16 July 2015 Legislative News Update
weekly electronic newsletter, and is published
every Thursday when Congress is in session.
SAME OLD SAME OLD: INFORMAL - A PHRASE USED WHEN A SITUATION OR SOMEONE'S BEHAVIOR REMAINS THE SAME.
It’s only July but Washington is already buzzing with talk of another government shutdown. Could it really happen again? Yes, if you listen to the leaders of both parties.
In about two weeks, Congress will head out of town for the August recess. No bills have been passed to fund the government past the 1 Oct. deadline. By blocking the defense spending bill on June 18, Senate Democrats fulfilled their promise to bottle up the appropriations process until the Republicans start budget negotiations to end sequestration once and for all.
Democrats are opposed to the GOP maneuver that added $38 billion to the military’s Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund because it only adds money for defense and not for domestic programs. Since the OCO fund is not subjected to budget caps, this would allow the Pentagon to work around sequestration spending caps enacted by the 2011 Budget Control Act.
Republicans contend that national security is so important that it cannot wait for Congress to hash out a budget deal. They intend to use the Democrat’s strategy against them by painting them as anti-military and holding the military hostage in order to get more money for non-defense programs.
Added to the mix is the government’s announcement that the United States must increase the debt ceiling by November or December or the government will risk defaulting on payments that it is legally obligated to make.
The time for political brinkmanship has ended.