POLICY BRIEFINGS


Congress Avoids Government Shutdown, Passes Continuing Resolution


Last week, the House and the Senate passed a clean continuing resolution (CR) that funds the government from October 1, the start of fiscal year (FY) 2016, through December 11 of this year. The stopgap spending measure provides funding for federal agencies at a rate of $1.017 trillion, approximately flat compared to fiscal 2015 levels. The CR keeps federal funding for Planned Parenthood intact. The CR was first passed by the Senate by a vote of 78-20 before being sent to the House. All 20 Senate votes in opposition came from Republicans. In the House, the CR passed by a vote of 277-151. The bill garnered 91 Republican votes in favor of passage, with no Democrats in opposition. The President signed the bill into law on Wednesday evening. Negotiations will now begin on a longer-term budget deal. Democrats and the White House are sure to push to end sequestration spending limits. Republican leadership will be under pressure to include reforms to entitlement programs in exchange for raising of the spending caps. The goal of negotiations will be to strike a deal on top-line budget figures for both FY 2016 and FY 2017, so as to avoid a funding debate during an election year. President Obama has vowed not to sign another short-term funding measure should lawmakers be unable to agree upon a long-term budget agreement by December 11.


Deadline Set for Raising the Debt Limit


Last week, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced a November 5 deadline for raising the debt limit in order to avoid a potential default on current loans. This date is earlier than many experts had predicted. The current limit is set at $18.1 trillion. In his letter, Lew explained that by November 5 the government will have less than $30 billion on hand, falling short of $60 billion often needed to pay government bills on a particular day. The administration has said that the President will not negotiate a raising of the debt limit. Additionally, both outgoing Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have stressed that default is not up for debate. The government technically met its borrowing limit in March, but since then the Treasury has been able to employ extraordinary measures to delay reaching the debt limit.


Republicans to Hold Leadership Elections This Week


Following the surprise resignation announcement of Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), Republicans are preparing for closed door House Republican conference leadership election to be held this Thursday. However, Speaker Boehner is being asked to consider delaying the votes for Majority Leader and Majority Whip. Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) is circulating a letter requesting such a delay. In addition, there is widespread interest in considering a change in internal party rules that would force candidates to resign chairmanships and leadership slots to run for new office. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is widely seen as John Boehner’s most likely replacement. Rep. McCarthy has served in the House since 2007. He has worked as chief deputy whip and majority whip before replacing Eric Cantor (R-Va.) as Majority Leader. Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) and Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) have also announced bids for the leadership role. There are at least four members seeking the majority leader post, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.), and Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.). Those angling for the majority whip position should Rep. Scalise become majority leader include Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), Deputy Whip Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), Chairman of the Rules Committee Pete Sessions (R-Texas) and Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.). Candidates will require a majority of votes in the House – 218 — in order to secure the leadership position. The new speaker will be responsible for dealing with the debt ceiling, expiring tax breaks, and negotiating a way to fund the federal government past December 11.Following the surprise resignation announcement of Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), Republicans are preparing for closed door House Republican conference leadership election to be held this Thursday. However, Speaker Boehner is being asked to consider delaying the votes for Majority Leader and Majority Whip. Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) is circulating a letter requesting such a delay. In addition, there is widespread interest in considering a change in internal party rules that would force candidates to resign chairmanships and leadership slots to run for new office. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is widely seen as John Boehner’s most likely replacement. Rep. McCarthy has served in the House since 2007. He has worked as chief deputy whip and majority whip before replacing Eric Cantor (R-Va.) as Majority Leader. Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) and Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) have also announced bids for the leadership role. There are at least four members seeking the majority leader post, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.), and Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.). Those angling for the majority whip position should Rep. Scalise become majority leader include Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), Deputy Whip Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), Chairman of the Rules Committee Pete Sessions (R-Texas) and Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.). Candidates will require a majority of votes in the House – 218 — in order to secure the leadership position. The new speaker will be responsible for dealing with the debt ceiling, expiring tax breaks, and negotiating a way to fund the federal government past December 11.



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