111th Congress Convenes In Washington, D.C.
January 6, 2009
On Jan. 6, 2009, the House and Senate convened for the first session of the 111th Congress. The House re-elected Nancy Pelosi as speaker and voted on a new rules package. Democrats gained 21 seats in the Nov. 4 elections and now hold 256 seats to the Republican’s 178, with one vacancy left by Rahm Emanuel, (D-IL), who will serve as President-elect Barack Obama's White House chief of staff.
The new House rules remove term limits for committee chairmen, recodify the earmarks and ethics reforms from last congress, align the pay-as-you-go requirements with those of the Senate, and allow the linking of bills that do not meet pay-go requirements with other bills that do have the offsets.
In the Senate, legal challenges prevented Democrat Roland W. Burris of Illinois and Democrat Al Franken of Minnesota from being seated until issues can be resolved. In addition, three other senators will soon resign to join the Obama administration; they are Vice President-elect Joe Biden, of Delaware; Secretary of State-designate Hillary Rodham Clinton, from New York; and Interior Secretary-designate Ken Salazar, from Colorado.
Obama is working with leaders in the House and Senate to create a $775 billion stimulus package that includes tax cuts, infrastructure spending and Medicaid funding. Reportedly, $300 billion in tax relief is being considered. The tax relief could include a payroll tax credit ($500 for individuals and $1,000 for couples), a five-year net operating loss (NOL) carryback period, "bonus" depreciation for 2009, enhanced section 179 expensing limits and a tax credit to businesses for new hires.
Prepared Jan. 6, 2009 by Cady North, manager, Government Affairs, Financial Executives International (FEI). This summary does not represent FEI opinion unless specifically noted above.