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The Bill Clerk records official actions of the Senate, keeps an authoritative historical record of Senate business, enters daily legislative activities and votes into the automated legislative status system, and prints all introduced, submitted and reported legislation. In addition, this office assigns numbers to all bills and resolutions.
The legislative materials processed by the Bill Clerk during the 105th Congress are as follows:
The Government Printing Office has responded in a timely manner to the Bill Clerk's request for the printing of bills and reports, including the printing of priority matters for the floor. The record on specific GPO printings for the second session is summarized below:
-Star Prints: The number of Star Prints (reprints) authorized was 14. -"Bates List": Overnight rush printing was ordered on 29 pieces of legislation. -At the end of the Second Session, 64 House passed measures were at the desk. In the past the bill clerk would print these bills as "Received" with the required quantity for each of 800 copies. The exact language in now available on the web as a House engrossed bill, so these bills were not printed, resulting in a savings to the Senate of approximately $51,230.05.
Legislative Information System (LIS)
LEGIS: The office continued working with KPMG and the Senate Computer Center reviewing the legislative information processed by this office, including reviewing vote and some data input screens.
Amendment Scanning: During the second session of the 105th Congress the final Amendment Tracking System (ATS) was finalized. All Senate staff can view a copy of all proposed pending amendments of 25 pages or less.
The Daily Digest section of the Congressional Record provides a concise accounting of all official actions taken by the Senate on a particular day. All Senate hearings and business meetings (including joint meetings and conferences) are scheduled through the Daily Digest, reported on daily, and are published in the Congressional Record.
The Senate was in session a total of 143 days, for a total of 1,095 hours and 5 minutes. There were 4 quorum calls and 314 record votes.
Senate committees held 711 hearings and 172 business meetings (total 883), contrasted with 552 hearings and 184 business meetings (total 736) during the Second Session of the 104th Congress.
All hearings and business meetings (including joint meetings and conferences) are scheduled through the Office of the Senate Daily Digest and are published in the Congressional Record and are entered in the mainframe-based legis system (currently being replaced by a web-based applications system). Meeting outcomes are also published by the Daily Digest in the Congressional Record each day.
Government Printing Office
The Daily Digest continues to send the complete publication at the end of each day to the Government Printing Office electronically. The Digest also continues the practice of sending a disk along with a duplicate hard copy to GPO, even though GPO receives the Digest copy by electronic transfer long before hand delivery is completed, adding to the timeliness of publishing the Congressional Record. The Digest continues to discuss with GPO problems encountered with the printing of the Daily Digest section. Corrections or transcript errors have become very infrequent due to the ability of electronic transfer.
The Daily Digest announces the retirement of Thomas G. Pellikaan, Editor, and the promotion of Linda E. Sebold to the position of Editor.
The Enrolling Clerk prepares, proofreads, corrects, and prints all Senate passed legislation prior to its transmittal to the House of Representatives, the National Archives, the Secretary of State, the United States Claims Court, and the White House.
During 1998, 91 enrolled bills (transmitted to the President) and 11 concurrent resolutions (transmitted to Archives) were prepared, printed, proofread, corrected, and printed on parchment.
A total of 521 additional pieces of legislation was passed or agreed to by the Senate, requiring processing from this office.
New computers installed in early 1998 doubled the speed at which bill pages are composed. The data retrieval system was changed during the year so that the office can now pull the bill files from the Government Printing Office (GPO) by FTP via the Internet, and, rather than going through GPO for Legislative Counsel files, the office can retrieve them directly from the Legislative Counsel computer storage area with a direct internet connection. This has greatly improved retrieval speed for the necessary files.
The Executive Clerk prepares an accurate record of actions taken by the Senate during executive sessions (proceedings on nominations and treaties) which is published as the Executive Journal at the end of each session of Congress. The Executive Clerk also prepares daily the Executive Calendar as well as all nomination and treaty resolutions for transmittal to the President.
During the Second Session of the 105th Congress, there were 648 nomination messages sent to the Senate by the President, transmitting 20,225 nominations to positions requiring Senate confirmation and 27 messages withdrawing nominations previously sent to the Senate during the session. Of the total nominations transmitted, 336 were for civilian positions other than lists in the Foreign Service, Coast Guard and Public Health Service. In addition, there were 1,532 nominees in the "civilian list" categories named above. Military nominations received this session totaled 18,443 (6,070 in the Air Force, 5,479 in the Army, 5,047 in the Navy and 1,847 in the Marine Corps). The Senate confirmed 20,302 nominations this session and 133 nominations were returned to the President pursuant to the provisions of paragraph six of Senate Rule XXI at the sine die adjournment of the 105th Congress.
