Congressional Priorities in 2020
With lawmakers returning from their holiday break, it will begin the second half of the 116th Congress. The second year of any Congress is typically truncated and lighter in terms of passing legislation as members become increasingly focused on campaigning and adjourn early to prepare for elections. This becomes even more pronounced in presidential election years like 2020. While the House and Senate may remain in session during these times, meaningful business will wind down quickly after the nomination conventions in the summer.
The year 2020 will be an even more unique year for policymaking given that President Donald Trump was recently impeached in the House, and the Senate will prepare for a trial that will consume much of the remaining oxygen in Washington. However, putting aside the impeachment and campaign distractions—or possibly because of these distractions—there will be time and ample appetite during the year to address important issues in foreign policy and national security. Here are some pressing concerns Congress should prioritize before the November elections:
Extract Ourselves from Unwinnable Wars
The so-called Afghanistan Papers published by the Washington Post in early December provide a shocking and stark portrait of the national security community’s campaign over the past two decades to mislead Congress and the public about U.S. progress in Afghanistan to maintain support for America’s longest-running war. Unfortunately, the release of this report was overshadowed by the culmination of the impeachment process in Congress, which buried media coverage and thoughtful analysis on the issue.