Many bills passed on floor

By Mick Rosenthal, Washington correspondent, The Nation aka simulation reporter

Much action happened on the Senate floor this evening. The 110th Congress came to order near 6:30p.m. Many debates happened over bills, many passed, some did not. The first bill, Miss America passed, S. 1138 the Nuclear Safeguard Act which would create a nuclear fuel bank to give countries nuclear energy for peaceful means give funds to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) to update and fix their laboratories passed. The third bill of the night, S 47, a bill on special education passed, a bill called the Climate Energy Protection Act of 2008 or CEPA passed after debate 40-28.

The Excellence in Education Act of 2008 which would recruit 1,000 Teach For America teachers to go and teach in the poorest areas of U.S passed after a debate about an amendment to the bill on voluntary school prayer which failed and a division of the chamber. The Presidential Initiative for Global Peace that bans testing and research for nuclear weapons passed 35-31 after much debate if the bill would increase executive power. The Restructuring Act of Homeland Security that would reorganize the Department of Homeland Security to work more efficiently passed as well. The violent radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Act of 2008 passed unanimously.

The American Hero Act introduced by Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska to honor service members here at home and to give immigrants serving in the armed forces and their families’ fast track to citizenship passed.

S 431, the Nitwits Act which would create in the Department of Homeland Security an office of cyber security to protect American’s computers from hackers, viruses and other harmful issues that can happen via a computer passed. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, or GINA which would stop discrimination of people because of their difference in genetic material passed.

Other bills passed as well, but the fiercest debate erupted over a bill about helping those who do not have English as their first language and live in the United States learn English. The funding for this bill would come from abstinence only education programs, which many Republicans did not like and disagreed loudly. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said, “Abstinence education has led to the highest rate of adolescent STDs in our nation’s history. Abstinence only is not effective and should not exist. Our children deserve better”.

After the debate over this bill, senators started to get a little anxious as time grew late. The floor session finally ended around 11p.m. All in all, a very productive and informative congressional simulation, I thought anyway.