Rising Pressure – All Stop on Senate Appropriations
We’ve suggested it in the last several Quick Hits. Now the FY20 stall is upon us. Senate Appropriations Chairman Shelby has halted markups on 2020 spending bills until a deal is reached on spending limits under the Budget Control Act. Senate Majority Leader McConnell doesn’t want to do markups without having the final numbers agreed. This move increases pressure on negotiators.
The stalling move comes at a time when there have been significant changes in the staff on the Senate Appropriations Committee, an uncommon event midway through a cycle. A delay in Senate markups gives the reshuffled staff time to settle in before going to markup.
Senator Shelby says members of Congress will remain in Washington through the upcoming August recess if necessary, as the White House seems poised to put pressure on plans for the recess.
The Debt Ceiling Becomes More Urgent
Weak corporate tax revenues have added a new urgency to the debt challenges that Congress is facing. New projections show that the federal government could run out of money in early September instead of the previously projected October or early November. With the August recess approaching, an early September deadline means Congress should pass a bill to raise or suspend the debt ceiling before the recess. Failing to do so runs the risk of the government running out of money to pay for certain programs and possibly even defaulting on some of its debt, shaking faith in the government. This more urgent deadline means that the chances of raising the debt ceiling and setting spending limits for 2020 and 2021 in one agreement is less likely. Look for another short-term fix on debt ceiling relief.