Capitol Hill

The politics of 2016

As we usher in 2016, much of the political and legislative focus will be on November's presidential and congressional elections. Presidential primaries start Feb. 1 and continue through the spring, culminating with the Republican and Democratic conventions in July during which each party will choose its nominee.

As with most election years, lawmakers will use their time in Washington, D.C., to beef up their resumes for the voters back home. It is likely we'll see more bills used to score political points rather than efforts designed to enact substantive public policy. Because lawmakers will not want to appear controversial as they gear up for re-election, less controversial pieces of legislation likely will hit the House and Senate floors.

What to expect

Senate leaders face a delicate balancing act as they consider legislation. A few senators are running for president and could use their positions to make a stand for or against certain legislation that address key issues in the presidential campaign.