Federal Relations

October 30, 2017

This Week: CHIP and Taxes

The House and Senate are back this today for what will be the long slog until Thanksgiving. There’s a ton of to-do items on the agenda, including tax reform, raising the debt ceiling, FY 2018 appropriations, the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and the list goes on. The focus for the House this week will be extending the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), while the Senate will continue on more judicial nominations. Both Houses will begin to turn efforts into tax reform.

The House is set to unveil their version of a tax reform bill on November 1 and a mark up in committee shortly thereafter.  Tentatively, this means, the House could consider the measure on the Floor during the week of the November 6. After passage, the measure would move to the Senate the week of November 13 for mark-ups in the Senate Finance and Energy and Natural Resources Committees and floor consideration during the week of the 20, which is Thanksgiving Recess. Per the agreed expedited process, the tax measure would be considered as a reconciliation bill, so it would only get 20 hours of debate and a vote-a-rama — it could be considered in three days.  While this schedule is incredibly ambitious, this framework is the working schedule as of now.

The House— one month after funding for the CHIP has lapsed — is gearing up for a vote on extending funding for the federal program, which insures nine million children in the US. Both parties have been negotiating for weeks. Earlier this month, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a measure to fund CHIP for five years with zero Democratic support. Democrats opposed cutting dollars from Obamacare’s public health fund to pay for the measure — so it wasn’t sent to the floor for a vote. However, the GOP is now moving forward as the clock keeps ticking: several states are slated to run out of CHIP money in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, ehe Administration is set to announce a new Federal Reserve Chair this week and keep up the drum beat on opioids, but the Mueller investigation might make that difficult.

Stay tuned.