Biden says Democrats will “maintain our positions on abortion” but have no votes on codification

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

After weeks of campaigning for the midterm election, lawmakers are faced with a jam-packed legislative to-do list, with Democratic leaders keen to do several during the lame duck session — post-midterm and pre-midterm Congress begins to bring bills to the table.

Here’s what the busy agenda includes:

Government Funding: Congress passed a short-term funding bill in September that expires December 16, making government funding the top priority for Congress when it returns from recess.

Since the law needs to be passed, it could entail additional measures that Democrats plan to clarify during 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 motion. Democrats could also ask for more money for the Justice Department investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.

defense law: Congress must also pass the defense bill. Consideration of the far-reaching bill could spark debate and pressure for changes on a variety of issues, including whether to penalize Saudi Arabia for its recent decision to curb oil production.

Confirmation of the judges nominated by Biden for the Bundesbank: Senate Democrats will also continue to confirm judges for President Joe Biden’s Bundesbank nominee, a key priority for the party.

Senate Same-Sex Marriage Vote: In mid-September, the chamber was betting on a vote until after November’s midterm elections, when negotiators asked for more time to lock support — a move that could make it more likely that the law will ultimately pass the chamber. Schumer has promised to vote on the law, but the exact timing is yet to be determined. Democrats have pushed for the vote after the Supreme Court ruled Roe v. Wade, sparking fears the court could target same-sex or interracial marriage in the future.

Election Counting Law: Votes on bipartisan legislation are likely that would make it harder to overturn a certified presidential election, in response to former President Donald Trump’s efforts to stall the 2020 election results that led to the Capitol Siege. She is supported by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky. If the bill passes the Senate, it would also have to clear the House of Representatives, which passed its own version of the bill in September.

debt limit: It’s not yet clear exactly when the nation will hit the debt ceiling, and it seems unlikely for now that Congress will act to raise it during the lame duck session, especially as other must-pass bills compete for speaking time . Congress doesn’t have to raise the nation’s credit limit until sometime next year, but there has been some internal debate over whether Democrats should seek to raise it before the end of this year, especially if Republicans are expected to take control of the House of Representatives.

CNN’s Melanie Zanona contributed to this report.


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