A busy July by any Congressional standard. Here’s a brief overview of recent legislation by the numbers:
- Completed House spending bills: 4
- Completed Senate spending bills: 0
- Total spending bills to be passed before October 1st: 12
Now take a closer look at the activity so far:
- The Senate had hoped to move its version of the NDAA to the floor immediately following Health Care debate; however, the wild ride of the Republican-led Health Care repeal effort threw a wrench in that plan. Chairman McCain had hoped to participate in an abridged NDAA floor debate. That didn’t happen and Chairman McCain has returned to Arizona for cancer treatment. It is unclear when the NDAA will move to the Senate floor.
- Congress hopes to move on to tax reform quickly in an effort to accomplish something this year. Frustrations boiled over on the Senate floor as Republicans acknowledged their only “win” this year has been the confirmation of Justice Gorsuch.
- The GOP timeline to produce a budget before the recess is shrinking. Current defense budget proposals far exceed the 2011 budget caps, as well as President Trump’s proposal. Differences among committees and chambers about what the topline can and should be continues to hamper real progress. OMB Director Mick Mulvaney is pushing back against the previously existing compromise of shifting funds into the OCO account, creating further standstill.
- Look for a likely Continuing Resolution to carry into at least late November, as opposed to traditional appropriating methods.
- The House passed defense appropriations for FY18 with a vote of 235-192, as part of a national security “minibus” that included Legislative Branch, Energy-Water, Defense and MilConVA. It is unlikely that this bill will pass in the Senate, and even more unlikely that it will move through without some sort of movement on the budget cap debate.
We’ll continue to track and report. Keep your great questions coming!