Washington (Nexstar) – The lame duck session of Congress — the period of time after an election and before the new Congress begins — is when not much typically gets done. However, Democrats are trying to get as much legislation passed as possible before they lose the majority in the House and control of Congress is divided.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate passed a historic bill requiring the federal government and states to recognize same-sex marriages.
“Their marriages are and will in the future continue to be valid,” Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) said.
Democrats pushed for passage of the bill for fear the Supreme Court would overturn current same-sex marriage protections.
“In response to concerns over religious liberty, this already narrow bill has been significantly amended in the Senate to include robust religious liberty protections,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).
The bill, supported by 11 Senate Republicans, now heads back to the House for another vote before heading to the president’s desk.
Additionally, Congress will take up a bill that could force freight railroad unions to agree to a new labor contract and avoid a strike that could impact the delivery of coal, lumber and fuel this winter.
“Congress, I think, has to act to prevent it, it’s not an easy call but I think we have to do it,” President Biden said.
A majority of the unions support the contract that the Biden administration helped negotiate, but four oppose it.
Further, Congress is also looking at the passage of the Electoral Count Act, following the attack on the Capitol, to raise the threshold for objecting to election results and clarify the vice president’s role. The measure has bipartisan support, including from Republican leader Mitch McConnell, but Congress is running out of time.
Finally, Democrats also hope to approve a long-term government funding deal instead of the short-term funding measures the government has been operating under and they have to get it all done by the end of the year.