Legislative Update for Week Ending September 30, 2016

Legislative Update for Week Ending September 30, 2016

This week, after passing legislation to avert a government shutdown, lawmakers returned to their home states and districts to campaign for the upcoming elections.

Congress Passes Stopgap Funding Bill

On Wednesday night, after nearly a month of intense negotiations, lawmakers in the House and Senate passed a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government past the September 30th deadline. For weeks, lawmakers had debated whether to include funding to combat the Zika virus, assist the residents of Flint, Michigan, and provide relief to states facing flood damage. The CR adopted on Wednesday includes funding for all three efforts.

In an interview, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (WI-1) told reporters, “We decided we don’t want to create brinkmanship. That doesn’t do anybody any good.” Senator Barbara Mikulski (MD), Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, agreed. She called the deal an “acceptable compromise.”

With the November elections rapidly approaching, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were eager to pass the CR on Wednesday. Rep. Dan Kildee (MI-5), who helped negotiate an amendment to provide funding for the water crisis in Flint, said in an interview: “You get close to one of these recesses and time sort of accelerates. And that’s sort of what happened … We did 48 hours of work in 12 hours.”

TSCL is pleased that lawmakers successfully negotiated a CR before the end of the fiscal year. Had they failed to pass legislation by midnight on September 30th, the federal government would have shut down like it did back in 2013, and Social Security beneficiaries could have seen negative impacts. Members of Congress will need to revisit the issue during the lame duck session, since the short-term CR only provides funding through December 9th. In the months ahead, TSCL will keep a close eye on talks to keep the federal government funded. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for updates.

Fall Recess Begins

With legislation to fund the federal government behind them, lawmakers in the House and Senate have returned to their home states and districts to resume work on their campaigns. They are expected to return to Capitol Hill following the November elections to begin the lame duck session.

In the meantime, most Members of Congress will be attending local events and hosting town hall meetings. TSCL encourages its members and supporters to attend these events and to voice their concerns about important issues like inadequate cost-of-living adjustments and skyrocketing prescription drug prices.

The following Members of Congress, among many others, will be holding town hall meetings in the days ahead: Sen. Joni Ernst (IA), Rep. Steve Womack (AR-3), Rep. John Garamendi (CA-3), Rep. Tom Rice (SC-7), Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-9), Rep. David Valadao (CA-21), Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15), and Rep. Marc Veasey (TX-33).

For details, or to see if your Members of Congress will be holding town hall meetings during the fall recess, call their local offices. You can find contact information HERE. For a list of ten sample town hall questions, click HERE.