There are only 21 days until the 117th Congress ends and the 118th begins. The slate will be wiped clean, and they’ll start fresh with a new Republican majority in the House and a larger 51-49 Democratic majority in the Senate.
As the clock winds down, Congress has a big to-do list, with items lawmakers must accomplish, and a few things they want to. Here’s a look at the list:
The federal government runs out of money Friday at midnight, so the House and Senate are planning a weeklong continuing resolution to give negotiators more time. Ultimately they hope to pass an omnibus package before Christmas that will fund everything for an entire year.
“I expect an omnibus will contain priorities both sides want to see passed into law, including more funding for Ukraine and the Electoral Count Act,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said.
As Schumer mentioned, some expected additions include Ukraine aid, which the White House requested $37 billion for, and the Electoral Count Act, which clarifies that the vice president’s role in certifying elections is ministerial. It would change laws the Trump team tried using that ultimately led to the Jan. 6 riot.
There are also a number of tax provisions that are being considered. The White House wants an expanded child tax credit and is reportedly willing to add a work requirement to get it. Early in the administration the White House approved up to $3,600 for parents.
There is also work being done to adjust corporate tax deductions regarding amortization, interest payments and depreciation costs.
Lawmakers also have to approve the National Defense Authorization Act to set policy and provide funding for the military. This is expected to be approved on a bipartisan basis and signed by the president. It will give the defense department $858 billion next year, including a 4.6% pay raise for the troops and money to purchase weapons, naval vessels and aircraft. It will end the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for active duty troops but it does not reinstate those who already got kicked out.
“Our Democratic colleagues will not receive a goody bag of domestic spending in exchange for fulfilling their solemn duty,” Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said regarding defense funding and domestic spending.
Jan. 6 report
The Jan. 6 Investigative Committee is expected to release its final report during a public hearing Dec. 21. It will contain any criminal referrals the committee decides to make to the Justice Department.
“So, if we do make referrals, we want to be very careful about how we do them. But I think we’re all certainly in agreement that there is evidence of criminality here and we want to make sure that the Justice Department is aware of that,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told CBS’s Face the Nation.
The report is expected to be eight chapters largely about Donald Trump and his legal team’s role before and during the riot. It will also contain appendices on subjects including law enforcement failures.
Lawmakers want to pass the SAFE Banking act, which would open the federal banking system to marijuana distributors. Although recreational marijuana is legal in more than 20 states and medical use is allowed in another 17, it’s still illegal at the federal level. This bill would open up banks to distributors, and in turn, a lot of new investors.