2022 Congressional Outlook: Key Dates, Legislative Priorities, and Midterms Preview

February 1, 2022

The 2022 congressional calendar is already in full swing – Democrats are gearing up to aggressively push for their highest-priority agenda items as they continue negotiations on President Joe Biden’s broader economic agenda, while the nation prepares for November’s midterm elections.

Knowing what’s happened, what’s changing, and what’s to come on Capitol Hill is essential for success in the coming year, which promises to be a busy one. You can count on Bloomberg Government to keep you informed and help you make sense of it all.

What are key dates on the 2022 congressional calendar?

February 18 – Federal funding under December continuing resolution expires, along with other extensions, such as a ban on fentanyl-analogue drugs

March 1 – State of the Union address

March 31 – Delayed Medicare sequestration under the Budget Control Act takes effect

May 1 – Student loan interest and payment pause issued by administration ends

June 30 – Trade Adjustment Assistance program for U.S. workers fully phases out

September 30 – End of fiscal 2022; several major programs expire, including:

  • Food and Drug Administration fees for prescription drugs and medical products
  • Mental health and other programs under the 21st Century Cures Act
  • State grants to improve systems related to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System

November 8 – Midterm congressional elections

December 30 – Tax credits for biodiesel and renewable diesel expire

Download: Access our 2022 combined congressional calendar to easily track when the House and Senate are in session.

2022 congressional calendar

[Bloomberg Government clients can also search and track events on a federal and state-by-state level with Bloomberg Government’s comprehensive calendar tool. Filter by agency, topic, committee, and more.]

Defeat of voting rights bill signals need for a legislative pivot.

Voting rights legislation suffered a defeat in the Senate after Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) broke with an effort to make changes to the Senate’s filibuster rules necessary to pass the measure.

This defeat came on the heels of collapsed negotiations around President Biden’s economic agenda, known as Build Back Better. Going forward, Biden has indicated the possibility of breaking up the voting rights bill and his economic agenda into smaller parts to get some elements passed.

“There are a number of things we can do, but I also think we will be able to get significant pieces of legislation if we don’t get it all now,” Biden said during a press conference.

Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of senators is working on a separate bill to make changes to the Electoral Count Act, including clarifying that the vice president does not have the authority to unilaterally block a state’s electors.

Looking Ahead: Congressional Priorities for 2022

Our analysts set the stage for the year ahead on Capitol Hill, leading a discussion on the status of key legislative priorities for 2022 and outlook for the midterm elections.

Legislators push to bolster U.S. competition with China.

One legislative priority that has bipartisan support: Increasing competitiveness with, and reducing reliance on, China. In June 2021, the Senate passed the $250 billion “U.S. Innovation and Competition Act” (S. 1260).

It includes $52 billion for semiconductor research and development and would establish a new directorate within the NSF to strengthen U.S. leadership in critical technologies. It would also require sanctions on China “malign influence” activities.

The House, which is working on its own version, already passed two separate bills with similar elements. Legislative leaders from both chambers have said they plan to work out the differences to develop one legislative package addressing these issues.

2022 midterm predictions: The historical precedent for midterm elections.

The process of passing legislation is even more high stakes than usual, thanks to the upcoming midterm elections.

“Everybody is measuring every proposal against its impact in November. That doesn’t mean we can’t do anything, but it is more difficult to do,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) in a recent interview.

A president’s popularity is often diminished by the midterm elections. Presidents Clinton, Obama, and Trump lost majorities in at least one chamber in their first midterms. President George W. Bush was a recent exception – Republicans gained the Senate in his first midterm.

In the House, all 435 seats are up for election. Thirty-seven members are retiring or seeking other offices – 26 Democrats and 11 Republicans. Republicans would need to net five seats to take control. These elections will also be impacted by redistricting based on the 2020 census.

On the Senate side, 34 seats are up for election this year – 14 Democrats and 20 Republicans. There are six tossups, according to Cook Political Report, and only a single net gain would give Republicans control.