What happens when the clock strikes 2009?

Now that we’ve passed election season, things are pretty much wrapping up in the legislative branch. The House has already adjourned and will start a new session on January 3, 2009, according to the resolution . The Senate is still in session and will meet this month, but without the House they will probably not push any measures forward.

Congress works in two-year sessions. This is the end of what’s called the 110th Congress

, or the 110th session of Congress since the country began. When Congress resumes in 2009, it’ll be the 111th Congress, filled with several new senators and representatives, new committee assignments, and a clean legislative calendar. Bills don’t carry over from one session to the next, so the numbering begins at one again. We’ll see a new H.R. 1, S. 1, etc. as the legislating begins.

Any bill introduced in 2007-2008 that wasn’t passed has to be formally introduced again next year as a new bill if it’s going to be considered. It’ll start again at the beginning of the committee process. It’s relatively common for Members of Congress to re-introduce some of their unsuccessful bills again.

The President needs to sign any bills presented to him before the Senate adjourns, or those bills die as well, I think.

Not much will be happening at GovTrack until then. I have some changes in the works, but I will hold off on any announcements until the new Congress. Looking forward to seeing you on the flip side!