Thursday, December 4, 2014

Congress Tries to Find a Path Through 'Must Pass' Bills

Lingering fallout from the midterm elections and President Obama's recent executive actions on immigration are complicating congressional efforts to wrap up necessary legislative business and adjourn this session of Congress.
"We have a lot to do, and there isn't much time to accomplish it," warned Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Monday.
Democrats lost their Senate majority on Election Day, and the party has only days remaining in control to advance a short list of must-pass bills as well as nominations.
At the top of that list is a federal funding bill. The current stopgap measure expires Dec. 11, and without a new funding bill in place, another partial government shutdown would occur. "Our most important task at hand is to pass bills to fund our government and keep it from shutting down," Reid said.
Incoming Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has repeatedly pledged that a shutdown is off the table.
House and Senate negotiators were nearing an agreement on a more than $1 trillion package that includes all 12 annual funding bills until Obama announced his executive action last month to protect up to 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation.
Some congressional Republicans now want to use the funding package as a vehicle to try to block the administration from implementing the immigration plan. However, any such legislative effort would likely be vetoed by the White House, leaving Republicans with few options to counter Obama's action.
Lawmakers have essentially three options: approve another short-term, stopgap funding bill; approve the full package of annual spending bills through September 2015; or a hybrid approach that would fund most agencies but provide only short-term funds to agencies that oversee immigration policy in order to buy Republicans more time to craft their strategy without threatening another shutdown.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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