Biden says Democrats will “maintain our positions” on abortion but don’t have votes to codify


The Capitol is seen early Monday, November 14. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

As they return from weeks of campaigning for the midterm elections, lawmakers face a hectic legislative to-do list, with Democratic leaders eager to introduce several bills during the lame duck session – the period after the midterms and before the new Congress begins.

Here’s what the packed agenda includes:

Government funding: Congress passed a short-term funding bill in September that is set to expire Dec. 16, making government funding the number one priority for Congress when it returns from recess.

Because the legislation must pass, it could attract additional measures that Democrats want to erase in the lame duck session. For example, additional financial support for Ukraine. Democrats also want more funding for the Covid-19 pandemic, but Republicans are unlikely to support that demand. Democrats could also ask for more money for the Justice Department’s investigation into the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.

Defense bill: Congress must also pass the defense bill. Consideration of this far-reaching bill could spark debate and pressure for amendments on a variety of topics, including whether to punish Saudi Arabia for its recent decision to cut oil production.

Confirmation of Biden-appointed judges to the federal bench: Senate Democrats will also continue to confirm President Joe Biden’s appointed federal bench justices, a key priority for the party.

Vote on same-sex marriage in the Senate: In mid-September, the chamber launched a vote until after November’s midterm elections, with negotiators asking for more time to lock in support – a move that could make it more likely the bill will eventually win. adopted by the chamber. Schumer has promised to hold a vote on the bill, but the exact timing has yet to be set. Democrats pushed for the vote after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, raising fears that the court is targeting the same sex. or interracial marriage in the future.

Law on the electoral count: The votes are likely on bipartisan legislation that would make it harder to void a certified presidential election, a response to former President Donald Trump’s efforts to stall the 2020 election results, which led to the Capitol siege. He is backed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky. If the bill passes the Senate, it will also have to clear the House, which in September passed its own version of the legislation.

Debt limit: It is not yet known exactly when the nation will hit the debt limit and it seems unlikely for now that Congress will act to raise it during the lame session, especially since other bills must-haves compete for speaking time. Congress doesn’t need to raise the nation’s borrowing limit until next year, but there has been internal debate over whether Democrats should try to raise it before the end of this year, especially if Republicans take control of the House.

CNN’s Melanie Zanona contributed to this report.

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