House leaves for the year with critical battles still on horizon

As we come to the close of 2019, US House Democrats will leave Washington, DC this week with a number of critical and unresolved matters left on the agenda.

Before leaving for the holiday break, the lower chamber passed a House version of a bill to fund government services into the new year, as well as a measure to bolster healthcare coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Both are awaiting action by the Senate.

In addition, the House passed legislation to limit President Trump’s authority regarding military action in Iran. However, that bill has yet to make it to the Senate floor for a vote.

Meanwhile, one of the House’s most pressing issues continues to be impeachment. Just before departing, the House Judiciary Committee handed off the articles of impeachment to the Senate. These articles outline the House’s charges against President Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Senate is now tasked with hearing from both sides and deciding whether or not to hold a trial to remove Trump from office.

The House also ended the year without a resolution on the US-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement, which Trump has touted as a successor to the existing NAFTA pact. As of yet, the House has not reached a consensus on how it will approach the USMCA, despite earlier assurances from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that it could be ready for a vote before the end of the year.

With 2020 officially beginning in just a few days, the battle over these pending matters amplifies. Democrats have promised increased efforts to explore various legal avenues in their attempts to investigate the president, while Republicans are likely to enforce their hold on the US Senate to limit the Dems’ efforts. Thus, the same dynamics that have defined the House agenda in 2019 will no doubt continue into the new year.