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Congress returns to a full agenda

Key issue will be 2016 appropriations  

Congress is returning this week from its August recess to a full agenda. There are a number of items expiring this month and others expiring the end of the year. A key issue will be Fiscal Year 2016 appropriations that have to be completed by Sept. 30 to avoid a government shutdown. A major event in September will be Pope Francis addressing a joint session of Congress on the 24th. All of this is to takes place as the 2016 Presidential campaigns heat up for the 17 Republican and five Democratic candidates. 

Issues to be addressed include:

  • Fiscal Year 2016 Appropriations (current fiscal year ends Sept. 30) – Congress is expected to pass a continuing resolution that will fund the government until the end of the year.
  • Iran nuclear deal – Republicans have enough votes to reject President Obama’s Iran nuclear agreement. However, they do not have enough votes to override a Presidential veto. 
  • Child Nutrition and Women, Infant and Children nutrition programs – expire Sept. 30. This includes school lunch, school breakfast, summer feeding programs and WIC.
  • Mandatory price reporting for pork and beef – expires Sept. 30.
  • Federal Aviation Administration authorization – expires Sept. 30.
  • Highway bill – funding runs out on Oct. 29.
  • Debt ceiling – The United States will reach its debt ceiling in mid-November. Congress will have to raise the debt ceiling to avoid the Treasury not being able to meet its obligations.
  • Tax extenders – various tax extenders including biodiesel, research and development, Section 179, etc. – expire Dec. 31.
  • COOL – The World Trade Organization panel will meet Sept. 15-16 to hear the United States, Canada and Mexico present their cases on the level of damages that country-of-origin labeling has caused Canada and Mexico. This will determine the level of tariffs. Canada and Mexico are asking for $3.2 billion while the United States is claiming it should only be around $90 million. Congress needs to address this issue or tariffs will be imposed this fall. The House of Representatives passed legislation to repeal COOL. 
  • GMO labeling – passed the House. The Senate Agriculture Committee is planning hearings the end of September.
  • Export-Import Bank – authorization currently expired.
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