WASHINGTON (1/6/09)—Although many federal lawmakers have not been waiting for the formal start of the 111th Congress to get to work on the country's pressing issues, the official beginning of the new session is noon today. According to Ryan Donovan, the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) vice president of legislative affairs, the schedule on Capitol Hill looks like this: The House today will hold a Quorum call vote to launch the 111th Congress. Following the Quorum call, the chamber will proceed to the election of the Speaker of the House, swear-in all members of Congress, and adopt a Rules package that will govern the proceedings for the 111th Congress. The Senate will also convene on Tuesday to swear-in new Senators and conduct organizational business. While the Senate has not announced its legislative schedule for the remainder of the week, the House is expected to consider two jobs bills. Also, on Thursday, the House and the Senate will meet in Joint Session to count the electoral ballots for President and Vice President of the United States. The inauguration of Barack Obama as the country’s 44th President is, of course, Jan. 20. "In any other inaugural year, Congress would recess between its opening day and the presidential inauguration," Donovan said. "But, given the condition of the economy, this is no ordinary year. Congress will be in session from now until the Presidents Day district work period." He added, "It promises to be a long legislative year, and once the economic stimulus bill is enacted, Congress will be focused squarely on the financial services sector." The first district work period of the year will be the week of Feb. 16, President’s Day.