Congress hasn’t set the spending plan for fiscal 2017 yet, but it has adjourned for its summer break.
The House and Senate won’t meet again until September 6th. When it returns, just four weeks before the beginning of the new fiscal year, it might—might—set spending levels for the year. Failure to establish spending numbers plenty of time before the beginning of the fiscal year prevents agencies from planning and undercuts their efficiency—or, if you like, undercuts their efficiency even more.
The Republicans and Democrats are having their conventions this coming week and next, of course. It’s a symbol, in a way, that getting elected is much more important to them than doing the work they’re elected to do. (You could lay this charge chiefly with Republicans this time, because they currently control the House and Senate.)
At least the Senate has been good enough to publish its plans for its first week back: Work starts again at 3:00pm on Tuesday, September 6.
Shortly after that time, the Senate will resume consideration of the conference report for H.R. 2577, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016. As we noted in a recent WashingtonWatch.com email newsletter, that bill actually is the legislative vehicle for a couple of other bills, H.R. 4974, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017; H.R. 5243, the Zika Response Appropriations Act, 2016; and H.R. 897, the Zika Vector Control Act, which was formerly a regulatory reform bill.
The Senate may vote as earlier as late that day to cut off debate on that bill, and one other, H.R. 5293, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2017. The second largest of this year’s annual spending bills, DoD approps spends over $5,000 per U.S. family. Cutting off debate, or “cloture,” means that a bill will soon move to a decision on final passage.
So there’s some real action coming up in the Senate. …It’s just seven weeks away.
Enjoy your summer break, Congress!