It will take bipartisan cooperation to reach agreements on these contested issues that, if handled poorly, could lead to the perpetually looming government shutdown as funding wanes. The latest government funding stopgap is set to expire on Jan. 19. A shutdown does seem unlikely but, as The Washington Post observes, the Republican government has shrugged off handling finances since September, pushing off negotiating a spending bill three times over instead of reaching bipartisan compromise.
And then there’s Alabama newcomer Doug Jones, who has already done something unprecedented in the time since his election: he’s hired former Department Of Transportation Assistant Secretary for Governmental Affairs Dana Gresham as his Chief of Staff. This is making headlines because Gresham is African American and Jones’ appointment makes him the only Democratic Senator to have done this (whereas two Republican Senators also have African American Chiefs of Staff). The move comes after urgings by organizations like the NAACP for Jones to appoint persons of color to high-level positions in his staff, to boost diversity in the Senate.
The Senate may just dusting off postholiday debris from their desks, but they clearly have a lot to look out for this year. From early agreements on divisive issues to seat shake-ups, 2018 is poised to be an interesting year for politics and we’ve yet to get into the swing of midterm election campaigning.