Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Short-term spending bill introduced in the Senate; alternative in the House

On Sept. 22, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced a continuing resolution (CR), H.R. 3525, to prevent a government shutdown from occurring on Sept. 30. The CR calls for a reduction in overall funding levels by 0.496 percent until Dec. 9. McConnell told members of Congress that they would have until Sept. 27 to consider the legislation before any vote was taken.

The CR contains the text of the Fiscal Year 2017 Military Construction-VA appropriations bill, which includes the following provisions:

  • to provide $1.1 billion to combat the Zika virus;
  • to provide $500 million for flood victims in Louisiana and other affected states;
  • to provide money for presidential transition activities; and
  • to continue a provision in current law blocking a Securities and Exchange Commission rule related to the disclosure of political spending by corporations.

The CR also contains several “poison-pill” policy riders and there are likely to be negotiations regarding several outstanding issues, such as funding to help resolve the lead-contaminated water situation in Flint, MI, and language related to campaign finance, among others.

The House Rules Committee is preparing to take up a CR, and it approved a resolution (H. Res. 879) introduced by Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) that includes the martial law provision, which allows House leaders to potentially bring legislation to the chamber floor the same day as it is advanced by the committee.

Republican Study Alternative

Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, introduced an alternative CR (H.R. 6071) after citing slow progress in the Senate. H.R. 6071 is similar to McConnell’s bill, but it calls for extending current funding levels to Dec. 9 and includes language requiring the “vetting of refugees.”

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