Lawmakers are expected to return Monday after being away for weeks to campaign for the crucial midterm elections.
They face a jam-packed legislative to-do list ahead of a new parliamentary session beginning in January.
With that in mind, Democratic leaders are eager to bring several bills onto the floor for a vote during the lame duck session, the period after the midterm elections and before the new Congress begins. increase.
The busy agenda includes: funding the government to avoid a government shutdown by the end of the calendar year, passing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a vote in the Senate to protect same-sex marriage, and Possible consideration of other important issues.
The House of Representatives can pass legislation with a simple majority, but Senate Democrats face a difficult situation because they have a small majority. With the factions split in the Senate 50-50 against him, the Democrats have failed to get more votes than his 60-vote threshold for the filibuster and, as many so desperately aspire to, the filibuster. There is not enough support within the party to abolish it. Key priorities for liberal voters, such as passing legislation to protect access to abortion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, are therefore expected to remain out of reach for the party in the near future. will be
The Democrats, who now control both houses of Congress, are back after Tuesday’s election with a new reality they weren’t expecting. rule the house. Republicans still look likely to win enough seats to control the House, but by a narrower margin than originally expected.
On Saturday, CNN predicted that Nevada Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Mast would win re-election. This means Democrats will continue to dominate the Senate when congressional news sessions begin in January. But with the runoff vote for Georgia’s Senate seat scheduled for her Dec. 6, the final composition of the House of Representatives won’t be known, at least not until then.
At a press conference on Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer warned of a busy lame-duck session and promised “heavy work” and “long hours” but declined to give details, saying that he would be the first party member to do so. I said we needed to discuss the meeting. agenda.
In September, Congress passed a short-term funding bill that is set to expire on December 16, making funding the government a top priority for Congress when it returns from recess.
Because the bill must pass, it could attract additional measures Democrats want to clear during the lame duck session. For example, Ukraine continues to defend itself against Russia, so we will provide additional financial support. The funding has bipartisan support, but some conservatives, such as Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, will become Speaker of the House Republicans if his party ultimately wins the House. Additional demands from the Biden administration, a driving force that is dividing the Republican Party.
Democrats also want more funding for the Covid-19 pandemic, but Republicans may not support that request. Democrats could also seek more funding for the Justice Department’s investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.
Congress must also pass a defense bill. Considering a wide range of bills could spark debate and push for amendments on various topics, such as whether to punish Saudi Arabia for its recent decision to cut oil production.
Senate Democrats also continue to confirm judges to federal courts appointed by President Joe Biden, a key priority for the party.
A Senate vote on codifying same-sex marriage is also underway. In mid-September, Congress postponed the vote until after the November midterm elections as negotiators demanded more time to solidify their support.
The bipartisan group of senators working on the bill said in a statement at the time: When our bill goes to the Senate, I am confident we will pass it with bipartisan support. The bill needs at least 10 of his votes from Republicans to overcome the filibuster.
Schumer has vowed to put the bill to a vote, but no exact date has yet been set. After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Democrats are seeking a vote, sparking fears the Supreme Court will take aim at same-sex people. Or future interracial marriage.
Voters are likely to vote for bipartisan legislation that would make it more difficult to overturn an endorsed presidential election. Kentucky Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. If the bill passes the Senate, it must also pass the House, which passed its own bill in September.
Meanwhile, it is not yet clear exactly when the country will reach its debt ceiling, and it is currently unlikely that Congress will act to raise it during a lame duck session. and operations are underway in Washington around an important controversial issue. Democrats argue it is irresponsible to cause damaging defaults over bill payments that have already occurred. claims to approve the
At a news conference on Sunday, Schumer vowed to “look into” the issue over the next few weeks, but will need to speak with other leaders to see where the House composition ends up. said.
“Of course the debt ceiling is something we have to deal with, and that’s something we’ll be looking at over the next few weeks,” Schumer said. I don’t know where the House of Commons will be.”
Congress doesn’t have to raise the nation’s borrowing limit until next year, but there’s been internal debate about whether Democrats will try to raise it before the end of the year, especially if Republicans take control of the House.
McCarthy brought the issue to the forefront last month in a comment echoed by several colleagues.
“If people want to set a debt ceiling[for a longer period]like anything else, there’s a point where they’re like, ‘OK, I’ll give you more money, but I have to change my current behavior.’ come. ” he said in an interview with Punchbowl News.
Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar summarized the upcoming busy period of work in an interview with “CNN This Morning” on Thursday.
“In Washington, there is so much on our plate, including the completion of the Defense Bill with Ukraine before us and the progress[Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky]is making against Vladimir Putin. “There’s a year-end budget bill on our plate to make sure we do it right. Republican Senator) Susan Collins and (Democratic West Virginia Senator) Joe Manchin and others, January 6th will never happen again.It’s all right after we get back.”