4 Things to Watch in Congress in 2020
How excited are you to watch Congress in 2020?
Lawmakers will return to the Capitol next week to start their legislative work in the second half of the 116th Congress in what will be a busy 2020 session. Here’s a look at four storylines to watch in Congress in the year ahead.
Impeachment Trial: It’s unclear when the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump will begin in the Senate because House Democrats haven’t yet appointed managers to present their case in the trial, and the length of a prospective trial is equally uncertain at this point. Once the Senate begins the trial it will be in session six days a week, Monday through Saturday, with proceedings from around 12:30pm in the afternoon until the evening. As jurors, all senators would be required to attend the trial and remain silent as it proceeds.
USMCA: The Senate will take up the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) sometime early in 2020, potentially before or after the impeachment trial depending on when the House chooses to appoint its managers for the trial. The trade deal, which will serve as a successor to NAFTA, received broad bipartisan support when it passed the House and is expected to gain similarly bipartisan approval from the Senate when it reaches the floor.
Funding Fights: While Congress already voted to fund the government through September 30, 2020, and set top-line budget numbers for the ensuing 2021 fiscal year before it adjourned at the end of 2019 ― the perpetual dysfunction of the appropriations process could cause lawmakers to resort to short-term continuing resolutions to avoid a government shutdown in the fall.
Pre-Election Recess: With House Democrats & Senate Republicans both hoping to retain their majorities, expect leadership to push members to wrap up work on must-pass legislation (such as government funding) well in advance of Election Day, which will fall on November 3, 2020. If past pre-election recesses are any indication, Congress will be out of session for most of October and perhaps some of September. Remaining legislative work will be punted to the lame duck session after the election.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / HaizhanZheng)
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