October 26, 2015 Legislative Update


Call Notes: (ZombieBudget, Export-Import Bank, Highway Trust Fund, Debt Limit)

Zombie Budget Deal:  First, here is a link to the brief on the awful budget deal being brokered.  It’s a complete surrender to Obama and his agenda for the rest of his presidency.  This must be defeated.  The House is voting on it today so make phone calls immediately before reading the rest of this email…

Spending Graphic

Here are the notes from tonight’s call. They are also live on the HUB.

Sentinel Call Notes – 10/26

The House and Senate are both in session this week.

Export-Import Bank: The House was expected to bring H.R. 597, the Export-Import Bank Reform and Reauthorization Act, to the floor of the House. This standalone bill was brought forward via discharge petition by 42 Republicans, led by Rep. Stephen Fincher, who joined with Democrats to bypass the House Financial Services Committee. Sen. Mitch McConnell has promised not to bring a standalone bill forward for consideration on the floor of the Senate.

This is not the only threat of reauthorization, however. The House is expected to markup and vote on a 6-year bailout of the Highway Trust Fund over the next couple of weeks, which would then be sent to conference committee with the Senate’s bailout. The Senate bill, passed in July, contains a provision reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, and it is possible that it will end up in the final bill.

It is possible that these two ships can pass each other, with the Senate refusing to take up the House’s standalone bill, and the House refusing to incorporate the Senate’s Ex-Im amendment onto the highway bill. Consequently, it’s important to encourage members of Congress to oppose an Export-Import amendment to the Highway Trust Fund.

The actual discharge petition motion on the floor had 62 Republican votes.  The bill itself was passed with 127 Republicans and all Democrats.  The roll call for that vote is as follows…

Highway Trust Fund: The Highway Trust Fund is authorized to continue its spending until October 29, though the Department of Transportation projects that money from the previous bailout could last until June 2016. The House is expected to pass a short-term bill on Tuesday, extending authorization for the fund until November 20. This reauthorization does not allocate any additional money to the fund, and would ensure that negotiations concerning the fund will be conducted after Boehner leaves the speakership. It is possible, however, that Congress will use the November 20 deadline to bundle a bailout with another piece of must-pass legislation.

After the short-term extension, the House is expected to consider a 6-year, $85 billion reauthorization of the fund. It is important to urge members of Congress to reform the insolvent Highway Trust Fund, not simply authorize the 36th bailout of the fund since 2009. For more information, see our summary of the Highway Trust Fund fight.

Debt Limit: The Treasury hit the $18.1 trillion debt limit in March and expects to run out of extraordinary measures on November 3, 2015. This deadline provides an opportunity for lawmakers to reevaluate current spending levels and make needed financial reforms as laid out in the congressional budget. But currently, the House is considering bundling a debt limit increase into a massive two-year budget deal. Latest reports indicate that the two-year budget deal would increase discretionary spending above budget caps by $80 billion, raise or suspend the debt limit to last through March 2017, and bail out both Social Security Disability Insurance and Medicare Part B, without providing lasting reforms to either program.

The budget deal is being tied to a debt limit increase in order for Republicans to be able to claim that they used the leverage effectively, while Democrats can claim that the increase was “clean.” We’ll have more information on this package as it unfolds over the next few days.

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>