A Look at the Fall Legislative Session

By Doug MacGillivray posted 09-06-2017 11:15

Congress returned to work after Labor Day to begin its fall session. There are several must-pass or critical items on the agenda that will take up most of the floor and committee time. These include:

• Raising the debt limit;
• Passing a spending package to fund the government (September 30 deadline);
• Approving supplemental emergency funding in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma;
• Reauthorizing the federal flood insurance program (September 30 deadline)
• Reauthorizing the children’s health insurance program (September 30 deadline); and,
• FAA reauthorization (September 30 deadline).

On top of the above major items, Congress has also had its eye on two other priorities: some sort of tax reform package, as well as an infrastructure bill. Both are massive legislative undertakings and have very little detail at this point. Plus, there is likely not enough time remaining to complete these items by the end of the year. APGA has been closely monitoring both items and been in touch with congressional offices as they pertain to APGA legislative initiatives.

Additionally, there is the added prospect of the Senate energy bill, which had been introduced in July. S. 1460 represents the Senate Energy and Natural Resources’ committee latest attempt at a broad, bipartisan energy bill. With so much on the docket, it is unclear where this bill would fit in the Senate’s calendar. However, it had been indicated that if the Senate were in a logjam scenario and other legislative items were not moving, S. 1460 could be called up. APGA has been in discussion with the applicable offices and will continue to be involved with discussions.

The Senate continues to progress through numerous nominations, many of which are energy related. The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing on Rich Glick and Kevin McIntyre, nominees for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Commissioner. McIntyre, a Republican, would serve as the head of the Commission. Glick is a former Democratic Senate aide. Both are expected to be confirmed.

Overall, it is very difficult to predict what will happen over the coming weeks in Congress. There are many moving pieces and deadlines that complicate the general outlook. Competing priorities are compressing legislative calendars and putting floor time at a premium, so many of the decisions made will occur behind closed doors. APGA is working to make sure its members remain involved in the many policy debates this fall and their interests are properly represented in Congress.

For questions on this article, please contact Doug MacGillivray of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-2742 or by email at dmacgillivray@apga.org.