A look ahead at the key events leading the news agenda next week, from the team at Foresight News. Delivered to your inbox on Fridays.
Leading the week
The current continuing resolution is set to expire on Friday (December 16) and the deadline will loom large over politics in DC next week. There are indications that lawmakers will end up kicking the can down the road with a short-term stopgap measure, either until later in the month (with December 23 viewed as a possible date) or even the new year, amid significant differences between Republicans and Democrats on spending levels. Complicating matters, Mitch McConnell is facing a rebellion from within his ranks from a group of Senators that includes Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson and Rand Paul, who want Republicans to reject the spending bill and wait until the party takes control of the House in January. Lawmakers are also looking to pass the annual defense spending bill, or NDAA, as well as the Electoral Count Act, bipartisan legislation aimed at preventing another Jan. 6-style event, before they head home for the holidays.
It’s also a big week in economic news, starting on Tuesday (December 13) when the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the final consumer inflation figures of the year. Last month’s data, covering October, showed consumer prices rising at a slower pace than expected (0.4 per cent in October and 7.7 percent year-over-year), leading to hopes that at last the tide might be turning when it comes to inflation. The October CPI, followed by Jerome Powell’s cautiously optimistic speech at the Brookings Institution at the end of November, has also raised hopes that the Fed might slow its pace of recent aggressive rate hikes when it announces its interest rate decision on Wednesday (December 14).
The South African parliament meets on Tuesday (December 13) to debate whether to hold impeachment proceedings for President Cyril Ramaphosa in the wake of a November 30 report which found evidence that he may have violated the constitution and his oath of office over a $4 million burglary at his Phala Phala farm. While it initially seemed Ramaphosa would resign over the report, he has been buoyed by his party’s support after the African National Congress declared its Assembly members would not vote for impeachment; he has now challenged the findings in the Constitutional Court and insists he will stand for the ANC’s leadership at its conference beginning on Friday (December 16) ahead of elections next year.
EU leaders meet for their last summit of the year on Thursday and Friday (December 15-16) with Ukraine and energy unsurprisingly leading the agenda. Discussions on Ukraine are likely to be heated after Hungary blocked approval of an €18 billion aid package on Tuesday in retaliation for an unprecedented European Commission recommendation to freeze €7.5 billion in budget funds for Budapest over failed corruption reforms. Leaders are also due to discuss the continent’s gas supply, with a focus on joint purchases and pooling demand in preparation for next winter; they may also try to make progress on a gas price cap agreement, depending on the state of negotiations after energy ministers meet on Tuesday (December 13). Also keep an eye out for a decision on candidacy status for Bosnia and Herzegovina following a recommendation from the Commission and calls for more investment in defence capacity.