detention center. Republicans and pro–gun rights Democrats also came together successfully in 2009 to attach a provision to credit card legislation that would allow loaded firearms into national parks.

    Although the chambers were controlled by different parties in the 112th Congress, legislators in some ways became more productive on law and justice issues.

    Lawmakers achieved a longstanding goal by clearing a bipartisan overhaul of federal patent law—an issue that had eluded resolution for years. They then managed a four-year extension of three provisions of the antiterrorism law known as the Patriot Act, despite the concerns of a number of lawmakers on the left and right. In the closing days of the 112th Congress, the House and Senate worked to give an important victory to Obama and Senate Intelligence Chair Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., by clearing a five-year renewal of a post–September 11 foreign intelligence law.

    In addition, the Senate confirmed President Obama's two nominations to fill Supreme Court vacancies, both with relatively little rancor because the two new justices were widely seen as fully qualified and because their addition to the court did not alter its generally conservative judicial philosophy.

    Chapter 14 General Government

    Congress considered an array of legislation on issues as widely varying as disaster relief and federal employees.

    The natural disaster that became known as Superstorm Sandy, which hit the East Coast in October 2012, raised once again the federal government's approach to budgeting for such events. Typically, Congress funded federal emergency efforts at a low level but then had to provide huge amounts when disaster struck, which it did with Sandy's devastating effects on coastal states—especially New Jersey and New York.

    But many other lower-profile issues went before Congress. Legislators in 2009 terminated the National Security Personnel System (NSPS), a merit-based pay plan for the Department of Defense civilian workforce established in 2003 on grounds that it was an exceptionally poorly constructed effort to motivate federal works. In 2010 Congress imposed a freeze on pay for most federal civilian employees for two years, from January 1, 2011, to December 31, 2012, later extended to the end of 2013.

    Legislation also was approved authorizing $58.4 billion for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for fiscal 2011 through 2013. It directed NASA to retain its shuttle-related workforce through fiscal 2011, but it also authorized the agency to foster the development of commercial capabilities in keeping with the Obama administration's push to shift the U.S. human spaceflight program toward commercial carriers.

    Congress in 2010 cleared legislation aimed at reducing the overclassification of information and promoting the sharing of unclassified information.

    Chapter 15 Inside Congress

    Entrenched partisanship was reflected in members’ inability to find common ground on issues and to fashion legislative solutions to the nation's problems. It also served to change the way Congress as an institution has functioned. The changes, which had evolved over time, included vastly reduced use of conference committees to resolve Senate-House differences, the extension of the Senate filibuster to require—in effect—a supermajority of sixty votes to pass anything, and the expansion of secret holds by unnamed senators to block consideration of legislation.

    Although both chambers initiated or continued a raft of ethics violations, most led nowhere, with members facing questions about their conduct being cleared. One investigation, however, was different. The House, for the first time since 1983, imposed the punishment of censure on one of its own—the amiable chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y. While the litany of wrongdoing was long, Rangel maintained that the evidence against him showed no corruption and no acts for personal gain.

    Congress also experienced a rare event in an attempted assassination of a sitting member. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a three-term Arizona Democrat, was speaking to constituents outside a supermarket in Tucson on January 8, 2011, when a gunman open fire on the crowd. Severely wounded in the head, Giffords survived the assassination attempt that killed six and injured thirteen others. The shooting was the first serious physical assault on a sitting member of Congress since the November 1978 killing of Rep. Leo J. Ryan, D-Calif., on an airstrip in Guyana just before the Jonestown massacre.

    Congress reacted swiftly to a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (558 U.S. 310) that struck down provisions of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (commonly known as McCain-Feingold, after its congressional sponsors) prohibiting corporations and unions from making independent political expenditures. However, with deep divides between the parties, no legislation to soften or reverse the decision cleared.

    Chapter 16 The Obama Presidency

    This chapter examines the election of Sen. Barack Obama, of Illinois, as the forty-fourth president of the United States and the major events of the four years of his first term in office, leading to his reelection in 2012.

    The appendix contains a variety of supplementary material, including Senate and House key votes (highlighted in boldface in the legislative chapters) during the four-year period, with charts showing how each member voted; a glossary of congressional terms; an explanation of how a bill becomes law; lists of committee and subcommittee chairs; biographical data on members of Congress between 2009 and 2013; presidential vetoes; and major presidential speeches and messages to Congress and elsewhere. In addition, the appendix includes extensive political charts, including presidential, House, Senate, and gubernatorial election returns for the period. Other tables record members who died or switched parties and special elections that were held. Finally, the appendix includes a complete list of public laws enacted during the four years.

