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Home / US / Congress Lame-Duck and Trump face major challenges in the coming weeks

Congress Lame-Duck and Trump face major challenges in the coming weeks



Even before Biden took office on January 20, Congress had to comply with a government funding deadline of December 11. Failure to reach a deal would result in a government shutdown and Trump did not report. signal whether he will sign a new spending bill.

At the same time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Both expressed their desire to adopt new healthcare and economic relief measures to address the growing coronavirus pandemic – something Congress has been unable to do since spring. But it̵

7;s uncertain if they will find common ground in the coming weeks: McConnell is pushing for a narrow and targeted bill, while Pelosi continues to insist on a broader and bolder bailout package.

Meanwhile, members of Biden’s transition team are expected to initiate chats with Democrats and congressional aides next week to draw a strategy for the lame session, With the aim of making money for their priorities in the spending law before the end of the year, the two are familiar with Sunday’s developments. They talk on condition of anonymity because the chats are private.

Stupid congressional sessions can be ceremonial affairs, especially when a presidential administration begins to leave and a new one prepares to take control. However, this transition has become much more different, the country is facing severe economic turmoil and the coronavirus pandemic entering a deadly new phase. Since Election Day on Tuesday, Trump has not publicly expressed much interest in changing course toward the economy or reacting to the coronavirus.

Trump administration officials have pointed out that they cannot play much of a role in any new round of stimulus negotiations, leaving McConnell in the lead instead. Meanwhile, Biden allies predict Sunday that Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris will pressure Congress to roll out a compromise coronavirus bailout bill that has already eluded. Trump administration lawmakers and officials for months.

“Joe will be able to rally leaders in Congress to provide the relief we need and deserve, and one way President Trump can show some kindness over the next 73 days in the process. The converter is openly in favor of an important pandemic relief bill. “Senator Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), Biden’s Top Representative, said Sunday on ABC’s” This Week “.

Biden’s deputy campaign director, Kate Bedingfield, says “work begins immediately,” as Biden is set to announce a coronavirus task force on Monday and begin serious presidential transition work. .

“He will call. He will inform the American people of how he will deliver on his campaign promises, ”Bedingfield said on NBC’s“ Meet the Press ”.

Despite Biden’s victory, McConnell is likely to remain the majority leader in the new Congress, though that outcome depends on the results of two Senate races in Georgia in early January. Pelosi will also continue as a speaker, although she will preside over a smaller majority after Democrats perform below their expectations in races for the House and Senate in the election. on Tuesday.

Republican lawmakers argued on Sunday that those results led to the rejection of left-wing policies and calls for compromise, most immediately on the law that addresses the coronavirus crisis. Cases are on the rise across the country, and the economy is showing signs of slowing down after much of the stimulus money Congress passed in the spring has dried up.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said on CNN: “We started, in my opinion, we started immediately to bail out families and small businesses that were suffering the consequences of the recession. economics related to covid. “That’s what we’ll have to do, and we’ll have to do it in a bipartisan way.”

Romney was one of the few GOP leaders who congratulated Biden on his victory. Others, such as Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.), Are calling for the counting of votes to end before Biden’s victory can be concluded, though Toomey said Sunday on CBS states that “the media’s prediction may be correct.”

Some of Trump’s staunchest allies on Sunday asserted that the election is far from over. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (RS.C.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, stated in an interview on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures” that there were suspicious votes in Pennsylvania. , Michigan and others.

“And I love looking at it,” Graham said. “Do not accept the media’s statement about Biden. Fight back. “

There is no evidence of any widespread fraud in the election. But the split between Republicans in parliament over whether to admit Biden as president-elect means negotiations over a new spending package or a coronavirus bailout bill will be underway. something in the clouds.

Those spending talks are expected to begin in earnest this week as lawmakers work to assemble a massive package of 12 spending bills that must be passed annually to fund Government agencies. McConnell and Pelosi have said that they want to get the job done on the 2021 financial spending bills in the lame session, rather than just passing another short-term funding extension on December 11 that would spur public real government funding to the next administrative administrative stage.

However, if they cannot agree on a new spending law, a short-term “continuation solution” will become the most likely contingency option. Any conundrums can arise in the discussion of spending, including how much money is spent on certain programs and the abortion language that has long divided. parties.

It is unlikely that spending law work will clash with negotiations on economic bailout measures, which could be attached to spending bills or own transfers. Lawmakers on both sides broadly agree on the need to spend more on healthcare systems, vaccines, schools and small businesses, and McConnell and Pelosi have indicated their support. to send a new $ 1,200 stimulus test to individuals.

McConnell also pointed out immediate post-election support for sending additional aid to cities and states, something that was a central need for Democrats. But McConnell and Pelosi were far apart in terms of the overall price of any economic bailout law, with McConnell arguing last week that a job report showed the unemployment rate fell to 6.9%. supported his push for a narrower bailout bill – a position Pelosi rejected.

Pelosi has pushed the law for up to $ 2 trillion in the north, while McConnell has backed a bill of around $ 500 billion. If they can’t reach a deal in the bad session that would have left Biden doing the work of drafting a new economic bailout bill as an early priority when he took office, while the Americans waited. Waiting months for more relief will have to wait much longer.

In another matter awaiting session, Congress has yet to announce or vote on the compromised version of the annual defense authorization bill, which has been controversial over whether military facilities are to be placed under Should the names of the Alliance generals be renamed or not. Trump has threatened to veto any law requiring a name change.

Karoun Demirjian contributed to this report.


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