Both the House and Senate will be busy this week as they attempt to wrap up a number of issues before they take a two-week break for Thanksgiving. The Senate will try to finish work on the annual Defense Authorization bill that the House completed back in June. This could be one of the few substantial pieces of annual legislation that Congress acts on this year.
But the big news is what’s not happening. With the deadline less than a month away, budget conference committee negotiators say there has been almost no progress in their attempt to address the $91 billion chasm that continues to separate the House and Senate FY 2014 budget plans. The December 13th deadline is fast approaching, with a two-week break in there for Thanksgiving. While Congress set the arbitrary December 13thdeadline, there are no consequences for missing it. In fact, the next deadline that does have consequences is January 15th when the current continuing resolution (CR) runs out. The hope is that negotiators can reach an agreement on an outline that could provide an overall budget number for FY2014 and possibly FY2015 as well as some relief from sequestration before the next round of sequestration take effect in January.