    Contributors

    This volume has been prepared under the direction of editors at CQ Press, an imprint of SAGE Publications Inc. The chapters and the appendices were prepared and edited by a group of veteran reporters, many of whom covered Congress for Congressional Quarterly Inc. and other Washington, D.C., news organizations. The principal contributors were John Felton, Martha Gottron, David Hosansky, Kenneth Jost, Deborah Kalb, Christina Lyons, Colleen McGuiness, Julie Rovner, and David R. Tarr, who also served as volume editor for this edition. Judy Schneider and Michael Koempel at the Congressional Research Service in the Library of Congress reviewed, corrected, and expanded the glossary of legislative terms that appears in the appendix.

    At SAGE Publications developmental editors Diana Axelsen and Carole Maurer made numerous useful suggestions to improve the manuscript. Editing and production at Sage was under the direction of Eric Garner and was ably shepherded through by Olivia Weber-Stenis. The manuscript was expertly edited by Jon Preimesberger. The index to the volume was prepared by Sheila Bodell. Doug Goldenberg-Hart at CQ Press and Jim Brace-Thompson at SAGE were the sponsoring editors.

    CQ Press editors also wish to express their thanks to those dedicated reporters and editors on the CQ Weekly magazine and the CQ Almanac for their assistance in preparation of this edition.

  • Index to Legislation by Public Law Number

    The following index is a supplement to the primary index for the volume. It is organized by the public law number for legislation enacted by the 111th Congress and the 112th Congress between 2009 and 2013. Congress in recent years has approved many bills on different subjects using a single piece of legislation. This index will help a reader who knows a public law number locate material in different parts of the volume. For example, PL 111-5 below included provisions on economic stimulus, education, homebuyer assistance, unemployment compensation, and executive pay.

