DWPA logo

Legislative Affairs

August 25, 2023

WSW Special Report: The 2024 Campaign Season Begins

On Wednesday night, eight Republican hopefuls took the stage for the first GOP presidential primary debate. As one commentary aptly described it, “The debate marked the end of the 2024 campaign’s preseason, a months-long sprint through fundraisers, town halls and early-state fried food…” The debate itself was fairly unremarkable, though if you want some post-debate commentary, this piece and this one are both worth a read.

The stakes are high in every presidential election year, but 2024’s stakes seem exponentially higher, each side’s detractors more relentless, the environment much more tense. With one party’s leading candidate facing multiple federal indictments and a slate of upcoming court appearances, and the other party’s sitting President facing ongoing intense scrutiny about the legality of his son’s business dealings, the end of the “preseason” will bring those issues even more to the forefront. The looming 2024 election will play a greater and greater role in the policy battles on Capitol Hill as both sides fight to retain or win congressional majorities. Razor-thin margins in both the House and Senate, combined with the internal policy divisions plaguing both congressional Republicans and congressional Democrats, have created an extraordinary setting leading into next year.

The most obvious practical impact of this political battle royale will be the congressional calendar for 2024. Expect to see fewer days “in session” in Washington so Members of Congress can spend time in their states and districts with constituents, and time on the campaign trail. (This provides some great opportunities for your organization to invite your Members of Congress for a site visit, ribbon-cutting, roundtable, health fair, or other event.)

But the impact on the legislative agenda will also be significant as Congress seeks not only to protect their own seats, but to promote their respective presidential candidates. Senate Democrats will look to highlight Biden’s accomplishments, while House Republicans will continue pursuing their aggressive oversight activities targeting the Biden Administration, as well as their “anti-woke” agenda. That makes large-scale, bipartisan legislative accomplishments hard to come by – at least before a potential lame duck session after the election.

Congress will still act on a number of policy and funding measures – look for more details in next week’s newsletter on expiring authorizations and what’s left on Congress’s “to do list.” The process may take longer. It may look different. It may even be downright painful, leaving us all wishing for some comfort food – maybe some of that “early-state fried food” from the presidential campaign trail…? But your WSW team will continue guiding through this extraordinary landscape, finding ways to advance your priorities and achieve your goals.

Share This:

More Legislative News