Congress Heading Towards Holiday Crunch Period
The consensus in Washington is that House and Senate Members and staff can expect to be in session until close on Christmas Eve. In addition to the Build Back Better bill, Congress faces several important deadlines and very little time.
Last week Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell prevented passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, which is usually noncontroversial. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had the vote slated for the week of December 30. Republicans are demanding more time for amendments, but the Democrats suspect the goal is to add to the year-end log jam of legislation.
Republicans are also slow rolling the passage of a Continuing Resolution to extend stopgap appropriations which are about to expire. Currently, ILTA expects a CR that goes into January or February. This extension has become routine as Congress has for years been unable to pass the 12 appropriations bills that fund the Federal Government by the October 1 deadline.
Finally, the Debt Ceiling expires on December 15. Unless Congress can agree on another extension, the Federal Government will, for the first time in American history, default on its obligations. Such a failure would cause world-wide economic devastation and increase the cost of borrowing for the U.S. Government. Given the stakes, ILTA still believes that a compromise will be reached, but it is unlikely to be easy, quick or pretty to watch.