The House and Senate are out this week for the Thanksgiving recess and return next week with the goal of striking a deal on extending a government funding bill that is set to expire on December 7th. The most pressing issue surrounding the funding bill is the president’s request for border wall funding. Congress will also try to address expired tax breaks and potential technical fixes to the GOP tax law before the end of the year.

Other pressing issues remain in the Senate with Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) demanding a vote on a bill to protect Robert Mueller and his investigation and Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) pushing for a vote on a bipartisan sentencing reform bill.

Election Update:

On Sunday, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson conceded the U.S. Senate race in Florida to Republican Gov. Rick Scott, giving Senate Republicans a 52-47 majority in the Senate with an expected 53 seats following the Mississippi runoff election later this month. In the House, Democrats hold a 232-198 majority with 5 races that remain undecided. Out of the five races, 4 are leaning towards Republican victories for incumbent Reps. Will Hurd (TX-23), Mia Love (UT-4), Rob Woodall (GA-7), and Chris Collins (NY-27).

Leadership Elections:

Last week, House Republicans selected Rep. Kevin McCarthy to serve as the House Minority Leader for the 116th Congress, defeating a challenge from Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan by a vote of 159-43. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) was selected to serve as House Minority Whip, and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) will be the GOP conference chairwoman, the third-ranking House Republican.

House Democrats will select their leadership later this month with current House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) seeking to shore up the votes needed to be elected speaker. Rumors have circulated that she does not yet have the votes, while some Republicans, including Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y) have expressed a willingness to support Pelosi’s bid in exchange for modifications to House rules.

In the Senate Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was re-elected as Senate Republican leader, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) as Senate president pro tempore, John Thune (R-S.D.) as Senate Republican whip, John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) as Senate Republican Conference chairman, Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) as Senate Republican Policy Committee chairman, Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) as Senate Republican Conference vice chairman, and Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) as National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman.

Also in the Senate, besides maintaining Schumer as minority leader, Senate Democrats also decided Wednesday to keep the rest of their leadership team in place. That includes Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) as minority whip and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) as assistant minority leader.

Merit Shop Scorecard Update:

ABC will be releasing the annual state Merit Shop Scorecard update on November 28th, which includes research updates and policy changes from 2018 legislative sessions around the states. ABC State Affairs will be sending an email today with additional information, and if you haven’t had a chance to look at past Merit Shop Scorecard resources provided to chapters, please check out this National Connections page here.

Reminder: Government Affairs Program Content and Videos on National Connections

Chapters are encouraged to share resources and video content developed by ABC National about various government affairs programs at future chapter board meeting, event or membership drives. Numerous resources and videos are available in the Political Advocacy section of National Connections about grassroots, the ABC Action App, CLRF, FEA, PAC and PLAs. Please feel free to use these resources to help educate membership about key government affairs programs and align chapter leaders with ABC’s strategic plan.