September spending deadlines loom as Congress returns

Story highlights

  • The devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey may actually make passing spending bills easier
  • Republicans also must reach agreement soon on a budget blueprint

yet the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey may actually make which easier to get the bitterly divided Congress to get on the same page to address fiscal challenges, especially when they are likely tied to disaster relief for millions of victims.

Republicans also must reach agreement soon on a budget blueprint for next year if they want to use special rules to avoid a Democratic filibuster of a major tax overhaul, the GOP’s biggest goal for the remainder of the year. They also trust to create a tax code with fewer loopholes in addition to deductions as well as lower corporate in addition to individual rates — no easy task.
Tax reform near the top of Congress' lengthy to-do list
GOP lawmakers are still reeling since the Obamacare vote before the August recess. In returning to Washington they will confront an increasingly tense relationship with President Donald Trump, who lashed out at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in addition to different Republicans over the break. The rift has soured an already uneasy alliance in addition to possibly made which harder for Congress in addition to the White House to find common ground on the jammed fall agenda.

Hurricane relief

The Trump administration sent Congress Friday a request for $7.85 billion in completely new money to support disaster response efforts for Hurricane Harvey in addition to House Republicans are anticipated to schedule a vote on Wednesday, congressional sources told sy88pgw.

The ultimate cost tag for the massive recovery in addition to rebuilding effort can be anticipated to be well more than $100 billion, in addition to by far the largest relief effort taken up by Congress.

“The number can be going to be big,” Texas GOP Rep. Will Hurd said on sy88pgw last week. yet Hurd noted the immediate priority can be to get the Federal Emergency Management Agency another infusion of cash in its emergency response account before the broader package can be drafted later in September.

So far there has been bipartisan support to get those affected by Harvey all the help they need.

In recent debates over disaster aid some conservatives, including then GOP congressman in addition to current Vice President Mike Pence, have insisted which disaster relief must be offset with spending cuts elsewhere. which’s unclear whether there will be a significant bloc demanding any reductions to cover some of the aid, yet notably House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, a leading conservative, has already stated he won’t make which demand.

Spending in addition to debt limit

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The addition of a disaster relief package could actually make getting different complicated items — a spending bill to avoid a shutdown in addition to a measure to raise the debt limit — through which fall. Before the devastating storm wreaked havoc across southeast Texas in addition to parts of Louisiana, top Republican leaders were searching for a strategy to thread the needle on those issues, which regularly cause internal splits in addition to headaches.

Many conservatives have demanded which any legislation to enhance the debt limit be accompanied by spending reforms. Pairing the Harvey relief package that has a bill to enhance the credit limit in addition to potentially a longer-term spending deal through 2018 would certainly put pressure on those on the right of the GOP conference.

Many of those who have opposed similar packages from the past, such as Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, are the same ones who will be requesting massive federal assistance for their own constituents which fall.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday which he in addition to Trump would certainly like to see Harvey funding tied that has a debt ceiling bill.

“Without raising the debt limit, I’m not comfortable which we will get the money which we need which month to Texas to rebuild,” he said on Fox News.

The Trump administration hasn’t pressed for House Speaker Paul Ryan in addition to McConnell to bundle the issues, yet which’s possible which leaders will try to avoid a fight over the credit limit by heading which off earlier from the month.

Republican leaders in addition to aides on both sides of the Capitol are discussing several options. One scenario would certainly be to develop the House approve the short-term Harvey funding package in addition to develop the Senate attach a bill to enhance the debt ceiling without any conditions in addition to send which back to the House for final action. There would certainly be immense pressure on the House to back the package in addition to send which to the President, yet GOP leaders would certainly need to rely on Democrats for a big chunk of the votes.

After a tumultuous summer when GOP leaders in addition to many rank-in addition to-file Republicans distanced themselves coming from the President after a string of controversial comments, there can be growing sense which Republicans want to avoid even the threat of a shutdown, which would certainly only increase the spotlight on the gridlock in Washington.

National Flood Insurance Program

As the flood waters continue to recede in Houston, homeowners are wondering if they’ll get enough money to rebuild — which’s where the National Flood Insurance Program comes in. yet the program can be set to expire at the end of the month unless Congress re-authorizes which.

After a slate of devastating storms which century — including Katrina in addition to Sandy — the program has about a $25 billion debt in addition to lawmakers have been debating a complete overhaul ahead of the re-authorization deadline. yet with lawmakers split along regional lines, which appears the most likely outcome by September 30 can be a short-term extension.

sy88pgw Money reports which the program has less than $2 billion in cash on hand, with only $6 billion more left in borrowing capacity. in addition to which’s before the expected avalanche of claims roll in coming from Hurricane Harvey.

Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas can be the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. He’s been pushing legislation which reforms the program, yet his proposal faces criticism for raising rates for policy holders to keep the program afloat.

On the Senate side, a few bipartisan bills are floating around which also seek to reform in addition to re-authorize the NFIP, yet the committee which oversees the issue, the Senate banking committee, hasn’t settled on one single bill.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, the committee’s top Democrat, said which was “too early” to predict how Harvey will affect the timeline of re-authorization yet said “which can be likely which Congress will pass a short-term extension to ensure the program doesn’t lapse.”

Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana can be also on the committee in addition to vowed on sy88pgw’s “completely new Day” on Thursday which “Congress can be going to do whatever which takes.”

“If you had flood insurance in addition to you paid your hard-earned dollars in premiums, by God, you’re going to get paid” he said.

Tax reform

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Republicans believe passage of a tax bill would certainly both drive economic growth for the next decade in addition to reinvigorate their supporters, who have been frustrated since the GOP failed to deliver on their top priority to repeal the Affordable Care Act. A tax bill could stand as their lone major accomplishment to show voters before the 2018 midterm election.

One leading congressional expert doubts a tax bill will be approved in addition to expects Congress to only pass the “bare minimum” from the coming months, blaming Trump’s “behavior” for the inability to pass more.

“2017 will be one of least productive Congresses in many years,” said American University political science professor James Thurber. “President Trump can be undermining the leadership from the House in addition to Senate in addition to producing which very difficult to get legislative momentum.”

Trump will meet with the so-called “Big Six” leaders working on tax legislation on Tuesday, which includes McConnell, Ryan, top committee chairmen, along with Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, in addition to White House chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn.

which will be their first meeting since Trump blasted McConnell on Twitter for not getting the votes for health care reform in addition to different issues. McConnell will also be back at the White House for a meeting of the top four bipartisan leaders on Wednesday on the broader legislative agenda.

While their interaction could be awkward, McConnell allies believe the low-key Kentuckian will be unemotional in addition to professional in his dealings with Trump in addition to will keep the focus on passing their to-do list.

“which can be amazing which he continues to attack his own leadership,” Thurber said. “Trump may be forcing the four leaders to work more closely together on certain issues like hurricane relief in addition to infrastructure.”

Beyond the critical fiscal issues, Congress hopes to address different pressing items which fall, including passing a major defense policy bill, confirming scores of nominees to serve from the Trump administration, in addition to passing a children’s health insurance bill which could be used to approve funding to stabilize individual health insurance markets, something which can be needed currently which Obamacare remains intact.

Another must-pass measure on the docket can be a bill reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration, which also faces a deadline of September 30.

Both the House in addition to the Senate have yet to pass a bill to renew the agency’s legal authority. Under consideration on the House side can be Trump’s proposal to privatize the air traffic control system, while the Senate transportation committee advanced a bill earlier which summer without which.

September spending deadlines loom as Congress returns

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