Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Someday Voters will take a look at the Work Legislators Do or Don't Do, before they Vote

Bills Left Behind (House Remix)

September 13, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

There’s been a lot of attention paid to the 372 bills that have been passed by the House this session, but are dying in the Senate because of record filibustering and divisiveness. But did you know that the House is sitting on their own stack of unfinished legislation? According to an original research from OpenCongress research assistant Hilary Worden, the Senate has passed 44 bills that are still awaiting follow-up action from the House.
All but two of these bills were passed by unanimous consent in the Senate, which suggests that the House could take care of most of them quickly (likely under suspensino of the rules) if they decided they wanted to. Furthermore, seven of them have corresponding House versions that have actually been passed and are awaiting reconciliaton from a conference committee or further action from one chamber. (Note: the D.C. voting rights bill has stalled in the House because of a controversial gun amendment that was added to it when it was debated in the Senate.)
Take a look at the 44 bills on our wiki. Nothing in the list is explicitly related to the big media-friendly issues, but they are serious proposals that would have big effects on segments of the population. They deal with things like simplifying the international adoption process (S.1376), banning prisoners from using cell phones (S.251), reducing delays in Freedom of Information requests (S.3111), and making telecommunications technologies accessible for the blind and deaf (S.3304). This stuff may not be on par with the economic issues Congress is trying to take on right now, but given that it could be finished in a matter of hours, some of it is probably worthy of attention from the House before this session of Congress ends and the legislative slate is completely reset.

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