In this lame duck period (the legislative session between the election and the end of the year) Congress has a busy legislative agenda, which includes passing FY 2017 funding legislation and the National Defense Authorization Act, among others. While this “regular” work is being conducted, Congress is also busy transitioning for the new 115th Congress.
The newly elected incoming House members have just wrapped up two weeks of orientation. During this time, new members received a crash course in how Capitol Hill works, met fellow incoming and current members, held fundraisers to help pay off outstanding election debt, and received office assignments through a lottery system.
While the new members were in Washington it allowed for the Republican and Democrat Caucuses to prepare for the next Congress which will begin on January 3, 2017. Here is what has been completed thus far:
House Democrats last week re-elected Nancy Pelosi of California to a sixth term as House Minority Leader. While she was re-elected on a 134-63 secret ballot vote, she did receive a strong challenge from Ohio Representative Tim Ryan. Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland ran unopposed to remain his House Minority Whip position.
On the Republican side of the House aisle, Republicans have nominated Rep. Paul Ryan to continue to be speaker in the 115th Congress. An official vote for House Speaker will be in January. The Republicans also elected Rep. Kevin McCarthy (CA) to continue to be House Majority Leader and Rep. Steve Scalise (LA) to again be House Majority Whip.
Last week, the Speaker’s Office released the Committee Chairs for the 115th Congress and the Majority Leader’s Office released the 2017 House calendar. House committees and subcommittees will be announced in January.
In the Senate, Mitch McConnell (KY) was re-elect to another term as Senate Majority Leader and Chuck Schumer (NY) was elected to succeed retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (NV).
As President-elect Trump is busy putting together his administration for next year, so too is the legislative branch of government. The picture of what the American government will look like for the next several years is starting to come into place, giving advocates the time to begin to put together their upcoming legislative strategies.
By Jeff Kratz, Contributing Author, The Sower Group