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Lawmakers Face Major Hurdles During Last Session of the 116th Congress


Lawmakers are back in Washington, DC for what's historically called their lame-duck session because some of them are being replaced by new lawmakers in January and will not be returning to Washington next year.

This time around — due to extraordinary uncertainty — they confront major challenges including election fallout, a possible government shutdown, and the need for stimulus as coronavirus spikes across the country.

Returning Republicans and Democrats face major hurdles, including election fallout, a possible government shutdown, and the need for stimulus as coronavirus spikes across the country.

Both parties agree economic relief is a top priority.

"We need to think about if we're going to come up with a bipartisan package here, about what size is appropriate," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) earlier this week." 

But even after months of debating, the sides cannot agree on an amount.  

"The Heroes Act is what we should be discussing. Not an emaciated bill that prioritizes considers the needs of corporations and American families as an afterthought," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) during a press conference Thursday.

The GOP wants a targeted package of around $500 billion. Democrats are pushing for broader relief closer to $2 trillion.  

Both parties support help for health-care systems, schools, and small businesses plus a new round of $1,200 checks for individuals.

Unless Congress approves another spending bill, the government could shut down on Dec. 11. Leader McConnell and Speaker Pelosi reportedly agree on the goal of a new package of spending bills rather than another funding extension.

If talks fail, however, a "continuing resolution" could keep things running. 

One item happening on Capitol Hill is the confirmation of new judges and McConnell plans to continue right up to the end of the 116th Congress. 

"President Trump has appointed 222 federal judges which is any of his five predecessors. But the significance of that number is that Trump's nominees have faced more opposition from the other party than anyone in history," said Thomas Jipping of The Heritage Foundation.

Another unresolved issue for the lame-duck session, no Defense Authorization Bill. 

The President says he will veto any legislation including name changes of military installations named after Confederate generals.

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