19 August 2013 Legislative News Update 


Legislative News is AUSA Government Affairs Directorate's
weekly electronic newsletter, and is published
every Monday when Congress is in session.

In this issue:

  • The Next Fight


The Next Fight

We’re hoping the House and Senate will return to Washington after the August recess tanned, rested and ready to tackle the big issues facing them.  Their most immediate concern will be to pass the various spending bills that will fund the government when the new fiscal year begins on Oct. 1. 

Wishful thinking on our part since Congress will have only nine legislative work days in September!  Instead, the government will be funded again by a continuing resolution (CR) that the House and Senate must pass before midnight on Sept. 30. 

The Republicans and the Democrats do not even agree on how long the CR will be in place.  House Speaker John Boehner signaled that he wants a “continuing resolution for some short period of time.”  Rep. Robert B. Aderholt, R-Ala., agreed, “I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a 60-day or 30- to 60-day CR.”  But Senate Democratic staff members said that, “Two months will not do it.  We’re not interested in a short-term CR.  We want a long-term CR.”

Published reports indicate that House GOP appropriators will attempt to pass a “no drama” CR free of any contentious provisions.  But they face a battle with that approach within their own party because some of the more conservative Republican members have said that they want to use the CR to defund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly called Obamacare, even if it results in a government shutdown.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., does not agree with that tactic at all.  He said in a recent interview that “We should not be closing down the government under any circumstances.”  Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C. said it was the “dumbest idea” he’d ever heard of.

We agree with them and we agree with South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott’s position on continuing resolutions.  He said, “The notion of funding our government on these short-term spending plans is an awful decision by the federal government.  At the end of the day, as a small business owner for the last 15 years, the last thing you want is lack of certainty in the ability not to predict your future.  Scott added, “What the short-term continuing resolutions do is it puts in place both things, uncertainty and no predictability.  This is bad for our economy.”

However, since it appears that the CR is inevitable, we urge both sides of the aisle to make it as short and painless as possible.  The continued uncertainty of operating under a CR coupled with the biting effects of sequestration is hurting the Army across the board.