Federal Relations

This Week in Congress

Both the House and Senate return to Capitol Hill today from their Fourth of July recess and begin the final four week stretch before the August recess. The Senate is in at 2:00pm though no votes are scheduled until tomorrow. The House is also in at 2:00pm with votes expected at 6:30pm, when seven bills will be considered including a veterans jobs bill and a bill to enact cost of living adjustments for vets.

The House has no floor or committee action is scheduled for the FY 2013 appropriations bills, but they will work on other legislation this week — a farm policy bill, a repeal of the health care overhaul, and a business tax break — that could significantly alter future spending. Although both chambers will work on appropriations bills this month, Congress appears unlikely to clear many, or perhaps any, FY 2013 spending bills before election day. It will likely be December at the earliest before the appropriations process is completed. Before the new federal fiscal year starts October 1st, Congress will need to pass a stopgap funding measure or continuing resolution (CR). Leaders in both chambers are already eyeing attaching a CR to one of the least controversial appropriations bills, the Military Construction-VA measure.

To date, the House has passed six of their 12 spending bills. The House Appropriations Committee has approved 11 spending measures and may move the remaining measure, Labor-HHS-Education, this month. The full Senate has not yet taken up any of their appropriations bills. The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved nine bills, and may mark up the remaining three — Defense, Interior, and Legislative Branch —before the August recess.