Here's the scoop on what's happening this week in Congress
November 11, 2022
This Week in Congress
House and Senate
Will reconvene on November 14.
As of the writing, a number of key Congressional races remain uncalled, and it will take days to know the balance of power as officials count mail-in ballots in dozens of close races, with some results subject to recounts and court challenges.
Based on the current election results, Republicans appear to be on track to narrowly take control of the House. To date, Republicans have won 211 seats, compared to 192 wins for Democrats, with 30 races not yet called. At least 218 are needed to claim a majority.
The latest vote count shows that Republicans have won 49 seats to the Democrats’ 48. Control of the US Senate hinges on three races—Nevada, Arizona, and Georgia. In Georgia, where a candidate is required to receive 50% of the vote, neither candidate (incumbent Warnock (D) or Walker (R)) secured a 50% threshold. A runoff election is scheduled for December 6.
The Republicans will hold their leadership elections on November 15; Democrats will hold their leadership elections on Nov. 30.
Senate Republicans have set their leadership elections for Nov. 16. As of this writing, no date has been set for the Senate Democrats to hold their leadership elections.
If Republicans take control of the House, as currently projected, current ranking member Kay Granger, R-Texas, will likely become chair and current chair Rosa DeLauro, D-Connecticut, will become the ranking member. If the House leadership decides to keep the committee size and partisan ratio the same as last year (30 members for the majority and 24 for the minority), then at least nine new Republicans will be added to the committee.
The Senate Appropriations Committee will face a leadership overhaul next Congress with committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Vice Chair Richard Shelby (R-AL) both retiring at the end of their terms. Which party will control the Senate is still unclear, but is it expected that Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) or Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) will chair or be the ranking member of the Committee.
Other Legislation and Happenings Around the Nation
Increase in Cases
This week the World Health Organization reported a slight increase in cases in 19 countries. However, WHO’s Director-General stated that despite the small rise in cases, the number of weekly cases is down 80% from the peak reported in August. Most of the cases reported last week were from the Americas and European regions. Of the 19 countries reporting rises, Mexico reported the highest increase.
This week the CDC released a study that found that hospitalization rates of infants under six months with Covid-19 increased as Omicron became the dominant variant. Babies in that age group, who are not eligible for vaccination, are also more likely to be hospitalized with Covid-19 than older children, teenagers, and adults under 65, the study found. The CDC has urged pregnant women to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their infants from the virus. The study can be found here
Michigan: Approved a constitutional amendment guaranteeing reproductive freedom, thus preventing a ban from 1931 from taking effect.
Kentucky: Rejected an amendment that would have declared in its constitution that there was no right to abortion. That made it the first Southern state to express direct support for abortion rights.
California: Approved a provision that enshrines the rights to both abortion and contraception.
Vermont: Approved a measure that creates a constitutional right to personal reproductive autonomy.
Montana: Rejected a ballot measure to require that infants born alive after attempted abortions be given medical care. Such a requirement already exists in federal law.
Arkansas: Rejected an initiative that would have made it more difficult to adopt constitutional amendments, a move that could be key to future abortion policy in the state.