Legislative Update for Week Ending November 27, 2015

Legislative Update for Week Ending November 27, 2015

This week was slow on Capitol Hill as lawmakers in the House and Senate adjourned for the holiday recess. They will return with a busy schedule on Monday, November 30th.

Congress Adjourns for Thanksgiving Recess

Members of Congress spent the week in their home states and districts to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. They will return to Capitol Hill on Monday, November 30th with a long to-do list. At the top of their list is the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill, which must be finalized by December 11th – just two weeks from now – in order to prevent another government shutdown.

According to Bloomberg Government, appropriators in the House and Senate are still negotiating the allocation of $25 billion extra in non-defense spending. Once they finalize the spending levels for each subcommittee, they will move on to a much larger hurdle – controversial policy riders that would impact refugees, environmental regulations, and Wall Street, among other things.

Some on Capitol Hill are pushing for a “clean” omnibus bill without any contentious riders. Last week, more than 160 House Democrats sent a letter to leaders that read: “Nearly all of the appropriations bills approved this year have included deeply divisive policy riders that – if attached to an omnibus spending package – could lead to yet another unnecessary political impasse or even a damaging government shutdown. To avoid these harmful outcomes, we strongly urge you to bring forward legislation to fund the federal government that is free of poison-pill provisions.”

However, many on Capitol Hill are not willing to forego the policy rider debate just yet. Last week, Sen. Jerry Moran (KS) said, “I hope we have a full, robust set of provisos in appropriations bills that can be discussed, debated, considered, and sent to the president. We ought not take any of these riders off the table at this point.”

With only two weeks to go, it remains unclear whether or not appropriators in the House and Senate will successfully negotiate an omnibus bill. Sen. Charles Schumer (NY) recently told reporters, “There may be a shutdown. It won’t be over the numbers. We won that fight. We won it big. It would be over the riders.”

TSCL will keep a very close eye on the evolving debate in the coming days since another shutdown could impact Social Security beneficiaries and doctors who treat Medicare patients negatively. For updates, visit the Legislative News section of our website, or our new page on Twitter.