There were 26 treaties transmitted to the Senate by the President during the second session of the 105th Congress for its advice and consent to ratification, which were ordered printed as treaty documents for the use of the Senate (Treaty Doc. 105-33 through 105–58).
The Senate gave its advice and consent to 53 treaties with various conditions, declarations, understandings and provisos to the resolutions of advice and consent to ratification.
Executive Reports and Roll Call Votes
There were 12 executive reports relating to treaties ordered printed for the use of the Senate during the second session of the 105th Congress (Executive Reports 105-14 through 105-25). The Senate conducted twenty-nine roll call votes in an executive session, 17 on or in relation to nominations and 12 on amendments to and final passage of the NATO Accession Treaty.
In April, the responsibility for executive communications, petitions and memorials sent to the Senate by the executive branch, state legislatures, local governments, organizations and/or citizens were placed under the direction of the Executive Clerk. The growth in the number of these items has increased exponentially, requiring the addition of a full-time clerk to process them. Due to the reporting of a vacancy requirement of Public Law 105-77, the number of communications for the 106th and future Congresses will continue to increase dramatically. From April through the end of the Second Session, 3,125 or 41 percent of all executive communications received during the 105th Congress, and 182 petitions and memorials were processed by the new clerk. Also during this period, the writing of the abstracts for the Congressional Record was adapted and improved to better serve the needs of the agencies, GAO, and the National Archives.
Development of the new LIS
The staff has consulted regularly with KPMG and the Senate Computer Center concerning the development of the portion of the new LIS pertaining to the processing of nominations and treaties. In addition, staff have been meeting regularly with the CRS staff at the Library of Congress charged with developing the retrieval system for the new LIS database, and have spent many hours explaining the processing procedures of the nominations and treaties in the Senate to help them develop the best possible systems for in put and retrieval.
The Executive Clerk's Office announces the retirement of David G. Marcos as Executive Clerk and the promotion of Michelle Haynes to that position.
The Journal Clerk takes notes of the daily legislative proceedings of the Senate in the "Minute Book" and prepares a history of bills and resolutions for the printed Senate Journal that is in effect the index of legislative action. The Senate Journal is published each calendar year.
The office is responsible, pursuant to its constitutional duties and under the provisions of the Senate rules, to produce The Journal of the Proceedings of the Senate for the Impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton, President of the United States, in addition to the regular Senate Journal, for this year of 1999.
The 1998 volume will go to the Government Printing Office for distribution in the spring of this year. The completion of the 1998 Journal will not affect the progress of the two Journals for 1999.
The Journal Clerk's Office announces the retirement of William D. Lackey, Jr., as Journal Clerk and the promotion of Patrick Keating to that position.
The Legislative Clerk sits at the Secretary's desk in the Senate Chamber and reads aloud bills, amendments, the Senate Journal, Presidential messages, and other such materials when so directed by the Presiding Officer of the Senate. The Legislative Clerk calls the roll of members to establish the presence of a quorum and to record and tally all yea and nay votes. This office prepares the Senate Calendar of Business, published each day that the Senate is in session, and prepares additional publications relating to Senate class membership and committee and sub
committee assignments. The Legislative Clerk maintains the official copy of all measures pending before the Senate and must incorporate into those measures any amendments that are agreed to. This office retains custody of official messages received from the House of Representatives and conference reports awaiting action by the Senate. This office is also responsible for verifying the accuracy of that information entered into the LEGIS system by the various offices of the Secretary. In addition, this office is very involved in the Secretary's multi-year, comprehensive program to redesign and rebuild the Senate's system for the collection and management of its Legislative Information Services (LIS).
Summary of Activity
The Second Session of the 105th Congress completed its legislative business and adjourned on October 21, 1998. During 1998, the Senate was in session for 1,095 hours over 143 days and conducted 314 roll call votes. There were 363 measures reported from committees, 506 total measures passed, and there were 246 items remaining on the Calendar at the time of adjournment. In addition, there were 2,180 amendments submitted.
Legislative Information System (LIS)
When LIS replaces the current LEGIS system, extensive training and retraining will be required to convert from the current mainframe to a document management system (DMS). As staff become more familiar with the new capabilities LIS will provide, there may be added benefits such as a history of legislation_in_the_Calendar of Business, which could then be included in the Journal at the end of each session. Amendment Scanning
In 1997, the Secretary's office began scanning certain pending amendments to Senate offices. The main concern was, and continues to be, that there be little or no disruption in the way an amendment is processed and distributed on the Senate floor. In 1998, the office implemented improvements to the amendment scanning system which resulted in faster scanning to a wider audience and reduced keyboarding by the Bill Clerks. Undoubtedly, this project will need to undergo further enhancements as the LIS project progresses.
