A recent NACo News bulletin summarizes the issues Congress will need to take up when members return from their summer recess. A brief summary of those issues with county relevance is provided below.
With Fannie Mae now planning to pay the U.S. Department of Treasury an additional $10.2 billion in September, it appears that the federal debt ceiling debate could be further delayed. Although the timing remains uncertain, at some point Congress and the White House will need to raise the nation’s borrowing limit to avoid a debt default or credit rating downgrade.
Twelve appropriations bills must be enacted by Oct. 1, the beginning of this fiscal year. However, only four appropriations bills passed out of the House: Defense, Energy and Water, Homeland Security, and Military/Veterans — and the Senate has yet to vote on any appropriations bills.
After several active months of discussions and working groups focused on possible tax reform options, the August recess found the chairmen of the two congressional tax-writing committees on the road as they continued their campaign to generate grassroots support for a major tax bill. At a recent stop in California’s Silicon Valley, Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) touted tax reform as an opportunity to encourage U.S. economic growth.
Congress adjourned for its August recess with immigration reform still up in the air. While the Senate passed its comprehensive immigration reform bill (S. 744) on June 27, House leadership indicated debate on immigration reform would be delayed until October. While the House has already indicated it will not take up the Senate bill, that doesn’t mean that an agreement with the Senate is impossible.
With the current extension of the farm bill set to expire on Sept. 30, the future of new farm legislation remains uncertain.
Water Resources Development Act
Since the Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), S. 601, overwhelming in May, questions have remained about the status of the yet-to-be-introduced House bill.