House Democrats are set to continue a contentious debate over the speaker’s gavel for the 116th Congress. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) — the presumed favorite for the speakership in the 116th Congress — is facing pushback from a host of incumbent and incoming Democrats who claim they have the votes to block her path to victory. Leader Pelosi is also facing dissent from some members of the centrist Problem Solvers Caucus, who are pushing for an endorsement of their proposed House rule changes for the next Congress in exchange for their support. Despite the intraparty opposition, a clear challenger to Leader Pelosi has yet to emerge after Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) announced she would not seek the speakership last week. Democratic lawmakers will hold a closed-door vote on Wednesday for a speaker nominee, followed by a floor vote in January after the new Congress gavels in.
When lawmakers return today, they will have less than two weeks to prevent a partial government shutdown as the debate over border wall funding comes to a head. Despite GOP leadership’s optimism that a deal will be reached, President Trump has repeatedly insisted that he would welcome a shutdown if his border wall priorities are not adequately funded. The House’s bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security provides $5 billion in border funding, while the Senate’s version would give the administration $1.6 billion. As of today, Congressional leadership has yet to strike a deal that would prevent a partial government shutdown.
On the floor, the Senate is slated to return to action today as leadership looks to clear a slew of presidential nominations. When the upper chamber returns this afternoon, Senators will vote to invoke cloture and end debate on the nomination of Stephen Vaden to be General Counsel of the Department of Agriculture. Meanwhile, the House will reconvene tomorrow to begin consideration of 29 bills under suspension of the rules.