Quick Hit – June 13, 2017

by Gene Moran in Blog

Political forces continue to impinge on real legislative progress on appropriations and the President’s legislative agenda.  Nine legislative workweeks remain until the new fiscal year (FY18).  Some highlights and obstacles to consider (see bold for major areas in play):

What it Means

The Budget Committees have yet to agree to a topline or specific allocations, the 302(b)’s.  Without such allocations agreed, appropriations subcommittee chairmen don’t know for sure to what level they may fund agencies under their cognizance.

Despite the late arrival of the President’s FY 18 budget proposal, defense committees are attempting to press ahead with “posture” and “budget” hearings. DoD principals and service chiefs have been testifying regularly over the past few weeks and continue this week.  Notably, HAC-D has forgone several traditional hearings.  The HASC has scheduled their full committee markup 28 June, just before the July 4th recess.  HASC is traditionally the first of the four defense committees to “mark” their bill.

Nearly two dozen budget or appropriations hearings are scheduled this coming week.

This past week was to have been “infrastructure” week, with coordinated messaging on the need for extensive investment in transportation.  Messaging was completely eclipsed by the testimony of former FBI Chief James Comey.

This coming week, Attorney General Sessions will deliver equally captivating testimony sure to continue the distraction from required legislative business.

Senate Republicans appear to have established the end of June as an internal deadline to find a solution to their version of a fix to the Affordable Care Act.  It appears less likely that health care overhaul will survive the political calendar.

The debt ceiling will be reached just as we move into the traditional August recess. Look for a debt ceiling debate to be pushed past Labor Day using more “extraordinary measures” — printing more money — expedient in the short term; terrible long-term policy.
Senior leadership positions throughout the administration continue to flow into the nomination process at an anemic pace.  While names are trickling, over 400 nominations remain unnamed.
House Conservatives (The Republican Steering Group) have raised the prospect of an Omnibus Appropriation as opposed to a Continuing Resolution or series of CR’s.  An early Omnibus is an unlikely solution, but it does reflect a shift in public posturing on the part of an influential segment of House Conservatives.

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