Congress Grapples with Taxes, Budget
Lawmakers are juggling major tax cut legislation and a budget agreement as they try to advance both before the holidays, so there's no rest for weary advocates in the run-up to the holidays.
It does not appear that Republican and Democratic leadership have found a solution to the impasse on overall discretionary spending levels for FY 2018. As n4a detailed in our last Legislative Update, final appropriations levels cannot be set until Congress knows exactly how much it intends to spend overall.
There's still a chance that a deal will be struck before the December 22 continuing resolution (CR) expires, but the pressure to pass tax cuts next week is complicating the schedule and the politics. It is increasingly likely that another CR will be required, into January, to resolve the impasse. If that is the case, then a fourth and final CR may be necessary to give appropriators time to resolve specifics.
Meanwhile, the House-Senate conference committee on tax cuts is expected to release a final package later on today. Rumors are flying about what's in the measure, but little has been confirmed and additional tweaks are likely to be made to secure the necessary Republican votes for passage.
Advocates needed: please continue the push on appropriations and raise your concerns about a tax cut measure that puts future spending for Older Americans Act, Medicare and Medicaid at risk.