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Congress Returns, But Not for Long
Congress reconvenes on Capitol Hill this week after a month long hiatus, but don’t expect lawmakers to get much done before they head back out to the campaign trail by the end of September (more likely as early as the end of next week).
With a seemingly endless number of tax provisions expiring at the end of the year and sequestration quickly approaching, one would think that putting the nation’s fiscal future in order would be a top priority. However, with campaign season in full swing, there is little appetite to be in the nation’s capital, away from constituents, and even less of a desire to compromise on any significant issue. In other words, if you’re waiting for certainty, be patient.
When Congress returns, the top order of business will be completing a continuing resolution to keep the government operating past the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. Prior to the August recess, House and Senate leadership negotiated a deal to ensure the federal government is funded into the spring.
Several political messaging votes are expected in both chambers, including the possibility that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will bring the Ryan budget to the Senate floor (to force Republicans running for reelection to take a tough position). The House is expected to vote on a bill that seeks to phase out the Energy Department’s loan guarantee program that financed Solyndra.
With the current farm bill expiring at the end of the month, there will be significant pressure on lawmakers to pass a new measure before leaving. The Senate already passed their farm bill, but House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has admitted he doesn’t have the votes in the lower chamber to approve a bill. Angry farmers struggling because of the lengthy drought across many parts of the U.S. are expected to storm the Hill this week to pressure Congress to complete a farm bill.
To sum it all up – expect the only measure to reach President Obama’s desk to be a six-month continuing resolution to fund the government and lots of political posturing before Congress adjourns next week.
Article Date: 2012-09-10
Source: Associated Equipment Distributors
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