    LegislationPublic law NumberNumber Page
    Ineligibility Clause111-1684
    Employment wage-gender discrimination111-2528
    Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)111-3445
    Economic stimulus111-561, 76, 78, 114, 386, 478
    Race to the Top111-5480
    Homebuyer tax credit111-579, 503
    Unemployment compensation extension 2009111-5519
    Executive pay111-5530
    Fiscal 2009 omnibus appropriations111-8114, 119
    Fiscal 2009 State-foreign operations funding111-8232
    District of Columbia school vouchers111-8481
    Congressional pay freeze 2010111-8683
    Public lands111-11374
    Community service programs111-13604
    Mortgage relief assistance111-2276, 79, 500
    Defense acquisition rules111-23267
    Credit card restrictions111-2484
    Firearms on federal lands111-24559
    Patent law overhaul111-29561, 568
    Tobacco regulation111-31448
    Fiscal 2009 second supplemental appropriations111-3276, 122, 233
    Fiscal 2009 war supplemental111-32269
    Cash for clunkers111-3279, 321
    Highway trust fund money111-46324
    Unemployment compensation funding extension through 2009111-46519
    Cash for clunkers program extension111-4779, 321, 324
    Congressional pay freeze 2011111-65112
    Fiscal 2010 legislative branch appropriations/continuing resolution111-68114, 128
    Chemical plant security111-68212
    Surface transportation authorization111-68326
    Postal service retiree benefit111-68601
    Online disclosure of Senate expenditures111-68650
    FAA reauthorization111-69331
    Pakistan aid authorization111-73236
    Fiscal 2010 agriculture appropriations111-80128, 412
    Veterans health programs111-81280
    Fiscal 2010 homeland security appropriations111-83129, 209
    Chemical plant security111-83212
    Fiscal 2010 defense authorization111-84273
    Minimum wage: Guam construction workers111-84530
    Hate crimes111-84553
    Merit-based pay plan111-84600
    Fiscal 2010 energy, water appropriations111-85128
    Strategic Petroleum Reserve oil sources111-85241
    Ryan White AIDS reauthorization111-87452
    Fiscal 2010 Interior, environment appropriations; continuing resolution111-88114, 129
    Surface transportation authorization111-88326
    Fiscal 2010 Interior and environment Funds111-88382
    Homebuyer tax credit111-9279, 503
    Unemployment compensation benefits expansion, 2009111-9276, 521
    FAA reauthorization extension111-116331
    Fiscal 2010 omnibus appropriations111-117127, 130
    Export-Import credits for Iran suppliers111-117241
    Fiscal 2010 State-foreign operations funding111-117243
    Fiscal 2010 military construction appropriations111-117284
    District of Columbia school vouchers111-117127, 243, 481
    Minimum wage in U.S. territories111-117529
    Fiscal 2010 defense appropriations111-118133
    Patriot Act two-month extension at end of 2009111-118208
    Fiscal 2010 defense appropriations111-118280
    Surface transportation authorization111-118326
    Medicare physician payments through February 28, 2010111-118450, 451
    Unemployment compensation extension to February 28, 2010111-118521
    COBRA subsidy first extension111-118525
    Apology to native Americans111-118617
    Debt ceiling increase, 2009111-123114, 134
    Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorabilia111-138615
    Debt ceiling increase, 2010111-139141
    Budget enforcement rules: PAYGO111-139114, 142
    Patriot Act one year extension through February 28, 2011111-141208
    Social Security lawsuits111-142565
    Medicare physician payments through March 31, 2010111-144450, 451
    Unemployment compensation extension to April 2010111-144522
    COBRA subsidy second extension111-144526
    Surface transportation authorization111-147327
    Job creation and protection111-14776, 85, 527
    Health care overhaul111-148421
    Indian health service111-148617
    Health care law changes111-152421, 436, 476
    Federal student loans111-152476, 479
    Medicare physician payments through May 31, 2010111-157450, 452
    Unemployment compensation extension to June 2010111-157522
    COBRA subsidy third extension111-157526
    FAA reauthorization extension111-161331
    Deceptive use of Census111-170614
    Administrative changes to federal courts111-174566
    Satellite and cable programming111-175335
    Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund111-191376
    Medicare physician payments through November 30, 2010111-192450, 452
    Iran sanctions111-195238
    FAA reauthorization extension111-197331
    Formaldehyde emissions111-199379
    TARP program terminated111-20378
    Financial regulation overhaul111-20362, 68, 76, 88, 105
    Drywall safety111-203508
    Shareholder, SEC oversight of executive pay111-20398, 532
    Improper payments elimination111-204612, 634
    Unemployment compensation extension to November 30, 2010111-205523
    Law enforcement on tribal lands111-211563
    Fiscal 2010 war supplemental appropriations111-212138, 286
    FAA reauthorization extension111-216332
    Airline safety, pilot training111-216332
    Penalties for crack cocaine111-220562
    Teachers, Medicaid supplemental appropriations111-22676, 140
    Medical, education spending111-22676, 453
    Education jobs fund111-22676, 479, 480
    Border security supplemental appropriations111-230139
    Border security funding111-230212
    Small business assistance111-24076, 102
    Fiscal 2011 appropriations first continuing resolution111-242138
    FAA reauthorization extension111-249332
    Information over-classification111-258613
    Fiscal 2010 intelligence authorization111-259245
    E-reader accessibility111-260479
    NASA reauthorization111-267605
    Plain writing111-274613
    Medicare physician payments through December 31, 2010111-286450, 452
    Fiscal 2011 appropriations two week continuing resolution111-290138
    Legal settlements: American Indians, black farmers111-291413, 555
    Temporary Assistance for Needy Families TANF111-291556
    Federal teleworking111-292601
    Haitian children111-293565
    Animal crush videos111-294562
    Child nutrition111-296465
    Medicare physician payments extension through 2011111-309450, 452
