WASHINGTON (Gray DC) Congress will return to Washington next week with Republicans controlling the House and the Senate.
They remain in charge, despite a contentious presidential campaign that caused division within both parties.
Capitol Hill resembled a ghost town for much of 2016, as members spent more time at home campaigning. The election caused partisan infighting and gridlock from the start, after Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in February.
President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill the seat, but the Republican Senate majority was determined to block it.
“When you have a lame duck president and a vacancy in the Supreme Court, the new president should make the decision," said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA).
As Donald Trump clenched the Republican nomination, many high profile GOP leaders boycotted the convention. While others boarded the Trump train.
“I’ve met with Donald Trump, I’ve encouraged him to embrace the platform that comes out of the Republican National Convention," said Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), chair of the platform committee.
Democrats had their own convention controversy. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned as DNC chairwoman after a trove of leaked emails showed favoritism for Hillary Clinton.
Some Republicans continued to distance themselves from Trump after a tape surfaced, exposing lewd comments he made about women in 2005.
“There is an elephant in the room and it’s a troubling situation," said Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Speaker of the House.
However, Trump prevailed and so did the GOP, retaining its majority in both chambers of Congress in November.
“I think in a day when people were voting for change, they didn’t decide they wanted to change the Republican Senate," said Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority leader.
McConnell was re-elected Senate majority leader and New York Democrat, Chuck Schumer was chosen as the next minority leader. Rep. Paul Ryan and Rep. Nancy Pelosi kept their leadership positions in the House.
Despite all the election distractions, Congress passed 329 bills during the 114th Congress. That’s up from the previous Congress, which passed 282 bills.
After months of bickering, Congress allocated more than a $1 billion to help fight the Zika virus. They also approved funding to aid a water emergency in Flint, Michigan.
“On the last day, on the last vote of the 114th Congress, we passed help for the people of Flint," said Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI).
President Obama signed a comprehensive bill tackling opioid abuse, eating disorders and mental health.
In the final hours of the session, lawmakers agreed to another short-term spending bill to keep the government open until April 28. This will give President-elect Trump enough time to get his team up and running before Congress resumes the budget fight in the new year.