This week: Congress starts lame-duck with leadership fight

Lawmakers, returning to Washington for the first time in more than a month, are locked in a battle over who will lead Congress next year.

Congress is slated to reconvene on Tuesday, with both chambers gearing up for leadership elections and House Republicans adjusting to their soon-to-be minority status after Democrats managed to flip the chamber during last week’s midterm election.

In the House, GOP lawmakers are set to vote on their new leadership on Nov. 14, with a battle underway for the caucus’s top spot. A leadership election candidate forum is expected to be held Tuesday early evening.

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House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOn The Money: Treasury rejects Dem subpoena for Trump tax returns | Companies warn trade war about to hit consumers | Congress, White House to launch budget talks next week | Trump gets deal to lift steel tariffs on Mexico, Canada Congressional leaders to launch budget talks with White House RNC chair on Alabama abortion bill: I would have exceptions for rape, incest MORE (R-Calif.), who sent a letter to colleagues last week announcing his official bid for the position, appears to be the front-runner in the race for minority leader. McCarthy was endorsed by Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDebate with Donald Trump? Just say no Ex-Trump adviser says GOP needs a better health-care message for 2020 Liz Cheney faces a big decision on her future MORE (R-Wis.) to be his successor shortly after his retirement announcement in April.

But the California Republican faces a challenge from Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanMueller mystery: Will he ever testify to Congress? Ohio State report documents 177 cases of sexual misconduct by team doctor Republicans defend drug company in spotlight over HIV medication prices MORE (R-Ohio), who, with the backing of a coalition of outside groups, argues the GOP needs a leadership overhaul if they are going to take back the House.

With last week’s defeats, House Republicans will have a smaller, and more conservative, caucus next year, which could give the at times combative wing of the conference more leverage within the party.

House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseTrump encouraged Scalise to run for governor in Louisiana: report We owe a debt of gratitude to all our police officers and their families House votes to extend flood insurance program MORE (R-La.) is slated to be the next House minority whip, while Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyThe GOP's commitment to electing talented women can help party retake the House GOP launches anti-BDS discharge petition Republicans amp up attacks on Tlaib's Holocaust comments MORE (R-Wyo.) is expected to serve as House Republican Conference chair. House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersThe GOP's commitment to electing talented women can help party retake the House McCain and Dingell: Inspiring a stronger Congress Regulators implore Congress for more privacy powers MORE (R-Wash.) announced she wouldn't seek a second term in leadership last week, shortly after Cheney — who has the backing of several top Republicans — announced she planned to challenge the Washington Republican.

Rep. Mark WalkerBradley (Mark) Mark WalkerNCAA to consider allowing student athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness Members spar over sexual harassment training deadline Colorado state senators plan to introduce bill to let NCAA athletes get paid MORE (R-N.C.), who currently serves as the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, announced his bid to serve as vice chairman.

Democrats in the lower chamber are slated hold their leadership elections later this month, but jockeying for the positions is expected to heat up in coming days.

While House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiPelosi receives John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award Dems walk Trump trade tightrope Tlaib calls on Amash to join impeachment resolution MORE (D-Calif.) is the front-runner in the race for Speaker, a number of members within her caucus are vowing to vote against her despite a challenger not having come forward. House Minority Whip Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton Hoyer5 things to watch as Trump, Dems clash over investigations GOP lawmaker: Trump has engaged in multiple actions that 'meet the threshold for impeachment' Maxine Waters: Parts of Trump immigration plan are 'very racist' MORE (D-Md.) announced he will seek to be the next majority leader. Rep. Diana Degette (D-Colo.) will face off against Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) for the position of House majority whip.

And Reps. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeOvernight Health Care: HHS issues rule requiring drug prices in TV ads | Grassley, Wyden working on plan to cap drug costs in Medicare | Warren to donate money from family behind opioid giant Dem lawmaker shares video of herself dancing to Beyonce for Dance Week Lawmakers renew push to create American Latino Smithsonian museum MORE (D-Calif.) and Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou Jeffries Winter is here: How 'Game of Thrones' took over American politics The CASE Act is an opportunity for creators to have rights and remedies Dems struggle to make Trump bend on probes MORE (D-N.Y.) are both vying for the role of conference chair.

