Senator Mark Hatfield, 1922-2011
August 8, 2011
Senator Mark Hatfield (R-OR) served in the U.S. Senate from 1967 to 1997. He has 171 appearances in the Video Library. In a speech from 2001, he discussed his book, Against the Grain: Reflections of a Rebel Republican. In this clip, he discusses the bipartisan nature of the appropriations process in the Senate where he was chair of the committee. He was also very active in the area of arms control. In this early Senate clip from the Video Library, he discusses his support for the INF treaty and his opposition to SALT II treaty because it did not go far enough.
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Morning Hour Use Grows – Special Orders Use Down
August 5, 2011
The 112th Congress has been in session for 210 days. A new feature in the Congressional Chronicle allows the tracking of how the House and Senate are spending their time. A look at the House statistics shows that the 112th Congress under Speaker Boehner is spending its time in different ways than previous congresses after the same amount of time. One difference is the use of Morning Hour.
This chart shows that the current Congress has spent almost forty hours in Morning Hour; previous Congresses have spent ten hours or less in Morning Hour. In previous congresses, it was not unusual to see the House convene for Morning Hour and then immediately recess since no members rose to speak. That has changed in the 112th Congress. Morning Hour allows members to speak for five minutes on any topic. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, the House has been convening for Morning Hour at 10:00 AM and for legislative business at noon. In recent weeks, Morning Hour has lasted almost two hours.
The increase in the use of Morning Hour comes at the expense of one-minutes speeches and special orders. The following two charts show how many fewer one-minute and special order speeches there have been in the 112th Congress.
Special Order Speeches
One-minute speeches are about half of what they were in previous congresses; special orders are but a fifth of what they were in previous congresses. One-minutes can be limited by the speaker at the beginning of the session. In the 112th Congress, the Republican leadership is adjourning at 10 PM. Special orders occur at the end of the legislative session and used to extend until midnight. The decline in special orders is a dramatic reversal of a steady trend of increased use of special orders.
The changes have not affected general debate. The hours in general debate in the 112th Congress exceeds that of the 111th Congress, but is slightly less than that of the 110th Congress. The hours in debate can be seen in this chart.
Check the Congressional Chronicle daily to see how these statistics change as the 112th Congress continues. It is just another feature of the Congressional Chronicle.
Last Minute Voting on the Debt Ceiling Agreement
August 3, 2011
On the final vote on the debt ceiling agreement, Democrats withheld their votes until the very end of the voting period. The graph below shows how each party voted by seconds during the twenty minutes when voting took place. One can see that at the last minute a number of Republicans voted no. This is usually done when members determine that their votes are not needed for the measure to pass. When about five minutes was left in the fifteen-minute voting period, the Democrats began to vote. About 130 Democrats voted in the last minutes. This graph is made by plotting the change in votes by seconds as shown on C-SPAN.
Boehner Doubles His Bill Voting Record
August 2, 2011
In the last several days, Speaker Boehner has voted on the two debt ceiling issues in the House bringing the total number of issues he has voted on during this session of Congress up to four. Earlier this session, the Speaker voted on a Defense Department continuing appropriation and the repeal of the Health Care act. Boehner is following an early tradition where speakers did not vote. The table below shows the average votes per year of all the recent speakers. One can see how voting has increased with the most recent speakers.
Average Votes Per Year of Recent Speakers
|O’Neill (D)||Wright (D)||Foley (D)||Gingrich(R)||Hastert (R)||Pelosi (D)||Boehner (R)|
[Excluded from Boehner's total are two votes on opening day. One is the vote for speaker and the other is the vote for the initial quorum.]
Votes of all members can be found in the Congressional Chronicle.
Speakers on House Floor
August 1, 2011
When Speaker Boehner (R-OH) closed the debate on the debt ceiling legislation on July 29, 2011, it was the sixteenth time he had addressed the House this year. You can see all of his appearances by searching his name in the Video Library. The speaker and minority leader are traditionally provided one minute to speak and are allowed to speak as long as they wish. Excluding Boehner’s acceptance speech on opening day, he has used 03:25 minutes on average when addressing the House. His closing speech on the debt limit, included here, was one of his longer speeches and lasted 6:41.
In contrast, Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) spoke twenty-six times by this same date in the last Congress. Speaker Pelosi tended to use more time and spoke an average of 5:41 excluding her acceptance speech. Pelosi’s last speech on the House floor was Saturday, July 30. She spoke 9:11 minutes.