- THE SENATE AND HOUSE ARE BACK. With the Senate and House of Representatives back in Washington, DC, we begin the lame duck session of Congress. What can get done during a lame duck session remains a key question for stakeholders. Congress needs to approve government funding by December 11. It is likely that we could see a short-term continuing resolution that funds the government and the healthcare extenders for a few months into the next year. However, an additional COVID-19 relief package remains up in the air. There remain significant differences between Republicans and Democrats on the amount of spending that should go towards the package.
- GEORGIA ON OUR MINDS. Also influencing the COVID-19 relief negotiations is the Georgia runoff election. On January 5, Georgia will vote to fill both of its Senate seats. (In Georgia, in order to be declared the winner in an election, a candidate must receive at least 50% of the vote. If that does not take place, under Georgia law, the race automatically goes to a runoff between the top two vote-getters). The situation in Georgia is very high stakes for both parties. The outcome of the Georgia election will determine which is in control of the Senate, with Democrats needing to win both seats in order to gain control. As a result, how a COVID-19 relief package could influence Georgia voters will determine how both parties position themselves in negotiations.
- ORGANIZING THE NEW ADMINISTRATION AND CONGRESS. This week, the House will vote on its leadership for the next two years. Although current leadership, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), are set in their positions, other lower-level leadership positions are up for grabs. Also ongoing is the Biden Administration’s formation of a transition team. As stakeholders plan for their 2021 advocacy strategies, it is important to track who is landing at the various agencies and roles.
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