The Week Ahead: Race to adjournment

The clock is ticking as the 111th Congress scrambles to address a number of pressing legislative issues before both chambers adjourn for the holidays.

Passing the tax deal brokered by President Obama and Senate Republicans remains at the top of the agenda.


The proposed deal would extend the Bush-era tax cuts for two years and unemployment benefits for a further 13 months, and makes adjustments to the payroll and estate taxes.

The Senate will vote Monday to begin debate on a tax package to be brought to the floor by Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDemocrats say Biden must get more involved in budget fight Biden looks to climate to sell economic agenda Justice Breyer issues warning on remaking Supreme Court: 'What goes around comes around' MORE (D-Nev.).

Reid’s bill will include green incentives to gain liberal backing for the package. Democrats will need to break a filibuster from Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBriahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' Sanders 'disappointed' in House panel's vote on drug prices Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants MORE (I-Vt.) for the bill to pass.

It’s unclear whether the House will vote on this legislation or a revamped bill. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she would work to change the bill after a caucus meeting last week where House Democrats rejected the compromise. The White House has insisted that the package is a take-it-or-leave-it proposal.

In the Senate, time is running out to ratify the New START treaty with Russia. Obama said Thursday he is “confident” the arms control pact will be passed before the end of the lame-duck session, but a two-thirds majority in the chamber is needed for ratification and the strength of Republican support remains uncertain.

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl has said there is not enough time left to fully debate the nuclear agreement before adjournment. If the treaty does not pass, it is unlikely to succeed in the 112th Congress — where a slimmer Democratic majority in the Senate would make it difficult to reach the necessary 67 votes.

Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsWelcome to ground zero of climate chaos A tale of two chambers: Trump's power holds in House, wanes in Senate Bipartisan blip: Infrastructure deal is last of its kind without systemic change MORE (R-Maine) want to bring a stand-alone bill to the floor in what will likely be the last legislative attempt at a full repeal of "Don’t ask, don’t tell."

The Senate must also pass an omnibus appropriations bill that is expected to include a continuing resolution passed in the House on Wednesday to fund the government through September 2011. The legislation includes provisions on food safety.

Monday, Dec. 13

House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) heads to the National Press Club for a news conference at 9:30 a.m., where he is expected to discuss the impact of the midterm elections and Democrats’ role in the new Congress.

Obama welcomes the Los Angeles Lakers to Washington, D.C., to honor them for wining a second consecutive NBA championship. The team will join Obama in a service project at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington, 1901 Mississippi Ave. SE.

The Economic Policy Institute plays host to outgoing National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers, who will deliver a 10 a.m. address on his perspective on the past two years and his thoughts about the future.

First lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaWe must mount an all-country response to help our Afghan allies Obamas, Bushes and Clintons joining new effort to help Afghan refugees Bidens, former presidents mark 9/11 anniversary MORE visits patients, parents and staff at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., a tradition dating back to former first lady Bess Truman.

Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonAttorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation Durham seeking indictment of lawyer with ties to Democrats: reports Paul Ryan researched narcissistic personality disorder after Trump win: book MORE travels to Canada for the North American Foreign Ministers Meeting in Wakefield, Quebec, where discussions will be held with Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon and Mexican Secretary Patricia Espinosa on regional collaboration.

Tuesday, Dec. 14

The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee holds a full committee markup at 10:00 a.m. to vote on the nomination of Joseph Smith to be director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Sen. Mary LandrieuMary Loretta LandrieuCassidy wins reelection in Louisiana Bottom line A decade of making a difference: Senate Caucus on Foster Youth MORE (D-La.) and Acting Deputy Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank will deliver remarks at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce forum highlighting women in business. The event begins at 8:45 a.m.

The Progressive Policy Institute holds a discussion on “China's Choice: Regional Bully or Global Stakeholder?” Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsSenate Democrats to Garland: 'It's time to end the federal death penalty' Hillicon Valley: Cryptocurrency amendment blocked in Senate | Dems press Facebook over suspension of researchers' accounts | Thousands push back against Apple plan to scan US iPhones for child sexual abuse images Democrats press Facebook over suspension of researchers' accounts MORE (D-Del.) delivers introductory remarks followed by a keynote speech by Defense Under Secretary Michèle Flournoy at 10:30 a.m. The University of California Washington Center hosts the event.

Wednesday, Dec. 15

There will be a House Agriculture subcommittee hearing, to “Review Implementation of Provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act Relating to Position Limits.” The hearing begins at 10 a.m.

Former Defense Secretary William Perry and former national security adviser Stephen Hadley will deliver remarks at a luncheon held by the World Affairs Council at the National Press Club.

The House Judiciary Committee holds a further hearing on the foreclosure crisis at 10 a.m.

Thursday, Dec. 16

Obama hosts the leaders of 565 federally recognized tribes at The White House Tribal Nations Conference. The event will be held in the Sidney R. Yates Auditorium at the Department of the Interior from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The Cato Institute holds a noon briefing discussing “Obama's Fiscal Commission and the GOP Budget Agenda.”

The House Judiciary Committee holds a full committee hearing at 9:30 a.m. on the Espionage Act and the legal and constitutional issues raised by WikiLeaks.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair speaks about governmental reform in Africa at a 9:30 a.m. event held by the Center for Global Development and the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative.