Sep 5, 2017

Congress' September to-do list

Andrew Harnik, Susan Walsh, J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Congress is back in session with a busy schedule ahead, including deciding on whether or not to allocate funding for a border wall, preventing a government shut down and deciding what to do with "DREAMers." Here's their full September to-do list:

  1. Prevent a government shut down: Trump has demanded funding for his border wall, which has prevented agreement on this fiscal year's budget and could result in a government shut down. Trump said in Phoenix last month, "If we have to close down our government, we're building that wall." This has to be solved before the end of the month.
  2. Raise the debt limit: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said the federal government might not be able to pay its bills on time if Congress doesn't raise the debt limit by the end of the month.)
  3. Tax reform: Trump has ordered tax reform to be passed this month as well, although there has yet to be any detailed plan released. Mnuchin has recently claimed that the White House does have a plan, but Congress is expected to take the lead.
  4. Harvey relief funding: The devastation brought by Hurricane Harvey in Texas has added one more thing to Congress's immediate to-do list — figure out how to fund relief efforts in Texas. There have been some rumors about attaching this funding to the debt ceiling bill as leverage, but Republican Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows has harshly warned against this. The House will vote this week on the first $6 billion in aid for Harvey victims.
  5. Decide on DACA: Trump has reportedly decided to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program, with a 6-month delay for Congress to figure things out. Now pressure's on the House and Senate to act on legislation providing DREAMers with some type of legal status.
  6. Health care: Health care will never die. Trump campaigned on repealing and replacing Obamacare, and the topic is not likely to go away, even after several attempts and failures by Republican lawmakers.

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Why it matters: There’s only so much any president can do to stop a virus from spreading, and for now the coronavirus is still very much under control within the U.S. But if the disease get worse in the months ahead, and if the administration seems to be caught off guard, that spells trouble for public confidence in Trump.

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