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Congress Returns for Unfinished Business

Posted on in Campaigns & Elections · Congress · American Government

Members of the 117th Congress returned to Washington after the Thanksgiving recess with a lengthy list of legislative priorities left to complete. A new congress will be sworn in this January with a Republican majority in the House of Representatives. Among the issues that the ‘lame duck’ congress will have on their agenda will be renewing the Defense Authorization Act and funding the government through the end of the year. Furthermore, Democrats are seeking to codify the Respect for Marriage Act as well as election reform and additional Ukraine funding.
What have House Republicans promised to do when they assume power in January?

INSTRUCTORS: click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt and a debate question as well as other assessment questions.


News Articles

Congress stares down lengthy legislative to-do list in lame-duck session

CBS News


What can Democrats push through Congress in the lame-duck session?

The Guardian


Dems pressed on Biden’s call for assault weapons ban during lame duck session: Filibuster causing ‘problems’

FOX News


Lawmakers Return to Washington with Lengthy Lame-Duck Agenda

U.S. News and World Report


News Articles (Analyses)

These are the end-of-year political showdowns that will help decide America’s future



What to expect in the “lame duck” Congress

Brookings Institution


Democrats Push For Action on DACA During Lame-Duck Session



House Dems on GOP’s thin majority: Welcome to hell




Writing: Explain why a lame duck Congress might facilitate passage of certain controversial bills. How did the prospect of a lame duck Congress affect passage of the Respect for Marriage Act?

Debate: Should representatives who lost election still have the power to cast votes that affect the country?

Poll: Do you believe that new leadership in the House of Representatives will have a positive impact on the way the body does business?

Short Answer: Why is strong leadership important in a closely-divided congress?


What did Kevin McCarthy promise to do with Democratic colleagues Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell?

  1. to promote them to leadership positions
  2. to remove them from committee assignments
  3. to encourage them to run for senate
  4. to consult with them on bipartisan legislation

Which policy are activists in Illinois seeking legislative action on that currently affects about 600,000 people?

  1. student loan forgiveness
  2. the Green New Deal
  3. DACA
  4. an extension of the loan moratorium program

Why are some pundits predicting a difficult tenure as speaker for Kevin McCarthy?

  1. he was only elected in 2020
  2. there are various factions within his party and narrow margins
  3. McCarthy is best known for his opposition to former President Trump
  4. McCarthy is a high-profile member of the January 6th committee

Outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi is the only woman to fill that position in the U.S. House of Representatives. (T/F)

Hakeem Jeffries was a controversial choice by the Democrats for minority leader because he recently turned 80 years old. (T/F)

President Biden stated that he would like to see a ban on assault weapons passed in the lame duck congress. (T/F)


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