The 116th Congress has officially reached the halfway point as members return this month after a productive December. For the first time since Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, Congress completed all 12 appropriations bills prior to the holiday recess, while racking up a number of other wins in the two minibuses, from the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act to full repeal of several Affordable Care Act taxes. With a relatively clean slate, Congress now will turn to what is expected to be a somewhat less frantic legislative period given the presidential election year.
While the Senate had planned to start last week on the impeachment trial, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) decided to hold onto the House-passed articles of impeachment while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) continue to negotiate the initial process and procedure for the Senate trial. Ultimately, Speaker Pelosi and Sen. Schumer are demanding that certain documents and witnesses be included as part of the Senate trial, while Sen. McConnell argues that the Senate should follow the precedent of the Clinton impeachment trial and consider the question of potential witnesses and documents after the initial presentation by House managers and President Trump’s defense team. However, the Senate is now likely to start the trial next week after the House appoints managers and transmits the articles of impeachment, which is expected to happen in the next day or two.
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