Congress Returns from Recess with 2017 Spending Likely Top Focus

Lawmakers return to Washington today after a long summer recess with the primary focus expected to be on passing at least short-term spending legislation for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017.

With Congress expected to adjourn again in a few weeks for the final month of campaigning before the 2016 elections, House Republicans will begin work on a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government at the start of FY 2017 on October 1. Passage of a CR would allow lawmakers to postpone until after the election more difficult decisions on top-line funding levels. Such decisions may prove quite contentious in an expected lame duck session to end the year, depending on the outcome of the elections.

The tax committees in both chambers are also expected to continue their work toward an overhaul of the tax code. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady (R-TX) has indicated that he will begin preparing legislative text based on his caucus’s tax reform blueprint released in late June, while Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is continuing to fine tune his own proposal on dividends-paid corporate integration. However, observers do not expect to see any legislative text shared publically by Brady in the near future and also believe Hatch may wait until after the election to introduce his bill, based on the preference of Senate Republican leadership.

The brief legislative session may also see continued examination of the spending and management of large university endowments, based on previous concerns stated by the tax-writing committees, and a vote, forced by the House Freedom Caucus, over the objections of House Republican leadership, on impeaching IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

Source: BNA Daily Tax Report (subscription required)

Types: Blog
Global Topics: Congress, Public Policy
Policy Issues: Federal Budget & Fiscal Policy, Tax & Fiscal Policy