Congressional Action in December

  

Lame Duck Watch

Now that the midterm elections have passed, the 115th Congress has entered its biannual period referred to as a “lame-duck” session. Some lawmakers who return for the lame-duck session will not be in the next Congress because they are retiring or lost their reelection. For that reason, they are referred to as lame-duck members. Lame-duck sessions are never predictable and can occasionally lead to high stakes drama. Here are a few issues we’re taking note of as the lame-duck gets underway.

Government Funding

Yesterday, President Trump threated to shut down the federal government if Congress does not give him $5 billion to build a wall on the U.S.–Mexican border that he campaigned on. Democrats have only agreed to $1.6 billion in funding. If Congress doesn’t pass seven appropriations bills by December 7, nonessential operations at multiple federal agencies will come to a halt due to a lack of funding.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby has stated that a one-year continuing resolution (CR) is likely unless negotiators make significant progress on an agreement on border wall funding by next week, but did not rule out another short-term CR if there is some progress.

A continuing resolution funds the government at the same levels as the previous fiscal year for a set amount of time. Many Republicans would prefer a one-year CR be completed before Democrats take control of the House next year, rather than risk a shutdown which could give Democrats leverage in appropriations negotiations.

Title VIII

Senate Health Education Labor & Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander announced that there would not be another markup for the Committee this year. This means that Title VIII reauthorization will not happen in 2018. It’s a very unfortunate development after the House passed reauthorization unanimously on a voice vote in July. ANA and the Nursing Community Coalition will continue to fight for this long overdue reauthorization.

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