Post-Election Look at the 117th Congress

November 25, 2020

Several races remain undecided across the country after the November elections, but a clearer picture about what to expect at the start of the 117th Congress is coming into focus. The Associated Press called the Presidential race for Joe Biden winning 306 electoral votes to President Trump’s 232 electoral votes. The Trump campaign has challenged the results in several states, but the President’s path to reelection appears to be narrowing.

Democrats will retain control of the House by the slimmest margin in nearly twenty years. The Associated Press has called 427 of the 435 seats up for election, with Democratic Party winning 222 seats and the Republicans winning 205 seats.

In the Senate, Republicans have a 50-48 advantage, but control of the chamber will come down to a runoff election on January 5 for two Georgia seats. If Democrats win both seats, then Vice President Kamala Harris would break a 50-50 tie in their favor. In this scenario Democrats would have full control of government, albeit by the slimmest of margins. If Republicans win just one of the Georgia seats, then Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell would remain majority leader and would have significant leverage to influence the Biden-Harris agenda.

To learn more about preservation advocacy during the Lame Duck session of the 116th Congress and during the early days of the 117th Congress, take a moment to listen to a webinar on preservation advocacy during the lame-duck hosted by the Government Relations team on Preservation Leadership Forum.

Key Dates

  • Dec. 5: Louisiana House runoff election
  • Dec. 8: “Safe Harbor” deadline for a state to document how it concluded a contested vote
  • Dec. 14: Electoral College delegations meet and vote
  • Jan. 3, 2021: 117th Congress officially convenes, but likely to shift to Monday, Jan. 4
  • Jan. 5: Georgia Senate runoff elections

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