Capitol Hill Update, 30 September, 2013
House/Senate Schedule: Both chambers of Congress are currently in town and are scheduled to remain so until the week of October 14th.
Legislative Highlight of the Week: Predictably, the highlight this week is the Continuing Resolution (H.J. Res. 59) to fund the federal government. Currently, the federal government is funded until 11:59 on September 30th, after which any federal employees and agencies not designated as “essential” would be furloughed until Congress authorizes funding for their return. However, such a large portion of the federal government is designated as essential that a “shutdown” doesn’t really shut down much.
Despite the fact that the House has sent, as of this writing, three separate CR proposals to the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid has rejected all of them out of hand, refusing to so much as debate the latter two proposals. Reid and President Obama have made very clear that they would rather have a government “shutdown” than negotiate, and if they insist on being absolutely inflexible, Republicans should call their bluff.
Given that ObamaCare’s exchanges are set to start enrollment on October 1st, despite the fact that it is being only selectively enforced (big business and Congress get a pass, among others), it is crucial that Congress stop the law’s implementation for at least a year in the interest of fairness, if nothing else.
**UPDATE** Late Monday night, the House proposed to go to conference, where both chambers would go behind closed doors and hash out a compromise on the House and Senate CRs. This is a normal part of how laws were once made, but the Senate once again chose to table the House’s proposal, confirming that they are unwilling to negotiate at all. Given the administration’s absolute intransigence, this could be a while.
House/Financial Services: If Congress is able to deal with the CR swiftly, there are two other bills related to financial services which may recieve votes in the next few days. These two bills are: