Some observations with just twelve legislative days until the November 4th mid-term elections…
– Congress returns from its district work period September 8th.
– It is likely that there are actually less than twelve legislative days remaining as Congress will probably leave even before the scheduled October 2nd departure date.
– Speaker Boehner has signaled a “clean” Continuing Resolution (CR) will be introduced in order to fund the government into early December.
– Some direction regarding the US response to ISIS will emerge. This may be as simple as a “sense of Congress” resolution short of a vote for a specific action. Bipartisan support for US action, as part of a coalition of some size, has coalesced quickly.
– Initial funding could be tied to the FY15 defense appropriations bill. Look for continued use of OCO supplementals as this new long-term commitment takes shape.
– A second order effect of the worsening security environment is likely to be an eroding of previous conservative support for sequestration in FY16 and beyond — it will prove simply unworkable. Recall the sequester relief agreed to in January only covered FY14-15. Details of sequester relief will begin to be revealed after the mid-term elections.
– The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will not come to the Senate floor before the elections. It will be left for the lame duck session. Events relating to ISIS will generate numerous amendments that will require consideration and debate.
– The Export-Import Bank Authorization will be extended beyond its September 30th expiration into 2015, allowing the issue to be revisited after the mid-term elections while also preventing near-term disruptions to ongoing financing arrangements.
Short Congressional session in the next few weeks, see how the mid-terms change the landscape, come back and see what must be done before this Congress adjourns for the Holidays.