Dems face closing window for legislative wins before midterms shut down House, Senate floors
But R Street Institute senior fellow for governance James Wallner said members of Congress aim to use votes they take to create those impressions in voters through their campaign rhetoric.
“Members are gonna seize on anything they do, and they’re going to try to tout that,” Wallner said. “And members also have a wonderful ability of convincing themselves of certain narratives in their own mind as to the importance of various votes.”
And opportunities for members to do that before the election are quickly running out.
Potentially the highest-profile bill Congress will deal with before the election – and the most likely to pass – is its China economic competitiveness bill. The Senate passed a bipartisan version earlier this year and the House passed its own version largely along party lines. That set up a “conference committee” between the two chambers that is likely to propose a single bill each can vote on now that Congress is back from recess.
The size of the China bill might shrink during conference, especially in comparison to the size of the House bill. But in at least on sense, according to R Street Institute senior fellow for governance James Wallner, it may be too big to fail.
“The legislative process has a certain logic to it. And as it goes, it’s kind of like a train. As it gathers speed, it gets harder and harder to stop. And this is this would be the very final stage of that process,” Wallner said. “The people in conference want this bill to pass in the Senate. And so they’re not going to let something be put in there… that would somehow tank its chances and defeat it in the Senate at this last stage.”