Major news organizations said Wednesday that two Democrats, Raphael Warnock and Jonathan Ossoff, were the winners of Tuesday’s Senate runoff elections in Georgia.
Protesters who said they were supporting President Donald Trump later broke into the U.S. Capitol and shut down activities there for hours.
Other protesters who said they were supporting the president organized protests that disrupted government operations in Georgia, Kansas, Utah and other states.
Many things about how Washington will work may now be less certain than they seemed just a few weeks ago.
Assuming that Biden soon takes office as president, and that Democrats can, with the help of Vice President Kamala Harris, hold a 51-vote majority in the Senate, in Congress — and that Congress operates more or less as it has in the past — insurers, financial professionals and industry groups will want to find a way to move back toward toward policymaking.
Here are three ideas about how life insurance, annuity and health insurance policymaking in Washington could work this year.
1. Recent events may increase the odds that President-elect Joseph Biden and other Democrats can pass legislation through “regular order.”
Supporters of a bill need a majority in the House and 60 votes in the Senate to get ordinary bills through Congress, through “regular order” proceedings.
Supporters need a majority of the votes in the House and only a majority of the votes in the Senate to get some budget bills through Congress.
Because of growing partisan gridlock, members of Congress have structured a growing number of proposals as amendments to giant, “must pass” budget bills, rather than as stand-alone bills. Congressional leaders often assemble the giant omnibus bills quickly, and members of Congress say they often have only a hazy idea of what’s in the omnibus bills.
In December, for example, the president signed H.R. 133, the bill that created the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 (CAA 2021) package, just a week after congressional leaders posted a difficult-to-search 5,593-page draft of the package on the web.
Important sections, such as a provision that changed the interest rate benchmarks used in the official Internal Revenue Service definition of “life insurance,” became law with little notice.
Moreover, to fit measures in budget packages, lawmakers must craft the measures to comply with the rules that govern budget packages.
If recent events increase federal lawmakers’ interest in passing bipartisan legislation, that could help insurance industry groups get stand-alone bills through Congress. Interest groups would get a chance to comment on bills at hearings, and lawmakers would go over bill details during public markup sessions.
If, however, partisanship increases, or stays about the same, giant budget bills could become more important than ever, with lawmakers, congressional staffers and interest groups making more open, more formal efforts to tailor measures to fit into the giant budget bills.