After chasing their first week of lame-duck session work with a full week of Thanksgiving, members of Congress will return to the Hill with a tryptophan buzz‚??and a smorgasbord of legislative crises ahead of them.
The deadly Benghazi attacks and ensuing alleged errors and misinformation surrounding them will continue to dominate discussion on the Hill. While dates have not yet been set, the Senate Intelligence Committee has announced plans to hold up to two more hearings on what went wrong and who is responsible.
In both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, a search continues for the source of misleading public talking points that pinned the origin of the attacks on a spontaneous demonstration, rather than a planned terrorist assault. Both committees are likely to move quickly upon returning from Thanksgiving to advance these inquiries and keep the pressure on the White House.
The Senate will convene Monday afternoon to take a vote on the Sportsmen‚??s Act of 2012, a bipartisan hunting and fishing rights bill that has been under consideration on the floor since before the election. The Senate may also begin consideration of a bill passed by the House last week that would punish Russian officials for human rights abuses and lift Soviet-era trade restrictions. Still ahead for the Senate: consideration of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, which has a tradition of yearly passage and is expected to come for a vote before the end of the year.
The House will gavel in on Tuesday for a shortened work week. The House Democratic Caucus plans its leadership elections, though current minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has indicated she wants to keep her top spot.
Meanwhile, no progress has been made in either chamber on stopping the nation‚??s impending tumble over the fiscal cliff. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has indicated Republicans are waiting for President Barack Obama to make the first move to avert the disaster.