Removing Barriers Blog

The Week Ahead in Washington - July 31, 2017
Posted July 31, 2017 by CUNA Advocacy

Wow - what a week! Even by Washington DC standards, this week was dramatic. The House of Representatives has left town and will reconvene September 5th. Upon returning, we expect the House to consider the remaining eight appropriations bills that remain after passage of the first four bills last week. No significant committee action of interest to credit unions is expected to be considered this week in the Senate.

The Senate will be in session this week and possibly next week as well. This week, the Senate is expected to consider the confirmation of Kevin Christopher Newsom, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit. In addition, the Senate plans to consider the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 on the floor. The Senate Armed Forces Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) will not be in Washington to manage the bill on the floor as he is returning to Arizona for more treatment for a brain tumor.

As you likely know, last week the Senate debated health care legislation. Senate Republicans dropped consideration of the bill after their strategy failed to garner the needed fifty votes to pass the Senate. In fact, the House came close to delaying their departure as it appeared that the Senate would pass a health care bill. Nevertheless, the bill the Senate considered is currently “back on the calendar” since the last vote on the defeated “skinny” Obamacare repeal was on an amendment and not on the bill. Therefore, the bill could be brought up again with only a simple majority (the amendment failing would not cause the bill to lose its privilege, and so a 60 vote threshold would not be required).

Republicans were expected to use the repeal of Obamacare to be a nearly one trillion dollar “payfor” for tax reform. That strategy is in tatters. In addition, the “Big6” of Administration and Congressional leadership released a statement that stated that the six parties had reached an agreed framework to pursue tax reform through “regular order.” This means that the legislation will not be crafted in secret and it also means there will be an open and robust hearing and markup process. One item to note is that the BAT, or border adjustment tax, will not be an option in tax reform. That provision was expected to raise $1.3 trillion. Without that revenue and the unrealized funds from the health care defeat, it is difficult to see a viable path forward on tax reform without making massive cuts to popular tax credit and deductions.

The week of September 5th, the House is expected to consider the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2018. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government is expected to markup its FY 18 legislation that week as well.