By Matt Vallone, Director of Research & Analysis
Main Story: The CR End Date Draws Closer
As the year draws to a close, things always heat up in Congress. With only twelve legislative days scheduled between Thanksgiving and the end of the calendar year, Congress’ to-do list has not gotten any shorter. Tax reform and a funding bill are the two headliners, but complications may also come from other issues, such as resolving the status of individuals in the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the National Flood Insurance Program, and an additional request for disaster aid from the White House. Finding a solution to DACA remains the most likely tripping point as conservative Republicans oppose any change in status absent inclusion of funding for a border wall and Democrats appear likely to insist on some sort of status for DACA recipients in the deal. The most likely outcome appears to be at least a short-term CR as Congressional leaders continue to work on an end-of-year deal.
There was some progress on defense spending the week before Thanksgiving as the Senate appropriations committee released its version of the Defense Appropriations bill. This bill would set base Department of Defense spending at $581.3 billion with $64.9 billion in OCO. These totals include the Administration’s supplemental request of $4.5 billion in emergency funding for missile defense. While this would be an increase of approximately $15 billion on the President’s Budget request, it is significantly lower than the $661.2 billion found in the FY 2018 NDAA that was signed into law prior to Thanksgiving ($605.5 billion in base and $65.7 billion in OCO). This points to the tension between the goals of the authorizing committees and the likely result of Congressional negotiations. As December 8th gets closer, we will have a better handle on whether a deal for FY2018 can really lift funding to the levels in the NDAA.
House Activity – The House will be taking up a handful of bills related to the environment, land management, and reforming requirements for various positions in the Senior Executive Service.
Senate Activity – The Senate will attempt to pass tax reform, with a vote on a motion to proceed to the bill scheduled for Wednesday. Assuming Senate Republicans can corral the 50 votes needed, that would set them up for passage of the legislation at the end of this week or early next week.
- 11/30 ‘Testimony from Outside Experts on Recommendations for a Future National Defense Strategy’, Full Committee Hearing, SD-G50 Dirksen, 10am
- HASC – No hearings this week
- HAC-D – No hearings this week
- SAC-D – No hearings this week
Government Activity Round-Up
The CBO has a review of fiscal year 2017 up and available. The deficit increased from $586 billion in FY 2016 to $666 billion in FY 2017 as revenues declined as a percent of GDP from 17.7 to 17.3. Full report here.
Some interesting reports up at the GAO, including a look at DoD’s use of telehealth activities in FY 2016, a review of OMB’s IT programs, and, finally, a study on pilots’ and flight attendants’ exposure to noise when on board commercial aircraft. Take a look.
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