Congress will return to Capitol Hill on Monday to take care of some unfinished business before the year closes out (https://www.npr.org/2020/11/16/934512307/house-returns-with-first-widespread-covid-19-testing-program-lame-duck-agenda). Included in their agenda are leadership elections, discussion about potential future COVID relief bills, and a spending bill for 2021.
1. Leadership elections: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is up for reelection as Democrats retained their majority in the House. While she runs unopposed, some Democrats have called her leadership into question as Republicans regained several seats. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is also in position to keep his position, this time with greater support.
2. COVID relief: The COVID-19 pandemic is not showing any signs of slowing, and numbers continue to rise exponentially across the country. Many states are reenacting previous safety measures, with some states even returning to temporary lockdowns. Trials for vaccines are looking promising, but there is no guarantee that things will reopen once it is distributed. This will have a significant impact on families and small businesses. Democrats and Republicans have tried to coordinate another round of relief for the past few months, but don’t seem to be getting any closer to an agreement. With the Biden administration projected to take over in January (barring any major changes from Trump’s legal challenges) we may see a change, but that is still dependent on the outcome of the Senate runoff elections.
3. Spending bill: The House has passed a short term spending bill earlier this year, but now they must pass a complete annual budget for 2021. Unlike COVID relief, this should pass without any major issues, preventing a government shutdown (something that had unfortunately become a habit during the battles between Trump and Pelosi).
New Congressional members are also on Capitol Hill this week receiving orientation for the next session. We will have to see what new members and changes in the Senate and White House will bring in 2021 and if it will have a larger impact on the 2022 midterm elections.
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