Congress’s to-do list is growing. “With the first half of 2019 off to a slow legislative start, both chambers are facing a potential logjam of crucial deadlines and competing priorities heading into the back half of the year,” The Hill’s Jordain Carney writes.
Here’s a rundown of some high-priority items lawmakers still need to address:
Disaster aid: Before the holiday weekend, lawmakers struck a deal on a long-delayed $19.1 billion relief package, with President Trump saying the agreement has his “total approval.” The Senate passed the legislation last Thursday, but Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) on Friday blocked a vote by unanimous consent in the House and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) blocked another vote during a pro forma session Tuesday. Those lawmakers faced blowback, including from members of their own party, but their objections mean that a recorded vote will likely have to wait until early next month.
2020 spending: Lawmakers are looking to reach a two-year deal to raise budget caps and avoid automatic spending cuts, but progress in negotiations early last week appeared to stall out, with the two sides reportedly far apart on top-line levels for non-defense outlays.
Debt ceiling: Lawmakers will need to extend the government’s borrowing authority by late summer or early fall to avoid breaching the debt limit and potentially setting off a financial crisis. “Leadership and White House officials are considering combining the debt ceiling issue with a potential budget caps deal so that Congress can approve both simultaneously,” Carney reports.
Funding the government: Once the top-line budget levels are set, appropriators need to pass 12 spending bills by the start of the new fiscal year on October 1 or risk another government shutdown. Congress could also pass a stopgap measure to extend funding at 2019 levels and shift the deadline until later in the year.
Infrastructure: Don’t count on anything getting done.
For more on Congress’s to-do list, read Carney’s piece at The Hill.