Congress will return to the US Capitol on Monday after a long August recess period. And in the nine working days they have scheduled for September, the focus will be on the instability in Syria and on-going fiscal issues.
The House is likely to take up a short-term, stopgap funding measure – continuing resolution (CR) – next week that will fund federal government beyond into the new fiscal year beginning on October 1st. This action is necessary to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month as Congress has been unable to come to any agreement on FY14 budget and appropriations bills. Action on a CR will delay fiscal fights until Congress decides whether to grant President Obama authority to launch a military strike against Syria.
The CR is expected to contain few, if any, controversial riders and is not expected to last more than two to three months. It’s likely to continue discretionary spending into FY14 at the current rate of roughly $988 billion – or level funding. Both parties are looking at the CR and delay in FY14 appropriations as a negotiating tool to force action to modify the sequester and increase the nation’s borrowing limit by mid-October.