WASHINGTON (CBS) Vice President Mike Pence swore in the U.S. Senate's two newest members Wednesday. They are Doug Jones of Alabama and Tina Smith of Minnesota. Both are Democrats.
"I'm hoping to be a good senator. I don't think that's a partisan issue, I think being a good senator is a bipartisan issue. That's what I want to be," Jones said.
After seeing their Senate majority slip to 51, Republicans will look to win over Jones and other centrist Democrats on some key issues this year that will require 60 votes to pass. President Trump has indicated infrastructure will likely be his top legislative priority. But first, Congress will have to agree on a spending bill by Jan. 19 to avoid a government shutdown. A top priority for congressional Republicans is to raise the cap on military spending.
"Since fiscal year 2013, defense spending cuts have outpaced domestic spending cuts by 85 billion dollars," said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky.
But what may prove divisive is a fix to DACA, the program that protects illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
"The president has made it very clear there is no DACA without funding for the wall," White House aide Kellyanne Conway said.
House and Senate leaders met Wednesday to consider a way forward. But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said funding a border wall is a nonstarter for Democrats.
Complicating matters-- it's an election year and Democrats see a few opportunities to gain some congressional seats with several Republicans retiring.
Orrin Hatch now joins fellow Republican Sens. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker who will retire after their current terms. Multiple sources tell CBS News they expect Mitt Romney to run for Senate in Utah and say he has been quietly preparing in case Sen. Orrin Hatch did not seek re-election. It's unclear if the White House would support Romney, who has been critical of President Trump.
Lawmakers also have to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act-- a key intelligence law-- and renew financing for CHIP, the children's health insurance program, which provides care for nearly 9 million low-income children.