Congress Kicks Off 'Lame Duck' Session with Leadership Selections

Friday, November 18, 2016

On Monday, the U.S. Congress returned to Washington, D.C., to begin a lame-duck session that is expected to address government funding, which is set to expire December 9, and various leadership and committee posts for the 115th Congress. This week, the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives re-nominated the following Members: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as House Speaker; Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as Majority Leader; Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) as Majority Whip and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers as Republican Conference Chairwoman. The House Democrats will hold leadership elections on November 30.
In the Senate, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was elected for a second term to serve as Senate Majority Leader. Other leadership positions remained the same, including: Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) as Senate Republican Whip; Sen. John Thune (R-SD) as Senate Republican Conference Chairman; Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) as Senate Republican Policy Committee Chairman and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MI) as Senate Republican Conference Vice Chairman. The only change is the addition of Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) as National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman.
On the Senate Democratic side, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) replaced retiring Sen. Harry Reid as their leader. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) was promoted to a newly created position of Assistant Democratic Leader. She will work under Sen. Schumer and side-by-side with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) who was re-elected to be the Minority Whip.
Additionally, the Senate Democrats will continue to appoint Members to a newly-formed leadership team, which includes Sens. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)., and the final vote for House Speaker will be on January 3, with Members of both parties voting on the House floor.
As Members of Congress prepare to assume leadership positions, the federal advocacy staff will remain actively engaged during and after lame duck session to advocate for NSBA's legislative priorities, such as an appropriations bill that maximizes federal investments in public education.