After being out of office for a month, Congress returned to a significant drum of activity requiring attention in September. Time is critical for these upcoming decisions, as things both on and off the Hill are moving rapidly. See recent developments below.
- Natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma are forcing legislators to pull their attention away from previous debates of tax reform and health care and focus on relief packages. The House and Senate passed a $15B emergency supplemental appropriation that included an increase in the debt ceiling effective until December 2017.
- Appropriations for FY18 have moved to the Senate floor. With less than a month until the start of FY18 on Oct. 1, look for a three-month or six-month CR to maintain funding at FY17 base levels. A CR is sure to include some “anomalies” or exceptions to the FY17 continuation – given the state of tension with North Korea, look for Missile Defense to receive a significant funding boost.
- The House passed its defense spending bill back in July, meaning the Senate’s equivalent is the only obstacle to a fully funded Department of Defense for FY18. Anticipate release of the Senate’s version of the Defense “mark” sometime later in September.
- The FY18 NDAA moves to the Senate floor. With Senator McCain back on the Hill, it will be crucial that the Senate passes their version quickly and moves forward to conference. As with defense appropriations, look for international tensions to influence decisions and provide supporting rationale for increases.
- This week, President Trump announced that his administration would be ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, previously pioneered under Obama. He has given Congress a six-month window in which to engineer a replacement program before he begins cutting off the program’s benefits.
Stay tuned for a busy fall session of legislative activity. We watch it so you don’t have to!