Guide to the 116th Congress: Top Issues You Need to Know

Our nation is in the midst of a hyper-partisan era. While many may wonder if a newly divided government will contribute to further dysfunction, in our nation’s history, divided governments have often been the most productive and successful.

 

There is only one real mandate for the 116th Congress: for Democrats and Republicans to work together to resolve some of our nation’s problems. And it should do so by finding feasible, not comprehensive, solutions to kitchen-table issues to which all Americans can relate. There are several areas—including infrastructure, higher education, and paid family leave—that have garnered bipartisan interest and are ready for action.

 

To get up-to-speed, below is a list of resources on issue areas ready for action in the 116th Congress. BPC Action stands ready to help Congress achieve bipartisan successes.

Fiscal Issues

The 116th Congress will face complex budget issues. Deficits are climbing to perilous heights, the debt limit will be reinstated this March, and discretionary spending caps will soon return if no action is taken.

 

Catch up fast on these issues with the resources below, and stay apprised of the latest analysis of debt/budget issues at https://bipartisanpolicy.org/topics/economy/.

 

The Debt Limit

 

Quick Hits (5-minute reads)

 

Deeper Dives (10+ minute reads)

 

Video Explainers (5-minute watch)

 

 

The Federal Budget

 

Quick Hits (5-minute reads)

 

Deeper Dives (10+ minute reads)

Paid Family Leave

Americans from both parties widely support paid family leave. This summer, the Bipartisan Policy Center hosted an event with Ivanka Trump, advisor to President Trump, former Sens. Chris Dodd and Rick Santorum, and leading policy experts, who discussed the importance of paid family leave and the opportunity for both parties to work together to develop a national policy.

 

Quick Hits (5-minute reads)

 

Deeper Dives (10+ minute reads)

 

Podcast 

Health

Higher Education

According to a 2018 Pew Research poll, the majority of Americans in both parties say the United States’ higher education system is heading in the wrong direction, making this a key issue primed for action. Senate Health, Education, Pensions and Labor Committee Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Sen. Patty Murray have a history of striking bipartisan agreement on challenging issues, including healthcare and opioids.

 

Quick Hits (5-minute reads)

 

Deeper Dives (10+ minute reads)

Immigration

Infrastructure