House faces ambitious agenda this week
This past week, the House of Representatives and Senate adjourned for the Memorial Day district work period. Members from both chambers took this opportunity to return home for some work in their individual states and districts, and I took the opportunity to return to south Alabama and follow-up on some of the important issues before the residents of the First District.
This was only a brief break from the schedule in the nation's capital – a schedule which will only intensify in the weeks leading up to the traditional August district work period. Of major importance on the legislative calendar is the completion of the annual appropriations bills by both houses of Congress.
Unlike past years, this will be the first time since the restructuring of the appropriations subcommittees by the House where we will be working on just 11 spending measures for FY 2006, rather than the traditional 13. Additionally, Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis of California has stated that the full committee will complete work on all 11 bills and bring them to the House floor for a vote by July 4.
That certainly seems an ambitious agenda, and many question whether we can actually meet that goal. To the credit of everyone involved in the appropriations process, we are currently meeting that goal. As of our adjournment two weeks ago, the House has already passed four of the 11 bills: Homeland Security, Energy and Water, Interior, and Military Quality of Life – Veterans Affairs.
The passage of these bills was all the more extraordinary when considering that work on them was completed while simultaneously working on such important pieces of legislation as the FY 2006 National Defense Authorization Act.
There is still a great deal more work awaiting us when we return to Washington later this week, and I look forward as always to having your input and comments on the important issues coming up for review in the House of Representatives.
My staff and I work for the people of south Alabama. Let us know when we can be of service.
Jo Bonner represents Southwest Alabama in the U.S. House of Representatives.