The 115th Congress Opens for Business with Ambitious Agenda

At noon today, members of the 115th Congress will officially be sworn in, paving the way for the beginning of an ambitious legislative agenda for the Republican-controlled House and Senate.

Emboldened by the return of a Republican administration in the White House in 2017, Republican leadership is expected to hit the ground running this week by laying the groundwork for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Regulatory reform and tax reform legislation also top the list of legislative priorities for the new year as Republican lawmakers view these areas in particular as opportunities to strengthen economic growth.

For both ACA repeal and tax reform, Republican leaders are expected to use a budgetary process known as reconciliation, which will allow measures to pass with a simple majority and likely not require much, if any, bipartisan support. This is especially important in the Senate, where 60 votes are normally required to help legislation move toward final passage.

Confirmation hearings for President-elect Trump’s cabinet nominees may begin in the Senate as soon as next week. While Democrats have pledged to use the hearings to highlight concerns about the new administration, they are unlikely going to be able to block any of the nominations.

Despite early signs of intra-party unity among Republicans in both chambers, very little of the agenda is expected to come easily or quickly as Democrats will use every tool and opportunity available to force compromise.

Sources: The Hill, The Washington Post

Jamie Tucker is the director, public policy strategy and operations at Independent Sector. 

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