Welcome to 117th Congress
Following a high-energy election season, the House begins the 117th Congress this month. With each new congress, old bills are shelved and new ones introduced, ready to start the committee and mark-up process all over again. With House Republicans performing better than expected in November, the chamber’s makeup stands at 222 D – 212 R; tighter majority for Democrats means it will be tougher to pass bills quickly along party lines.
Leadership elections and committee assignments for the next two years are currently underway, and Nancy Pelosi has been chosen by House Democrats to continue her tenure as Speaker.
As of late January 6, Republicans appear to have failed to hold either of the Georgia Senate seats up for reelection. In what many are calling a political disaster, this sudden loss of the Senate chamber will allow President-elect Joe Biden and House Democrats to have widespread control of the country’s legislative and policy making processes for the next few years. This shift will also likely embolden moderate Democrats who may wish to leverage their crucial support in a narrowly controlled chamber to elicit concessions from incoming Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
On the appropriations front, President Trump recently backed off his threat to veto a combination spending bill and coronavirus relief package, signing the omnibus legislation into law last week. The bill provided $600 for individuals and $1200 for families. Following the bill’s passage, the president vetoed the NDAA bill passed by the House and Senate.
The House and Senate then voted to override his veto and pass the bill. On the agency front, the outgoing Administration is looking to tie up a few loose ends before it departs on January 20, including an ANWR lease sale and transferring fracking wastewater oversight in Texas from EPA to TCEQ.