Defending Magnuson-Stevens from the Lame Duck

The 115th Congress is on its last legs.

Both chambers adjourned before the midterm elections to let their members campaign ahead of the vote. Now, they are meeting in a so-called “lame duck session,” which will provide outgoing members, and outgoing majorities, one last chance to pass their priority legislation before the 116th Congress ushers in newly-elected legislators, and new legislative priorities, in 2019.

The House of Representatives plans to meet for 16 days before year’s end, although that schedule could be changed if compelling reasons to do so arise. The remainder of the Senate’s 2018 session isn’t so clearly defined, but it’s safe to predict that it will probably meet for 20 days or so before adjourning.

That’s not a lot of time to get things done, given the outstanding issues. A continuing resolution to finance a number of government agencies expires on December 7; before then, Congress must either agree to provide further funding for those agencies or face a partial government shutdown.

The Senate needs to act on a number of pending judicial and agency appointments; should they fail to do so before the end of the year, the appointment process for the open positions must begin anew in 2019.

And the two chambers still need to find common ground on a Farm Bill, legislation that has been stalled for much of this year.

Even as those issues are being debated, there will be a lot of pressure on legislators to pass other bills during the closing days of the 115th Congress, and some of those bills could have a negative impact on the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act(Magnuson-Stevens), the nation’s most important fishery management law.

Such harmful legislation, in both the House and the Senate, fall under the general rubric of the “Modern Fish Act.”

LINK (via: Marine Fish Conservation Network)

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