Gov Funding, Gay Marriage in Focus for Congress

The U.S. Congress needs to pass a stop-gap bill to keep the federal government funded now that Congress is back in session. Congress could also vote on protecting gay marriage rights. 

A brief Washington work period started on Tuesday before Democrats and Republicans returned to the campaign trail.

With President Joe Biden’s Democrats expected to lose their thin majority in the U.S. House of Representatives in the Nov. 8 midterms, and with Senate control also at stake, Democrats aim to engineer smooth passage of a temporary government funding bill by Sept. 30 to avoid partial federal agency shutdowns when the money runs out at the end of this month.

Congress will have to work fast. 

The Senate reopens on Tuesday evening and the House on Sept. 13. But they won’t be in session for long. The House is scheduled to be in session for only 11 days this month and will then be gone until Nov. 14, the midterm date.

Republican cooperation will be necessary for the Senate for the temporary funding bill that may last until December. 

The temporary funding bill for the government is needed because the two parties have yet to agree on a dozen regular funding bills.

Gay marriage is also coming into focus. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, has also vowed to hold a vote on a House-passed bill codifying the right to same-sex marriage.

It is not clear that the bill will have the 10 Republican votes needed to pass. During the August recess, both parties worked on revisions to the measure, which could help its prospects, according to a source familiar with the discussions. 

Protecting gay marriage is at the forefront of issues now that the Supreme Court has overturned the national constitutional right to an abortion. People fear that gay marriage will be next on the extremely conservative court’s chopping block. 

Plenty of controversial issues could roil Congress as it grapples with a massive spending bill. This includes emergency funds to help Ukraine in its ongoing fight against Russian forces, as well as billions in Covid aid. 

That’s not all. Climate change has meant a lot of the country is suffering from flooding, wildfires, and other natural disasters. Money has also been requested in aid for that. So too has money to help deal with the outbreak of monkeypox. 

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