Legislative Update for Week Ending September 9, 2016

Legislative Update for Week Ending September 9, 2016

This week, lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill following a seven-week summer recess. They are expected to remain in Washington until they pass legislation to avert a government shutdown later this month.

Lawmakers Return to Capitol Hill

Members of Congress returned to Washington on Tuesday following a summer recess that lasted nearly two months. They are expected to return to their home states and districts after they pass a continuing resolution to fund the federal government past October 1st, the start of the new fiscal year.

Disagreements between lawmakers in the House seem to be the greatest obstacle at the moment. Members of the conservative Freedom Caucus have voiced concerns about the growing deficit and have said they would prefer to pass legislation at a much lower funding level.

One member of the Freedom Caucus – Rep. Dave Brat (VA-7) – said he would only consider a continuing resolution at the current level if it funds the government through the end of December to avoid another budget showdown in the lame duck session that will follow the November elections. However, others on Capitol Hill have said they will not consider a package that stretches into the 115th Congress. Rep. Kay Granger (TX-12) said this week, “We lose control if we push it into next year. We work so hard on those [appropriations] bills … When you do a CR all that is lost.”

In the Senate, lawmakers seem to be making slow progress towards a bipartisan solution. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) told reporters on Wednesday that talks with Democrats and the White House have begun, and that the chamber will be focusing on the funding package next week. He said, “We’re going to work toward the December 9 date at last year’s levels.”

It remains to be seen whether or not lawmakers in Congress will successfully negotiate a funding bill before the October 1st deadline. In the weeks ahead, The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) will monitor the talks closely, since inaction would result in a government shutdown that could negatively impact Social Security beneficiaries and doctors who treat Medicare patients. For updates, visit the Legislative News section of our website, or follow TSCL on Twitter.