Not Just Tax Reform: Congress Has a Lot to Do — and It’s Running Out of Time

Not Just Tax Reform: Congress Has a Lot to Do — and It’s Running Out of Time

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It’s 10/10. Do you know where your Congress is? The Senate isn’t in session this week, and the House is scheduled to be out next week. Only 28 days when both chambers are in session are left in 2017 — no, really — and, as Steve Bell and Jack Rametta of the Bipartisan Policy Center point out today, Congress still has a lengthy to-do list for the year.

The “must pass” items include:

  • A budget for fiscal year 2018
  • Fiscal 2018 appropriations
  • Fiscal 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (the House and Senate have both passed versions, but the different bills need to be reconciled so the president can sign the compromise deal.)
  • Reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program
  • Reauthorize the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program
  • Extend various provisions for Medicare and other programs
  • Supplementary appropriations
  • Extend the federal debt limit, again.

Then there are the political priorities that Republicans (and Democrats) want to tackle:

  • Tax reform
  • Health care reform
  • A relief package for Puerto Rico
  • A DACA fix
  • An infrastructure package

That’s quite a list. Can Congress handle it? “With much to do, it seems likely that Congress may take an omnibus approach to this logjam, as it has in the past — bundling together as many items as possible into a package that would be difficult to vote against,” Rametta suggests. “Given the restraints of time, it seems unlikely that Republicans will be able to execute more than one item on their priority list, and even that could be a tall order.”