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Senate Plans Pro Forma Sessions

As the House grapples with its own way of dealing with the economic rescue plan, the Senate on Thursday turned the lights off with the hope of proceeding in pro forma session until after the November elections.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), on behalf of Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), closed down the Senate until Monday afternoon, when the Senate will reconvene for the first of many pro forma sessions. There will be no official business that day.

Levin said the Senate will hold only pro forma sessions unless the House fails to pass the financial bailout plan or amends the legislation, which would bounce it back into the Senate. The House is expected to vote on the measure Friday.

Earlier in the day, the Senate passed a joint resolution with the House that established Jan. 6 as the first day of the 111th Congress to tally and certify the electoral votes for the presidency.

The Senate is expected to return Nov. 17 for a lame-duck session and new Member orientation.

Reid said he would like to complete any remaining bills — namely a public land package that Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has blocked.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) has also pledged to push during the lame-duck session for a $1.12 billion natural disaster assistance bill that is held up by Coburn.

Reid has also indicated that the pro forma sessions will allow committees to meet to address the economic crisis.

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