Lame-Duck Congress Begins

Posted: Nov 10, 2014 8:15 AM

Less than a week after Democrats got a shellacking at the polls from voters across the country, the lame-duck Congress has returned to Washington D.C. to start on unfinished business before losing candidates turn their seats over the Republicans in January. Here's a sneak peak of what they'll be working on:

After an extended election-season break, Congress returns to Washington this week with a list of unresolved issues, including passage of a temporary spending bill and whether to approve President Obama’s request for more money to fight the Islamic State group.

House and Senate appropriations committees will try to agree on an omnibus spending bill that would keep the federal government running beyond Dec. 11, with little chance either party will fail to negotiate and force a hugely unpopular, partial-government shutdown.

Despite threats from President Obama to issue executive action on illegal immigration before the end of the year, Congress is very unlikely to take up the issue during the lame-duck session.

A vote on Senate leadership is also expected sometime this week. Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell is very likely to be voted Senate Majority Leader while Senator Harry Reid looks at moving to the Minority Leader position or out of leadership all together. There is a chance Reid will be replaced in Senate leadership by New York Senator Chuck Schumer depending on how Democrats decide to vote.

President Obama will be out of the country for the week with stops throughout Asia, but stressed last week that Congress has a lot of work to do in the lame-duck session before Senate power is handed to Republicans. 

Over the weekend, President Obama nominated Brooklyn Prosecutor Loretta Lynch to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder. White House officials are pushing for her confirmation before the end of the year, but considering the importance of the position, is unlikely.

The Senate has not confirmed an attorney general during a lame-duck, post-election session since 1906, Wyoming GOP Sen. John Barrasso told “Fox News Sunday.”

“The attorney general of the United States is a very consequential position,” he said.

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., on Sunday also said Congress should wait.

There are a total of 14 working days in the lame-duck session.