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On the Hill: Congress Returns for Lame Duck

Lawmakers returned to Washington this week after a six-week recess leading up to the Nov. 8 election, the outcome of which means Republicans will control the White House and both chambers of Congress starting Jan. 20.

Full Republican control of the federal government has kick started discussions about repealing the Affordable Care Act and passing entitlement reform. America’s Essential Hospitals issued a statement Nov. 9 on the 2016 election results.

Meanwhile, House Democrats and Republicans are busy working to nail down party leadership posts. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the current House speaker, has been nominated to serve as speaker for the 115th Congress; the election will be held in January. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) seeks to retain her post as House minority leader. However, the election for that position, initially expected this week, has been postponed to Nov. 30. It is rumored that Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) might run against Pelosi for the top post.

In the Senate, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) likely will retain his post as majority leader. With the retirement of Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is expected to win election as minority leader.

On the agenda for the lame duck session are passage of a federal spending package and possible consideration of 21st Century Cures legislation. The federal government is currently funded only through Dec. 9 — a spending bill is required to avoid government shutdown.

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About the Author

Jocelyn Wiles is the manager of legislative affairs at America's Essential Hospitals.