Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

There’s a month left in the year, and Congress, like the rest of us, has lots to do before breaking up for the year and popping the champagne.

Here’s where several priorities stand:

  • Continuing Resolution: The continuing resolution to fund the government expires Friday. There’s growing consensus that Congress will pass a continuing resolution through mid-January to early February within the next 48-72 hours.  What happens then is far from clear, but Congress looks poised to avoid a shutdown and kick this can down the road into next year.
  • Debt limit: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has urged Congress to raise the debt limit by as soon as December 15. Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Minority Leader McConnell appear to be looking for ways to get this done.
  • Build Back Better: The roughly $2 trillion social spending bill passed the House before Thanksgiving, but comments from Sen. Joe Manchin yesterday indicate he may be willing to push this fight into next year. Some other troubling signs for Democrats also surfaced yesterday. Sen. Bernie Sanders indicated he intends to continue to fight for Medicare expansion, and Sen. Bob Menendez said he and Sanders are no longer on the same page over controversial state and local tax deductions.
  • NDAA: The National Defense Authorization Act is annual legislation critical to the functioning of the U.S. military and defense industry. Republicans blocked the bill Monday with a spat over amendment votes. While the path forward is still murky, negotiations are underway about accepting additional amendments and setting up votes on others.
  • Nom-a-rama: The Senate will be in session over a weekend this month to clear noncontroversial nominations. Trump had significantly more nominations confirmed in his first year than Biden.
  • Congressional Review Act on mandatory vaccination: Congress will vote on overturning Biden’s vaccine mandate for large employers on Dec. 6.