WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- From rolling out the new administration to cabinet appointment hearings - January is expected to be a busy month. But it wouldn’t be politics without a few surprises.
"I think the unexpected thing that no one really foresaw being on the agenda is figuring out what to do about cyber security- Russian hacking," Simone Pathe senior political reporter with Roll Call said.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, from new Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to Arizona Senator John McCain, want a more in-depth investigation. Pathe said there’s talk of creating a select senate committee to look for answers, similar to what the House did for Benghazi. But there’s some opposition from GOP leadership.
"It’s a little bit more contentious on the one side because Mitch McConnell is still opposed to it and wants to see the investigation run through the regular existing committee structure," Pathe added.
Members of Congress have extra work on their plate this month with Donald Trump’s cabinet nominee hearings.
“Whenever you have a new administration or vacancy in an existing administration the senate has to approve whoever the nominee is. We got a whole slate of people to go through here," she added .
Rex Tillerson, Rick Perry, Ben Carson will all be moving through the halls of Congress. Nominees only need 51 votes. With Republicans holding a 52-seat majority, Pathe thinks the nominees will get through.
So with the Trump transition moving full-steam ahead, how much work can we expect Congress to get done in the months ahead?” Pathe predicts not much.
"I think it is going to be a couple months of political fighting”
Pathe said Republicans will continue their push to repeal and replace Obama care and Democrats will try to block it. She said it will be more political ping pong- a replay of year’s prior. But overall, she said the biggest wildcard of 2017 is just how Congress will work with President-elect, Donald Trump.
"Did Joe Manchin side with his party or side with Republicans in order to protect himself? Or did Paul Ryan remain buddy-buddy with Trump or did he become the face of opposition the way that he was for a lot of the election," Pathe said.
We’ll soon find out as the new Congress takes the oath of office Tuesday.