Congress has been busy, with both chambers rushing to get certain items done before the Thanksgiving recess last week.
In the wake of the Paris terrorist attack, Congress undertook debate on how to move forward with the refugee crisis coming from Syria. The House passed a bill that requires new screening requirements on refugees from Syria and Iraq before they can enter the U.S. The bill passed on a 289-137 vote, with 47 Democrats voting for the bill, suggesting that the House could override a President Barack Obama veto, which he has threatened.
In other news, the Congress passed a number of measures the overturn some Obama Administration rules from the EPA. The Senate voted to kill the agency's central pillars to the President's climate change initiative. The Senate voted 52-46 to stop the carbon dioxide limits for existing power plants, which also blocked a related carbon rule for newly built power plants that passed on the same vote. The President has pledged to veto the measures, but Senate Republicans felt the symbolic gesture was important to send.
Congress is keeping a watch on this years flu vaccines in light of last year's vaccine "mismatch," which resulted in tens of thousands of deaths. The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on, "U.S. Public Health Preparedness for Seasonal Influenza: Has the Response Improved." Congress pressed CDC Deputy Director Dr. Anne Schuchat, who said she "could not predict how effective this season's influenza vaccines will be."
Both chambers will be in recess for the Thanksgiving holiday, and will return on November 30th to continue to work towards crafting a deal to keep the government running past the December 11 expiration of the continuing resolution presently funding the government. Potential problems could result as House Speaker Paul Ryan has said that some policy riders will be necessary to pass a spending package in the face of Democratic warnings that such actions would be "poison pills."