In the Senate, leadership elections are expected to be less dramatic.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBolton emerges as flashpoint in GOP debate on Iran On The Money: Treasury rejects Dem subpoena for Trump tax returns | Companies warn trade war about to hit consumers | Congress, White House to launch budget talks next week | Trump gets deal to lift steel tariffs on Mexico, Canada Schumer calls on McConnell to hold vote on Equality Act MORE (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer wants investigation into Chinese-designed New York subway cars Getting serious about infrastructure Schumer calls on McConnell to hold vote on Equality Act MORE (D-N.Y.) are both expected to retain the top spot in their respective caucus.

With Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynTrump's immigration push faces Capitol Hill buzzsaw The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Restrictive state abortion laws ignite fiery 2020 debate Sinema, Gallagher fastest lawmakers in charity race MORE (R-Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican, term-limited in his position after this year, the rest of GOP leadership is expected to seek to move up the ladder. Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneHillicon Valley: Trump takes flak for not joining anti-extremism pact | Phone carriers largely end sharing of location data | Huawei pushes back on ban | Florida lawmakers demand to learn counties hacked by Russians | Feds bust 0M cybercrime group Senate Commerce chair to renew push for regs on self-driving vehicles Hillicon Valley: Facebook co-founder calls for breaking up company | Facebook pushes back | Experts study 2020 candidates to offset 'deepfake' threat | FCC votes to block China Mobile | Groups, lawmakers accuse Amazon of violating children's privacy MORE (R-S.D.), currently the No. 3 Republican senator, is expected to become the next majority whip.

Meanwhile, Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) are battling to become vice chair of the Senate GOP conference, where one of them will be the first woman to serve in the elected Senate Republican leadership since 2010.

Sen. Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungBipartisan senators unveil measure to end surprise medical bills Pence, McConnell eulogize Sen. Richard Lugar On The Money: GOP angst grows over Trump's trade war | Trump promises help for 'Patriot Farmers' | Markets rebound | CBO founding director Alice Rivlin dies | Senate to vote on disaster aid bill next week MORE (R-Ind.) is running to be chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, while Sen. Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoThis week: Barr back in hot seat over Mueller report Schumer, author discussed possible Kansas Senate run: report Life in the minority at the FCC MORE (D-Nev.) is reportedly being courted to lead the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

2019 freshmen arrive

Members of next year’s freshman class are arriving in D.C. this week to start laying the groundwork for 2019.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus held a press conference on Monday with some newly elected members on Monday.

Meanwhile, the 116th freshman class will be on Capitol Hill Tuesday for new member orientation.

The newly elected lawmakers are expected to register and check in on Tuesday, gather to take their freshman class photo on Wednesday and attend new member briefings on Thursday.

McConnell will meet with newly elected Republican senators and hold a photo op on Wednesday. Though the Florida Senate race remains too close to call, GOP Gov. Rick Scott is expected to attend new member orientation and participate in leadership elections.

New members also partake in the office lottery, where it’ll be determined who gets the best office space. While most elections have been called, some potential members could end up attending orientation then ultimately end up losing their races. Members will officially be sworn in early next year.

Manage Our Wolves Act

The House is slated to vote on legislation that would delist gray wolves from endangered species lists in the 48 contiguous states and transfer their management back to the states.

“According to the U.S. Department of Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s best available scientific evidence, the gray wolf is not endangered any no longer warrants federal endangered species protection,” Rep. Dan NewhouseDaniel (Dan) Milton NewhouseThirty-four GOP members buck Trump on disaster bill Cybersecurity Advisory Committee will strengthen national security through a stronger public-private partnership Hillicon Valley — Presented by NCTA — HUD hits Facebook with discrimination charges | Agency also investigating Twitter, Google | Twitter may label Trump tweets that violate rules | Apple moves raise competition concerns MORE (R-Wash.) said in a statement upon the bill’s introduction.

Coast Guard authorization

The Senate will return on Tuesday afternoon and hold an initial vote on coast guard authorization legislation.

The vote comes after senators blocked the bill earlier this year, with environmentalists and opponents arguing it would weaken water pollution standards.

The April version of the bill included a version of the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act, which would exempt ships’ ballast water from Clean Water Act oversight under the Environmental Protection Agency and stop most states’ attempts to regulate ballast water.

The provision has been updated in the bill the Senate will try to advance this week. If the legislation overcomes Tuesday night’s hurdle, a final vote is expected on Wednesday.