Despite the headlines coming out of Washington, Congress continues to move forward in regular fashion, discussing and acting upon key issues, such as funding the government, addressing the need to raise the debt ceiling and reauthorizing expiring programs.
While Republicans continue to seek a path forward on health and tax reform, Congress will have plenty of other items on its agenda once lawmakers return from the Memorial Day recess. In the House, Republicans intend to bring the Financial CHOICE Act, the vehicle for repealing and replacing Dodd-Frank, to the floor. In the Senate, legislators could vote on a bill to impose additional sanctions on Iran. In both chambers, transportation leaders will begin drafting Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization legislation.
Appropriators have begun initial discussions on funding the government past the end of fiscal year 2017 (FY17) in September, and the appropriations subcommittees in both chambers are awaiting their 302(b) allocations to ascertain the topline spending levels for each of the 12 annual appropriations bills. There are also indications that Congress will need to act on the debt ceiling sooner than expected. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin previously stated that the Treasury’s “extraordinary measures” to stave off a U.S. debt default would be exhausted sometime in the fall, but Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said this month that a slower-than-expected collection of receipts could move the default date forward. Secretary Mnuchin has publicly urged lawmakers to raise the limit before leaving for their August recess.
Finally, lawmakers will begin or continue discussions in the coming months to address several expiring programs and authorizations, including the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medicare extenders and the National Defense Authorization Act. All of this will be set to a backdrop of the several ongoing probes into Russian influence in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Click here to view some things that we believe are worth focusing on since our last issue.