Longer Recess

Posted December 18, 2007 at 6:35pm

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has decided to give his colleagues an extra week of vacation next month, opting to call the chamber back into business on Jan. 22 rather than on Jan. 15. [IMGCAP(1)]

The move comes on the heels of President Bush’s decision to postpone his State of the Union address until Jan. 28. The annual speech was originally scheduled for Jan. 22.

Although the Senate is getting a little more time at home, House Members will be back on the clock as scheduled on Jan. 15.

Merger Movement. The Senate passed legislation on Monday officially approving the terms of the merger between the Capitol Police and Library of Congress police forces.

Senators added two technical amendments to the bill, which passed the House by voice vote earlier this month. Those amendments, which clarified language about retirement credit for LOC transfers, will need to be approved by the House before the bill is sent to President Bush, according to a spokesman for House Administration Chairman Robert Brady (D-Pa.), who introduced the measure.

The initial merger between the two departments was approved in 2003. The implementation bill allows all LOC officers to transfer to the Capitol Police, although those who do not meet certain age, tenure or physical requirements will be placed in civilian roles.

Emancipation Proclamation. President Bush signed into law on Tuesday legislation officially naming the main room in the Capitol Visitor Center “Emancipation Hall.”

The space previously had been called the Great Hall, but Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.) said he believed that would cause confusion with another Great Hall — the ornately decorated, much heralded space at the Library of Congress. So, Wamp — the ranking member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislation Branch — joined Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) in introducing a bill changing the CVC name to Emancipation Hall as a way to honor the slaves who helped build the Capitol.

The bill had 227 co-sponsors and passed the House in a 398-6 vote on Nov. 13. Senators approved a companion measure introduced by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) in a voice vote two days later.

— Erin P. Billings and Elizabeth Brotherton