111th United States Congress - Major Events

Major Events

  • January 2009: Two Senate seats were disputed when the Congress convened:
    1. An appointment dispute over the Illinois seat vacated by President Barack Obama arose following Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's alleged solicitation of bribes in exchange for an appointment to the Senate. Roland Burris (D) was appointed to the seat on December 31, 2008, his credentials were accepted on January 12, 2009, and he was sworn in to office on January 15, 2009.
    2. An election dispute over the Minnesota seat previously held by Norm Coleman (R), between Coleman and challenger Al Franken (D), was decided in June 30, 2009 in favor of Franken,
  • January 8, 2009: Joint session counted the Electoral College votes of the 2008 presidential election.
  • January 20, 2009: Inauguration of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
  • April 28, 2009: Senator Arlen Specter switches allegiance back to the Democratic Party.
  • The Democratic Party theoretically had a 60% filibuster-proof super majority in the Senate for most of the time period between July 7, 2009, when Al Franken (D) won a contested seat, and February 4, 2010, when Scott Brown (R) replaced Paul Kirk (D). However, Ted Kennedy's terminal illness kept him out of Washington from March 2009 until his death on August 25th. The Democrats' 60% supermajority only became a practical reality on September 24th when Kennedy's replacement Paul Kirk was seated.
  • September 9, 2009: President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress to promote health care reform, which Representative Joe Wilson (R) interrupted by shouting at the President.
  • January 25, 2010: 2010 State of the Union Address
  • April 20, 2010: Deepwater Horizon oil spill
  • November 2, 2010: 2010 general elections, in which Republicans regained control of the House while the Democrats remained in control of the Senate.

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