Washington Update: Week of November 13

November 14, 2017
Washington Update

Budget & Appropriations (2017 Offering of Letters)

  • The debate over how to address the status of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients or “Dreamers” continues to be a hurdle for finishing a year-spending bill. 
  • In order for a year-end spending bill to pass the House, Republican leadership will need support from the Democrats. However, 24 House Democrats have threatened a government shutdown if a year-end spending deal does not give legal status to undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. This could make passing an omnibus spending bill very difficult.
  • Specifically, House Democrats are urging Republican leadership to include the Dream Act of 2017 (S.1615) in the omnibus. There is bipartisan support for a legislative fix to DACA.  Fourteen House Republicans have said they want an agreement on DACA this year. However, they are not threatening a shutdown if they fail to get a deal linking DACA to the spending bill.
  • There are multiple reports that a continuing resolution may be needed past Dec. 8. In addition to DACA, Democrats and Republicans are also negotiating parity between Pentagon spending and non-defense priorities, such as funding international development and humanitarian assistance. 
  • Democrats are insisting that any increase in defense spending must also be matched with an increase in non-defense program spending. Senate leadership has indicated that those talks are still at an early stage. 
  • As a result of these discussions, there is growing concern that a year-end spending bill by early December may not be within reach. Republican leadership has indicated that they are considering a two or three month continuing resolution, as an option, in order to keep the government open while they negotiate an agreement. 
  • This would permit enough time for congressional leaders to reach a deal on top-line spending and raise the spending caps under the Budget Control Act. Although the window of opportunity for passing a bill by the end of the year is getting smaller, some appropriators are still hopeful, and believe that a continuing resolution will not be needed.

Taxes

  • Yesterday, Nov. 13, the Senate Finance Committee began considering its version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The Senate bill differs slightly from the House bill, but still includes harmful cuts to the Child Tax Credit and the elimination of the New Markets Tax Credit.
  • Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) have said they will oppose a tax bill if it adds too much to the deficit. After marking up the bill, the Senate is expected to take its tax plan to the floor during the week of Nov. 27.

Act Now!

Call (800-826-3688) your representative and urge them to vote NO on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R.1). This bill provides massive tax cuts that will be paid for by cutting funding to vital safety-net programs for low-income families. 

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