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Legislative Affairs

September 30, 2022

Congress Passes Continuing Resolution; Averts Shutdown

Key Dates
November 8, 2022 (Election Day): 39 days
November 14, 2022 (House & Senate Return for “Lame Duck” Session): 45 days
December 15, 2022 (Target Adjournment of 117th Congress): 74 days
December 16, 2022 (Continuing Resolution Expires): 75

This week, Congress has completed its big must-do – passing a continuing resolution – to keep the government running temporarily through mid-December. Now, Members of the House and many Senators return home to campaign.

After the election, the current Members of Congress will return for a lame duck session (with a planned return on Monday, November 14) where they may or may not be able to clear the decks of major legislation before the new Congress starts in January. We expect the wish list for the lame duck session to be long, but what they will be able to get done will be highly impacted by the election results. If Republicans take either the House or Senate, they may not be willing to negotiate on much.

Here’s what else you might have missed this week.

Congress Passes Continuing Resolution, Averting a Government Shutdown. Yesterday, the Senate passed a continuing resolution (CR) by a 72-25 margin. The House followed suit today by a 230-201 vote. The CR also includes $12 billion in aid for Ukraine, $2.5 billion to aid New Mexico in its recovery from a wildfire, $1 billion in funding a low-income home heating program, and $20 million in emergency to address the water crisis in Jackson, MS. It keeps the government running through mid-December. One notable item not in the measure is additional funding for vaccines and testing for COVID-19 and monkeypox. Now, Congress will need to come back and pass either yet another CR or fully pass a budget for FY23. This article is useful in outlining what might be in a potential omnibus.

Electoral Count Act Legislation Has Legs in the Senate. On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voiced his support for legislation to modernize the Electoral Count Act. Over a dozen Republicans have already signed on to the measure. This bodes well for the bill’s prospects, and will be an item that Congress will likely consider upon its return in November.

Items that Might be Covered in Lame Duck. Several items – including the aforementioned omnibus and Electoral Count Act reform – will be considered in lame duck. Here are just some of the items that are on the possible list for action:

  • Marriage equality
  • Congressional stock trading
  • The FY2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)
  • Judges (in the Senate)
  • Recommendations of the January 6th Commission
  • Social Security/retirement legislation
  • Insulin legislation
  • Aid to states impacted by Hurricane Ian
  • Tax extenders

As our team continues to survey the landscape, additional items may be added – or taken away. Your WSW team will continue to keep you updated on this front.

For a historical look, the Senate website maintains a list going back to the 1940s on what other Congresses focused on in lame duck – you can find it here.

For Your Radar: the Return of Federal Discretionary Spending Caps. This week, House Republicans released a bill that would impose a cap on federal discretionary spending for the next ten years. While this obviously will not go anywhere this Congress, it is a sign of the direction a Republican-led House will go if elected. This would be a marked change from the significantly higher domestic spending initiatives undertaken by the White House and Congressional Democrats over the past year and a half.

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