After passing a continuing resolution funding the federal government until Friday, December 16, the House and Senate are in recess until Monday, November 14. Members will return to their districts and states to campaign for the November 8 midterm elections. TFG’s Weekly Legislative Update will pause and return with the return of Congress on November 14.
Upon returning to Washington, lawmakers will face a packed agenda for the “lame-duck session.” A lame-duck session of Congress occurs after a November election and before the beginning of the new Congress on January 3. In a floor speech last week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said, “Members should be prepared for an extremely, underline extremely, busy agenda in the last two months of this Congress.” The “extremely busy” comment surrounding the lame duck session comes as Congress will spend the latter half of November and all of December working on a long list of legislative items.
Several key items left for Congress to deal with in the lame-duck session include the FY23 omnibus spending package and the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). With government funding elapsing on December 16, lawmakers will work towards passing an omnibus spending package, a long-term funding bill that will keep the government open through September 30, 2023, and that will likely include disaster aid for Florida, Puerto Rico, and Alaska. Talks between negotiators have remained ongoing. The must-pass NDAA legislation will technically begin debate on the Senate floor on October 11. The deal to begin debate – even with low attendance – will allow the Senate to bring the long-time bipartisan bill for a vote in mid-November. The NDAA will then undergo a conference between both chambers to resolve bill differences. Congress will also decide on taking up legislation centering around protecting the right to same-sex marriage, election reform, which would make it harder to decertify a presidential election, Congressional stock trading, a bill to limit stock trading by members of Congress, and completion of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2022. The Senate will likely act on President Biden’s 44 nominees for federal judgeships awaiting Senate confirmation. If the Republicans win majorities in one or both chambers, the party will likely want a clear legislative slate to work from, making the lame-duck session more critical.
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