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Sunday, November 26, 2006

NGAUS Legislative Update: 11/24/2006

What’s Happening In Congress?
Congress will be in recess for two weeks during the Thanksgiving holiday. The Senate will return on December 4 and the House on December 5. The Senate Armed Services Committee will conduct a confirmation hearing Defense Secretary nominee Robert Gates – Dec. 5. The short term stop-gap fiscal 2007 spending measure will expire on Dec. 8.

New Leaders in the House:
Last week LEGIT reported the results of the Senate leadership elections for both the Democrats and the Republicans. The House caucused late last week with most Democrat races uncontested. Here are the official results from the House of Representatives:

Speaker of the House: Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Democrats:
Majority Leader: Steny Hoyer, Md.
Majority Whip: James E. Clyburn, S.C.
Caucus Chairman: Rahm Emanuel, Ill.
Caucus Vice Chairman: John B. Larson, Conn.

Republicans:
Minority Leader: John A. Boehner, Ohio
Minority Whip: Roy Blunt, Mo.
Conference Chairman: Adam H. Putnam, Fla.
Conference Vice Chairman: Kay Granger, Texas
Conference Secretary: John Carter, Texas
Policy Committee Chairman: Thaddeus McCotter, Mich.
Chairman, National Republican Congressional Committee: Tom Cole, Okla.
Chief Deputy Minority Whip: Eric Cantor, Va.

The Duties of a House Party Leader:
The U.S. Constitution establishes the Speaker of the House as the most senior official of the House of Representatives and the third most senior in the federal government. House rules invest broad-ranging powers to the Speaker, including: presiding over debate in the House, recognizing members for the purpose of speaking or making motions, setting the agenda by determining what and when legislation comes before the House, and deciding points of order. The Speaker of the House also serves as the primary spokesperson for the House of Representatives, and often times the party. The Speaker normally takes the leading role in negotiating with the Senate and the President.

The Majority Leader is the second most senior official in the House. The majority leader’s role has been defined through history and tradition as the day-to-day manager of House business and is responsible for scheduling legislation for floor consideration. The Majority Leader helps plan daily, weekly, and annual legislative goals and works to advance the agenda of the majority party.

The Minority Leader serves as the most senior official in the minority party and the floor leader of the “loyal opposition.” The Minority leader works with the party caucus to set agenda and strategy.

Both the majority and minority party elect whips. The title “whip” comes from a fox hunting expression – “whipper-in” – which refers to the individual responsible for keeping the dogs from straying during a chase. The Party Whips are responsible for counting votes and persuading members to vote along party lines.

For the last 12 years the Republicans have held all of the majority positions and the Democrats all of the minority positions. Beginning in January the positions will be reversed with the Democrats in control. The remaining leadership positions are unique to their respective party.

What’s Happening At NGAUS?

A Weekend at NGAUS.
This past weekend the Board of Directors met in Washington for their annual Winter Meeting. The Board received an extensive legislative update from legislative director, Brig. Gen. (ret) Richard Green, and was asked by the NGAUS Chairman, Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, to assist in identifying qualified individuals to serve on committees and task forces for NGAUS. The next Board of Directors meeting will be in March 2007.

Upcoming Events at NGAUS:
Dec 5: Combat Support Task Force Meeting
Dec 5: Industry Day Mini-Workshop
Dec 6: Industry Day
Dec 6: OIF/OEF Exhibit Opening
Dec 7: Fire Support Task Force Meeting
Jan 16-17: Kentucky State Visit
Jan 21-25: NGEDA Conference
Feb 7-8: Arkansas State Visit
Feb 25 –Mar 1: AGAUS Conference
Mar 5-6: CACO Conference
Mar 9-11: Board of Directors Spring Meeting
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