As the Georgia Senate runoff election this week rounds out the midterms, Congress is looking at a packed legislative agenda in its lame-duck session to close out 2022.
Here are three stories to watch on the political front this week:
Georgians will head to the polls on Tuesday for a runoff election between Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock and GOP challenger Herschel Walker.
ABC News reported that early voting turnout shattered records, which has favored Democrats in the past. What remains unclear is how the broader midterm results could impact Georgians wanting to get out to the polls.
A Warnock win would illustrate that Georgia continues the trend of leaning more Democratic. On the flip side, a Republican victory would be welcome good news for Trump's MAGA movement, which faced lackluster turnout in the broader 2022 midterms.
Congress moves to pass National Defense Authorization Act
Lawmakers are moving closer toward passing the roughly $847 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as Congress also barrels toward a Dec. 16 deadline to pass a government funding bill.
Republicans, led by would-be House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), are pushing to remove military vaccination mandates. Democrats are advocating for more diversity and inclusion initiatives.
There's another potential ornament on the legislative Christmas tree: banking for the cannabis industry. Axios scooped that a bipartisan group of legislators could finally provide regulatory clarity and a framework for the cannabis industry to access financial services in states where marijuana is legal as part of the NDAA.
Twenty-one states plus the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, but the Department of Justice still lists it as a Schedule 1 drug. The disconnect between federal and state regulations has created significant regulatory uncertainty for the industry as a whole.
Tech diplomacy trade talks intensify as President Biden heads to Arizona
Biden will tour Taiwan Semiconductor's (TSM) Arizona chip plant with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo this week to tout the success of the bipartisan CHIPS Act, which includes $52 billion in funding for semiconductor research and development.
The visit to the plant, which is currently under construction, comes as tech diplomacy talks continue this week between the European Union and U.S. trade officials.
EU officials are wary that a portion of the Inflation Reduction Act that provides subsidies for electric vehicles will not be applied to European companies, Reuters reported. It's a point that French President Emmanuel Macron raised with President Biden during his trip to Washington last week, Macron said in an interview with CBS's 60 Minutes.
Kevin Cirilli is a visiting media at the Atlantic Council's Global China Hub and the Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue. Follow him on LinkedIn here.