Below is this week’s congressional update by BakerHostetler’s Federal Policy team. We’ll continue to post in weeks when both chambers of Congress are in session.


  • Congress aims to wrap up its work for the year, as both chambers seek to approve legislation raising the debt limit before recessing for Christmas.
  • Democrats are still negotiating various aspects of their Build Back Better Act, including the state and local tax deduction. Amid fears of rising inflation and the crowded preholiday legislative calendar, it’s increasingly unlikely that the package will be finalized by the end of 2021 as they hoped.
  • President Joe Biden will travel to South Carolina to speak at the commencement at South Carolina State University. The school is the alma mater of House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, whose endorsement in the state’s 2020 primary is credited with reviving Biden’s moribund presidential campaign and launching him to victory in that primary and eventually the general election.


  • Lawmakers hope to finish their work Tuesday but might need to meet Wednesday, too. In addition to debt limit legislation, the House will also vote on holding Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress.
  • The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis will hold a hearing on Tuesday on efforts to accelerate vaccinations globally.
  • Committee activity is limited this week, as lawmakers hope to conclude votes and return home to their districts as soon as possible.


  • The Senate will vote to raise the debt limit and continue votes on Biden’s judicial nominees. Build Back Better negotiations are also concentrated in the Senate but do not appear likely to be completed this week.
  • The Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday on disaster recovery assistance, just days after tornadoes devastated a wide swath of communities across western Kentucky and three other states.
  • The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on Wednesday will host top executives from the nation’s four largest airlines for an oversight hearing on the industry.
  • The current list of Senate committee activity can be found here.


  • First Lady Jill Biden and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff on Wednesday will visit Waukesha, Wisconsin, weeks after an attack on the city’s Christmas parade killed six people and injured dozens more.
  • Biden on Thursday will award the Medal of Honor to three soldiers “for acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty.”
  • The president on Friday will be the commencement speaker at South Carolina State University as his crucial ally Clyburn will walk the stage to formally receive the diploma he earned in 1961.