Biden meets with congressional leaders to discuss year-end agenda at White House

Washington — President Biden is meeting with top congressional leaders at the White House on Tuesday morning to discuss legislative priorities for the rest of the year as lawmakers return to Washington for their lame-duck session ahead of the new Congress. 

With Republicans poised to take control of the House in January, there is much Democrats hope — and need — to accomplish with control of both chambers in the coming weeks, including a government funding bill, marriage equality legislation and election reforms.

A White House official said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will be in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting in the Roosevelt Room. Vice President Kamala Harris will also attend. It’s the group’s first such gathering since the midterm elections.

On Monday night, the president called on Congress to intervene and pass a congressional resolution forcing rail employees back to work to avert a rail shutdown ahead of the busy holiday season. The Senate is set to vote Tuesday on final passage of the Respect for Marriage Act to protect same-sex and interracial marriages. Congress also faces a Dec. 16 deadline to pass legislation to fund the government in order to avert a partial government shutdown, and must pass an annual defense authorization bill. Democrats also hope to finalize a bipartisan bill to reform how Congress counts electoral votes.

Pelosi announced after the midterm elections that she will not seek a role in leadership in the next Congress, although she’ll remain in office. McCarthy won the GOP nominee for speaker, but it remains to be seen whether he will attract the 218 votes he needs to take the gavel  in January. 

Gillian Morley contributed to this report.

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