The quacking begins: A take a look at the lame-duck agenda

Lawmakers return to Capitol Hill in the present day for a busy “lame duck” agenda, and an open query is how the midterm outcomes — Democrats sustaining Senate management subsequent 12 months, with Republicans probably headed for a really slim Home majority — will have an effect on this 12 months’s remaining work.

Right here’s a take a look at a few of what’s left to do within the lame duck, the identify given the two-month interval after the brand new Congress is elected, however the present Congress nonetheless holds energy.

Appropriations: Leaders hope to go a fiscal 2023 omnibus spending bundle earlier than the December holidays. Present funding expires Dec. 16, and the highest Senate appropriators — Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., and Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala. — are each retiring. However there isn’t a lot time to barter.

One other spherical of Ukraine support may go into an omnibus deal, as Kyiv pushes for added weapons and ammunition. Home Minority Chief Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has stated the GOP is leery of giving Ukraine a “clean test.” Hurricane restoration help is one other candidate for an omnibus.

Taxes: Talks are prone to ramp up on a year-end bundle, with an curiosity in clearing the decks earlier than the brand new Congress.

One motivation is a bipartisan measure on retirement financial savings. As well as, Republicans need to prolong enterprise tax breaks that in any other case section down beneath the 2017 tax legislation, whereas Democrats are centered on increasing tax advantages for households.

Well being: Lawmakers have priorities past simply fiscal 2023 funding for health-related applications.

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For one, supplier teams need Congress to cease a number of Medicare cuts which can be slated to take impact subsequent 12 months. Federal Medicaid funding for U.S. territories can also be up for reauthorization, because it falls beneath a special umbrella than funds for states. Provisions not noted of a five-year Meals and Drug Administration consumer price invoice may additionally come up, as may a psychological well being bundle; senators, who’re taking a special strategic tack, launched a part of their associated bundle on Thursday.

Protection: Though the Senate had been anticipated to take up the protection authorization invoice on the ground as quickly as this week, that probably time-consuming course of could also be circumvented within the curiosity of the calendar. Final 12 months, the Senate didn’t go a protection coverage invoice however as an alternative adopted, together with the Home, a ultimate convention report and despatched it to the White Home.

Don’t be shocked if that occurs once more. Aides are stated to have already begun writing that ultimate “conferenced” measure to save lots of time.

Debt restrict, same-sex marriage and extra: Lawmakers may nonetheless attempt to droop or elevate the debt restrict within the lame duck. Senate sponsors of a invoice to codify same-sex marriage rights hope to garner the GOP votes wanted to keep away from a filibuster. Modifications to the legislation that governs the counting of electoral votes will get a ultimate push as effectively, probably boosted by the unsuccessful distinguished campaigns of numerous 2020 “election deniers.” And although Senate Democrats will maintain energy once more subsequent 12 months, anticipate them to verify numerous remaining judicial and government department nominees, lest President Joe Biden need to resubmit them in January.

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David Lerman, John M. Donnelly, Laura Weiss, Sandyha Raman, Jessie Hellmann and Lauren Clason contributed to this report.

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