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 yr.

The listing consists of reaching a authorities funding settlement, reauthorizing the Protection Division, passing a significant 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 did not ship a purple wave. NBC Information has projected that Democrats will preserve management of the Senate for 2 extra years, whereas management of the Home is but to be decided.

“All I can inform you is that we’re going to attempt to have as productive a lame duck session as potential,” 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 will get performed,” he stated.

Right here’s a rundown of the massive agenda gadgets 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 come back collectively on a bundle, and Democrats might want to negotiate with Republicans to clear the 60-vote threshold within the Senate.

Will probably 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 get together’s leaders need to attain a deal, rejecting right-wing Home Republicans’ calls for to punt it to subsequent yr. The GOP’s midterm underperformance might deflate its hopes of holding off.

It is unclear when there will likely be an settlement and what it will 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 prison investigation of the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.

Stop stolen elections

A bundle of legal guidelines to tighten the Electoral Rely Act to make it more durable for shedding 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 anticipated to get a vote in the lame duck session.

The Electoral Rely Reform and Presidential Transition Enchancment Act would revise an 1887 regulation to limit the vice chairman’s position 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 might be tied to the federal government funding invoice to hurry up the method; that hasn’t been decided.

Identical-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 hassle, 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 considerations about non secular freedom and polygamy. Baldwin and her chief GOP co-sponsor, Collins, have emphasised that these considerations will likely be addressed and that the ultimate invoice would make clear that it wouldn’t defend 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 go the invoice, which is partly an try to protect towards fears that the conservative Supreme Court docket might strip safety for same-sex marriage because it did with abortion.

Authorize the Pentagon

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

An open query this yr is whether or not Congress will settle for Manchin’s suggestion 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 yr, and members have but to launch a remaining report on how the Capitol assault occurred and suggestions to stop something related. Members have stored open the opportunity of holding one other listening to to roll out their findings.

And there are different free 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 go away committee leaders with choices about whether or not to suggest prison expenses.

Judges and nominations

Schumer and Democrats had been contemplating a significant push to substantiate judges within the lame duck session, fearing they may lose the Senate majority and Republicans would not play ball for the following two years. However the Democrats have held on to regulate, which alleviates strain to hurry via judges earlier than Christmas.

The Senate might 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 via the vacations to vote on nominees whom they will affirm early subsequent yr.

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