WASHINGTON D.C. (BRPROUD) – Congress is gearing up for its first round of votes in the new year with some sweeping legislation on the table. The Louisiana delegation is part of ongoing talks for bills making national headlines, but many have their own personal priorities.

With the Build Back Better bill shelved for the time being as changes are worked out, the Voting Rights bill takes center stage. Representative Troy Carter said it is a major focus for the start of the year. He said protecting people’s freedom to vote is crucial.

“But it gives us that opportunity and all people that opportunity to vote. Making sure we have preclearance again, that the federal government has the ability to step in when the states are doing something that could be deemed unconstitutional,” Rep. Carter said.

The Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act would make Election Day a national holiday, make mail-in ballots more available, and protect against any states from restricting voting.

On the other side of the aisle, Senator Bill Cassidy said there are some good aspects of the bill but overall he sees it as a way to federalize elections.

One of his focuses for the year is to tackle the growing issue of social security.

“Social security is in danger. It goes insolvent in about 11 years which will come pretty quickly,” Sen. Cassidy said. “And when I say insolvent it means the amount somebody is being paid under current law will decrease by about 25%.”

The first round of funds from the bipartisan infrastructure bill will be rolling out to the states this year but infrastructure is still a priority for Congressman Garret Graves. The rest of the delegation is with him in fighting for more relief aid for natural disasters in Louisiana.

“Whether it’s our flood protection infrastructure, our coastal infrastructure, or obviously our transportation with things like roads and bridges, we’re not anywhere near where we need to be,” Rep. Graves said.

Graves also talked about dealing with the high number of people leaving their jobs and the hiring shortage. He said there are talks around having more targeted relief aid for some industries that are really struggling to bounce back.

Also while focusing on the capitol, this year Senator John Kennedy will be running for reelection for his senate seat. Democrat Luke Mixon, a former Navy pilot, has already announced his campaign against Kennedy.

The first votes on legislation are scheduled for early next week.