Congressional leaders are preparing for a post-election lame-duck session that includes some politically volatile agenda items that could keep lawmakers in Washington past Christmas.
Among the must-pass bills in the lame duck is a government spending measure that will carry the government through the next fiscal year. With just hours to spare before funding expired on Sept. 30, Congress passed a continuing resolution that maintains current levels of spending and extends funding through Dec. 16, giving lawmakers more time to negotiate a broader budget deal. Negotiations on that broader spending bill could include hurricane relief money, more military aid for Ukraine and tax extenders.
Sens. Rick Scott (R-FL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) would like to keep aid for areas damaged by Hurricane Ian separate from the massive government spending negotiations.
“Hurricane Ian’s catastrophic damage in Florida requires a national response,” Rubio said. “We have begun building out a disaster supplemental to meet those needs, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to make sure it passes without delay, drama or waste.”
Beyond government funding, Democratic leaders are eager to bring back up legislation this fall to protect same-sex marriage and modernize the Electoral Count Act to ensure that electoral votes tallied by Congress reflect each state’s public vote for president. The House passed a bill last month updating the law that governs Congress’s counting of electoral votes cast by the states and clarifying that the role of the vice president in counting of ballots is strictly ministerial. The bill was opposed in the House by all but nine Republicans but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has endorsed it as “common sense.”