    Employee payroll tax cut111-31277, 108
    Bush-era tax cuts extended111-31266, 76, 114, 144
    Estate taxes111-312146
    Tax breaks extension111-31266, 76, 147
    Unemployment compensation extension through 2011111-31276, 524
    ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ repeal111-321289
    Fiscal 2011 appropriations extension to March 4, 2011111-322138
    State Department authorization bill111-322241
    Yucca Mountain nuclear waste111-322377
    Fannie, Freddie mortgage guarantees111-322503
    Federal worker pay freeze111-322600
    FAA reauthorization extension111-329332
    Caller ID spoofing111-331563
    Trade preference extensions111-334194
    Internet schemes111-345563
    Government agencies efficiency111-352612
    Food Safety111-353409
    America COMPETES Act reauthorization111-358607
    Lead pipes111-380378
    Fiscal 2011 defense authorization111-383291
    Surface transportation authorization112-2344
    Fiscal 2011 appropriations continuing resolution to March 18, 2011112-4151
    Fiscal 2011 appropriations continuing resolution to April 8, 2011112-6121, 151
    Fiscal 2011 appropriations continuing resolution to April 15, 2011112-8151, 152
    Tax reporting requirement112-9169, 456
    Health law reporting requirement repeal112-9169, 456
    Fiscal 2011 omnibus appropriations112-10115, 150, 152
    Fiscal 2011 State-foreign operations funding112-10248, 249
    Fiscal 2011 defense appropriations112-10295, 296
    Fiscal 2011 military construction-VA appropriations112-10297
    Fiscal 2011 Interior and environmental funds112-10401
    Pell college grants112-10486
    District of Columbia school vouchers112-10481
    Constellation space program112-10626
    Patriot Act extension112-14214
    FAA reauthorization extension112-16351
    Fiscal 2011 intelligence authorization112-18250
    Federal employee intelligence leaks112-18622
    FAA reauthorization extension112-21351
    Debt limit increase, Budget Control Act112-25115, 160
    Balanced budget amendment112-25167
    Stafford loan limits112-25486
    Unsubsidized college loan limits112-25486
    FAA reauthorization extension112-27351
    Fiscal 2012 appropriations continuing resolutions112-33115, 168, 170
    Fiscal 2012 appropriations continuing resolutions112-36115, 168
    Trade Adjustment Assistance-GPS extension112-4077, 199
    Korea trade pact112-41196
    Trade preference extensions112-42194
    Colombia trade pact112-42197
    Panama trade pact112-43198
    Fiscal 2012 appropriations continuing resolution112-55115, 168, 170
    Fiscal 2012 ‘Minibus’ appropriations; COPS program112-55115, 170, 575
    Nutrition program112-55468
    Fiscal 2012 appropriations: Commerce-Justice-science112-55572
    Job creation legislation112-56106
    Contractor tax withholding repeal112-56106, 169, 630
    Peace Corps volunteer protection112-57624
    Fiscal 2012 appropriations continuing resolutions112-67168, 170
    Fiscal 2012 appropriations continuing resolutions112-68168, 170
    Fiscal 2012 omnibus appropriations112-74116, 172, 670
    Fiscal 2012 State-foreign operations funding112-74252
    Fiscal 2012 defense appropriations112-74304
    Fiscal 2012 Interior and environmental funding112-74402
    Pell college grants maximum grant level112-74487
    Race to the Top funding112-74492, 494
    Disaster assistance funding112-77176
    Employee payroll tax cut112-7877, 108,
    Industrial boilers regulation112-78388
    Keystone pipeline112-78390
    Medical physician payments to March 2012112-78463
    Unemployment compensation extension to March 2012112-7877, 535
    Iran Central Bank, financial institutions112-81241
    Fiscal 2012 defense authorization112-81299
    Pipeline safety112-90401
    FAA reauthorization extension112-91351
    FAA reauthorization112-95349
    Rail and aviation union elections112-95539
    Keystone pipeline112-96390
    Medicare physician payments through 2012112-96463
    Unemployment compensation extension through 2012112-9677, 536
    Pension rules112-96542
    Federal workforce pensions112-96621
    STOCK Act for members of Congress112-105665
    Small business regulation eased112-106110
    Export-Import bank reauthorization112-122200
    Drug traffickers112-127580
    Surface transportation authorization112-141340
    Environmental regulation on transportation112-141386
    Federal student loans112-141485
    Rural schools112-141491
    National Flood Insurance112-141610, 624
    Food and Drug Administration user fees112-144460
    Minimum wages: American Samoa workers112-149541
    Iran sanctions112-158255
    Trade measures package112-163200
    Senate confirmations112-166669
    Fiscal 2013 appropriations continuing resolution112-175115, 180
    Fiscal 2013 appropriations roundup112-175181
    Fiscal 2013 State-foreign operations funding112-175258
    Fiscal 2013 defense appropriations112-175312
    Race to the Top funding112-175492, 494
    Federal worker pay freeze112-175621, 622
    Congressional pay freeze 2012112-175685
    Mark Twain commemorative coin112-201629
    Child pornography112-206581
    Russian trade normalization112-208201
    Coast Guard reauthorization112-213218
    Privileged information clarification112-215105
    Hatch Act modernization112-230622
    FISA extension112-238215
    Iran sanctions112-239257
    Fiscal 2013 defense authorization112-239307
    Fiscal cliff112-24067, 77, 115, 185
    Trade adjustment assistance extension112-240199
    Farm legislation extension112-240414
    Health care: tax reporting, CLASS Act repeal112-240456
    Consumer owned and oriented plans repeal112-240457
    Medicare physician payments through 2013112-240464
    Unemployment compensation extension through 2013112-24077, 537
    Federal worker pay/sequestration112-24077, 622
    Congressional pay freeze 2013112-240685
    Drywall safety112-266511
    Trade secrets112-269580
    Fiscal 2013 intelligence authorization112-277254
    Superstorm Sandy supplemental funding113-1189, 625, 626
    Superstorm Sandy supplemental funding113-2189, 625, 626
    Federal worker pay113-6622

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