Getting Ducks in a Row

Washington loves a countdown clock, and the election has delivered several for the lame duck session of the current Congress before newly elected legislators take over in the new year. 

There are seven days until the Georgia run-off, 17 days until the government runs out of money and about 23 until the real jet fumes start burning to take policymakers home for the holidays. 

With divided government looming in January, lawmakers look ready to approve several major pieces of legislation before Congress adjourns for the year. Bipartisan bills that would recognize the validity of same-sex marriage, reform how electoral votes are counted and set the defense budget could see action in the coming weeks.  

However, the road gets tougher—and more partisan—when it comes to approving government funding, retirement security and tax issues—to say nothing about the Biden Administration’s continued interest in Congress increasing the national debt limit or intervening in the potential rail strike.

With this long list of unfinished business, there appears to be one thing we can predict: Lawmakers are likely to pass a one-week extension of government funding (which expires on December 16) and then it will be a sprint to the finish just in time to catch the last flight home before the holidays.