The Senate tragically lost R. Scott Bates (1948-1999) on February 5, 1999. David Tinsley was promoted to the position of Legislative Clerk.
OFFICE OF OFFICIAL REPORTERS OF DEBATES
The Official Reporters of Debates prepare and edit for publication in the Congressional Record a substantially verbatim report of the proceedings of the Senate, and serve as liaison for all Senate personnel on matters relating to the content of the Record. The transcript of proceedings, submitted statements and legislation are transmitted, in hard copy and electronically, throughout the day to the Government Printing Office. The Chief Reporter functions as editor in chief and the Coordinator functions as technical production editor of the Senate portion of the Record. Accomplishments
The Official Reporters continue to use the computer-aided transcription system, and have experimented with new software throughout the year. As noted in previous reports, the workload of this office has not decreased but, by providing GPO electronic as well as paper copy, the overall workload at GPO (i.e., not having to rekey every word this office transmits to them) is reduced and, as a result, the overall production cost of the Record.
The Morning Business Unit has dealt effectively with a marked increase of items being processed through their office. The number of communications has continued to increase since the passage of Public Law 104-121 (the Contract with America Advancement Act of 1996).
The goals for the coming year include: increasing the volume of electronic submissions to GPO by continually informing and educating staff of the e-mail process and the proper format and deadlines for submitting statements; adapting the new LIS system to daily operation; continuing to cross-train transcribers in the tasks performed by the Coordinator; and and experimenting with new software for the Reporters.
The office continues to save substantial sums by eliminating duplication in printing, and Senators are consistently informed about the two-page rule.
The Parliamentarian advises the Chair, Senators and their staff as well as committee staff, House members and their staffs, administration officials, the media and members of the general public on all matters requiring an interpretation of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the precedents of the Senate, unanimous consent agreements, as well as provisions of public law affecting the proceedings of the Senate. The Office of the Parliamentarian is responsible for the referral of all legislation introduced in the Senate, all legislation received from the House, as well as all communications received from the executive branch. The office worked extensively with Senators and their staffs to advise them of the jurisdictional consequences of particular drafts of legislation, and evaluated the jurisdictional effect of proposed modifications in drafting.
The office continues to analyze and advise Senators on a great number of issues arising under the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. The Byrd Rule on extraneous matter in reconciliation bills can cause a great deal of parliamentary maneuvering. The atmosphere that surrounded the parliamentary process in 1998 resulted in an unprecedented number of questions that this office was asked to resolve. These questions often required hours of very difficult and contentious meetings with competing groups of staff. At every stage of the budget cycle, this office was called upon to arbitrate large numbers of budget and appropriation related questions. The Parliamentarian's Office was constantly asked to answer questions during consideration on the Senate floor, of the budget resolution and the appropriations bill that followed.
Concerns about the use of the budget surplus promises to keep the congressional budget process (with all of its parliamentary complexity) in the forefront of the legislative agenda.
PRINTING AND DOCUMENT SERVICES
Printing and Document Services documents Senate printing expenses and functions as GPO liaison to schedule and/or distribute Senate bills and reports to the Chamber, Senate staff, and the public; provides page counts of Senate hearings to commercial reporting companies, orders and tracks all paper and envelopes provided the Senate, provides general printing services for Senate offices, and assures that Senate printing is in compliance with Title 44, U.S. Code, as it relates to Senate documents, hearings, committee prints, and other official publications.
During the second session of the 105th Congress, 647 publications (hearings, committee prints, Senate documents, Senate Publications) were printed. This compares with 504 publications printed during the second session of the 104th Congress, or an increase of about 28 percent.
Hearings Transcripts and Billing Verifications
Billing Verifications are the vehicle by which reporting companies request payment from a committee for their transcription services. During 1998, commercial reporting companies and the corresponding Senate committees were provided a total of 919 billing verifications of Senate hearings and business meetings (including hearings which were canceled or postponed, but still requiring payment to the reporting company). This averages 38 hearings/meetings per committee. Compared with 1,105 billing verifications in 1997, there was a decrease of about 17 percent in the number of hearings processed.
Commercial reporting companies charged the Senate approximately $447,268 to prepare 69,855 transcript pages of the spoken portions of Senate hearings (compared to 1997 figures of $585,956 to prepare 89,020 transcribed pages) for an average annual cost of about $18,636 per committee, and an average of 2,910 spoken transcript pages per committee during 1998. In 1997, the average annual cost per committee was $29,903, and an average of 4,239 spoken transcript pages.