Congress returns after the 2022 midterm election with a hectic year-end agenda

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WASHINGTON — With the 2022 election over, Congress will return to work Monday with a packed to-do listing for the ultimate weeks of the 12 months.

The listing consists of reaching a authorities funding settlement, reauthorizing the Protection Division, passing a serious election overhaul measure, codifying federal recognition of same-sex marriage and voting on nominations. And the Home Jan. 6 committee is poised to wrap up its work earlier than it dissolves.

Republicans underperformed expectations within the midterm elections and didn’t ship a pink wave. NBC Information has projected that Democrats will hold management of the Senate for 2 extra years, whereas management of the Home is but to be decided.

“All I can let you know is that we’re going to attempt to have as productive a lame duck session as attainable,” Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., informed reporters Sunday, notifying colleagues that there will likely be “heavy work” that features “lengthy hours.”

“I’m going to speak to my caucus. I’m going to speak to the Republican management and see what we are able to get completed,” he stated.

Right here’s a rundown of the massive agenda objects and the place they stand:

Fund the federal government

Earlier than lawmakers left for recess, Congress set a Dec. 16 deadline to strike a full-year funding deal to maintain the federal government operating. That leaves a couple of month for the Home and the Senate to return collectively on a bundle, and Democrats might want to negotiate with Republicans to clear the 60-vote threshold within the Senate.

It will likely be a swan track for Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Vice Chair Richard Shelby, R-Ala., who’re retiring after having served within the chamber for many years.

Each occasion’s leaders need to attain a deal, rejecting right-wing Home Republicans’ calls for to punt it to subsequent 12 months. The GOP’s midterm underperformance may deflate its hopes of holding off.

It is unclear when there will likely be an settlement and what it could appear to be. Among the many many lingering points is whether or not the Justice Division will get the $34 million it says is “critically wanted” to proceed its felony investigation of the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.

Capitol building in Washington as Congress returns for business after the midterms on Monday.
The Capitol constructing on Nov. 11, 2022.J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Stop stolen elections

A bundle of legal guidelines to tighten the Electoral Rely Act to make it more durable for dropping presidential candidates to steal elections has handed the Home. An analogous model sitting the Senate, negotiated by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, is predicted to get a vote in the lame duck session.

The Electoral Rely Reform and Presidential Transition Enchancment Act would revise an 1887 legislation to limit the vp’s function to counting votes, elevate the edge to object to electors, bolster legal guidelines about certifying elections for the right winner and search to advertise orderly presidential transitions. Its endorsements by Schumer and Senate Minority Chief Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., signifies it’ll draw broad ideological assist.

A bundle of revisions to the invoice simply cleared the Senate Guidelines and Administration Committee on a 14-1 vote in September. Some senior aides have speculated that it may very well be tied to the federal government funding invoice to hurry up the method; that hasn’t been decided.

Similar-sex marriage invoice

The Home has handed a bipartisan invoice to codify federal recognition of same-sex marriage. The Senate punted it to the lame duck session, with the chief of the trouble, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., saying the chamber wanted extra time to safe 60 votes.

Republican assist has been considerably elusive, with senators within the caucus voicing issues about non secular freedom and polygamy. Baldwin and her chief GOP co-sponsor, Collins, have emphasised that these issues will likely be addressed and that the ultimate invoice would make clear that it wouldn’t shield polygamous marriages.

Nonetheless, it stays to be seen whether or not the 50-member Democratic caucus can safe the minimal 10 Republican votes it wants to interrupt a filibuster and move the invoice, which is partly an try to protect in opposition to fears that the conservative Supreme Court docket may strip safety for same-sex marriage because it did with abortion.

Authorize the Pentagon

Congress should move the annual Nationwide Protection Authorization Act, a army coverage invoice that buildings the Pentagon. It’s normally a easy course of that wins broad bipartisan assist.

An open query this 12 months is whether or not Congress will settle for Manchin’s advice to connect allowing reform — an overhaul of the method of authorizing power and infrastructure initiatives — to the NDAA.

Jan. 6 committee’s finale

The Home Jan. 6 committee is sunsetting on the finish of the 12 months, and members have but to launch a remaining report on how the Capitol assault occurred and proposals to stop something comparable. Members have stored open the potential of holding one other listening to to roll out their findings.

And there are different unfastened ends to tie up. Earlier than the election, the committee subpoenaed Donald Trump for paperwork and testimony. The previous president has sued to block the subpoena. That and different unfulfilled subpoenas depart committee leaders with choices about whether or not to advocate felony prices.

Judges and nominations

Schumer and Democrats had been contemplating a serious push to substantiate judges within the lame duck session, fearing they may lose the Senate majority and Republicans would not play ball for the subsequent two years. However the Democrats have held on to manage, which alleviates stress to hurry by way of judges earlier than Christmas.

The Senate may nonetheless vote on nominations if it has time between negotiations and votes on different extra urgent issues, however Democratic leaders are unlikely to maintain members in by way of the vacations to vote on nominees whom they will affirm early subsequent 12 months.

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