Congress is facing a close end to 2021

WASHINGTON – Congress will face a tight-knit agenda when it returns from the Thanksgiving holiday, from facing tough deadlines to keeping the federal government running to passing President Joe Bidens $ 1.7 trillion safety nets and climate legislation.

“When I watch this drama next month, I’ll split it up into a miniseries. And the first part is the Defense Act and a bridge to the budget. The vast majority of senators support it. We’ll probably have to deal with that,” he says. Late. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week”.

“Second, the debt ceiling. If the Republicans want to slip over us and raise people’s interest rates and make it hard to pay car payments – go ahead, take that case. We will stop them from doing so.” she said before mentioning voting rights and Biden’s law on social spending. “And finally, what we’ve just talked about, the Build Back Better Act. We can get this done.”

The newly discovered omicron variant of coronavirus, which has created alarm and led to some new travel restrictions to the United States, is also likely to be a hot topic.

Here are the major issues facing Congress in the final weeks of 2021.

Government funding

Public funding expires on Friday, and it remains uncertain whether the parties can agree on a year-long funding proposal in time. But neither side wants a shutdown so Congress could fall back on another stopgap measure to keep funding at its current level.

The federal government is already operating at levels agreed under the Trump administration after Congress passed a bill on spacing in September. Democrats are eager for a new budget, but they need Republican support because the law is subject to the 60-vote filibuster rule in the Senate.

“I guess what we can end up doing is a short-term extension. I’m not sure what that end date will be,” the rep said. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., Thursday on MSNBC. “I have heard some in the Senate say February, which would be a gift, but I suppose it is unlikely that can happen.”

Approval of the military budget

Congress plans to expand the military budget. The House voted 316-113 in September on a bipartisan basis to pass a massive $ 778 billion Pentagon law known as the National Defense Authorization Act. The Senate plans to pass legislation before the end of the year.

Late. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Said on “Fox News Sunday” that the measure “should have been adopted months ago, but it has been on the back burner”, for which he blamed the Democrats.

“We never want to send our men and women in uniform in a fair fight,” he said. “We want to make sure they have the equipment, the crew, the firepower they need.”

Some lawmakers are protesting against expanding the Pentagon further.

Rep. Jake Auchincloss, D-Mass., A Navy veteran, said the military budget is “out of control.” And Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Said it’s strange how, even as we end the longest war in our nation’s history, the war in Afghanistan, it seems that concerns about the deficit and national debt are melting away under the influence. of powerful military-industrial complex. “

Avert debt default

The deadline to raise the debt ceiling is December 15, as set by the Treasury Department, before the United States risks exhausting its lending authority to pay its bills. Breaking the ceiling could push the country to default and trigger a recession, Finance Minister Janet Yellen said. warned.

The debt limit was raised last month in the short term and it was very hard. The Democrats insisted that it be done on a bipartisan basis, and the Republicans dropped the filibuster after weeks of brinkmanship and put it to the vote. It is not clear whether the Democrats will lift the debt ceiling on their own or demand another bipartisan vote this time.

But the temperature seems to have cooled since the last match.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Read a non-confrontational note when asked about the debt limit on Nov. 16: “Yes, we find out how to avoid default. We always do,” he said.

Implementation of the Build Back Better Act

The $ 1.7 trillion legislation is Biden’s top priority, and the Democratic-controlled Congress appears determined to send it to his desk by the end of the year. That House passed the bill November 19, just before the Thanksgiving holiday, with a vote of 220-213, in which only one Democrat, Jared Golden of Maine, jumped off and joined a unanimous GOP conference in opposition.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where Democrats must use all 50 votes in their caucus to pass it. It will not be easy. Some provisions, such as paid leave and higher limits on state and local tax deductions, are likely to change to win support. Other policies, such as changes in immigration legislation, run the risk of running counter to budgetary rules that limit the process to spending and tax issues.

And Republicans are expected to try to throw a wrench into the process during the so-called vote-a-rama with amendments designed to shrink the bill and disrupt the delicate agreement among Democrats.

Dingell said, “I’m wondering if I want to be home for Christmas. I’ve been a student in Washington for decades, and it’s not inconceivable that we could be here between Christmas and New Year. American people chose us to get this done. and there are so many things that people in our districts need that are in those bills. “

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