Both houses of Congress returned this week to kick off a busy “lame duck” session to close out the 117th Congress. The date to watch, other than the end of the year, is December 16th, when government funding is set to expire.
What is a lame duck session? This is the session of congress (right now until the end of 2022) that takes place right after an election for the next congress (118th Congress), but before the current Congress (117th Congress) reaches the end of its term.
Why does this matter? How does it affect Congress this year? For years there has been discussion about what a Congress should do after an election, where in some states a new member has been elected for the new Congress but the current member of Congress still must serve until the end of the year. While the Senate votes are now finalized, the House elections continue. It is not clear how the current members of Congress will work together for the remaining days, but there are important issues like the federal budget and a number of bipartisan priorities still to be passed.
Plain Language: Congress has a lot of work to do before the end of the year, but it is not clear how they will work together to get that work done.