What Do You Want the Lame Duck Congress to Do?

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson

The Hill, a blog for government junkies like me, lists 372 bills passed by the House that had not yet come to the Senate floor as of August 23, 2010. Now that the final session of the 111th Congress is about to convene, I thought it might be fun to fantasize about some of these bills coming to the Senate floor. Do you think the Party-of-No crowd would dare threaten to filibuster them?

I doubt soon-to-become-former Majority Leader Harry Reid will let any of these see the light of day, but it would make great fodder for the 2012 election to list those who joined in preventing consideration of, say, a bill protecting seniors from abuse, or providing job security for wounded veterans. How about filibustering an Amber Alert-like program that helps families find their Alzheimer’s-afflicted relatives who go wandering in the woods, or farther, a common characteristic of this disease.

H.R. 448, Elder Abuse Victims Act

To protect seniors in the United States from elder abuse by establishing specialized elder abuse prosecution and research programs and activities to aid victims of elder abuse, to provide training to prosecutors and other law enforcement related to elder abuse prevention and protection, to establish programs that provide for emergency crisis response teams to combat elder abuse, and for other purposes.

H.R. 23, Belated Thank You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act

To amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish the Merchant Mariner Equity Compensation Fund to provide benefits to certain individuals who served in the United States merchant marine (including the Army Transport Service and the Naval Transport Service) during World War II.

Cost: less than $1 per American in 2010

H.R. 466, Wounded Veteran Job Security Act

To amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for certain rights and benefits for persons who are absent from positions of employment to receive medical treatment for service-connected disabilities.

Cost: less than $1 per American over the 2010-2014 period.

H.R. 577, Vision Care for Kids Act

To establish a grant program to provide vision care to children, and for other purposes.

Cost: less than $1 per American in 2010.

H.R. 756, National Pain Care Policy Act

To amend the Public Health Service Act with respect to pain care.

Cost: less than $1 per American in 2010.

H.R. 908, Missing Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Alert Program Reauthorization

To amend the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 to reauthorize the Missing Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Alert Program.

Cost: less than $1 per American over the 2011-2015 period.

H.R. 911, Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act

To require certain standards and enforcement provisions to prevent child abuse and neglect in residential programs, and for other purposes.

Cost: $4 per American over the 2010-2014 period

H.R. 1171, Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Reauthorization

A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to reauthorize the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program for fiscal years 2010 through 2014, and for other purposes.

Cost: less than $2 per American over the 2010-2014 period

H.R. 1172, Requiring List on VA Website of Organizations Providing Scholarships for Veterans

To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to include on the Internet website of the Department of Veterans Affairs a list of organizations that provide scholarships to veterans and their survivors.

Cost isn’t calculated, but putting up a list can’t take more than a couple of hundred dollars. A high-school kid could do it.

H.R. 2034, Rural Homeowners Protection Act

To permit refinancing of certain loans under the Rural Housing Service program for guaranteed loans for rural housing, and for other purposes.

Here are a few more the Senate has been too busy to deal with. If you want to know more about them, check here, or here. I’d love it if you’d tell the rest of us your favorites. If you tell me yours, I’ll tell you mine.

H.R. 1469, Child Protection Improvements Act

H.R. 1796, Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act

H.R. 1933, A Child Is Missing Alert and Recovery Center Act

H.R. 2454, American Clean Energy and Security Act

H.R. 3885, Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act

H.R. 3976, Helping Heroes Keep Their Homes Act

H.R. 4247, Keeping All Students Safe Act

H.R. 4505, Enabling State homes to furnish nursing home care to parents any of whose children died while serving in the Armed Forces

H.R. 4810, End Veteran Homelessness Act

H.R. 5320, Assistance, Quality and Affordability Act (Amendments to Safe Drinking Water Act)

H.R. 5481, Giving Subpoena Power to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

H.R. 5712, Veterans’, Seniors’, and Children’s Health Technical Corrections Act

If you haven’t seen enough, the complete list is here.

Don’t hold back. Tell us what you really think.

UPDATE: Here is GovTrack‘s list of bills expected to come to the Senate floor during the lame duck session.

My question still holds. What do you think?

Expected in the Lame Duck Session

  • H.R. 3458, the net neutrality bill, would update the Communications Act of 1934 to set interoperability requirements for Internet Service Providers.
  • H.R. 5175, the DISCLOSE Act, would require additional forms of disclosure of for corporate spending on electioneering.
  • S. 3815, which would promote natural gas and electric vehicles.
  • S. 2827, the Military Families Affordable Homes Act, which would expand the eligibility of military personnel for low-income residential rental housing.
  • S. 510, the food safety bill, which would grant the FDA additional regulatory power to improve food safety.
  • H.R. 1751, the DREAM Act, which would allow aliens to become permanent residents through attending university.
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