Connect with Point of View   to get exclusive commentary and updates

Congressional Agenda

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

As Congress is about to convene, it is worth considering what will be the congressional agenda for this year. Actually, we don’t have to guess what the Republican leadership has planned for the first few months of the new Congress. Representative John Boehner and Senator Mitch McConnell proposed and solidified their plans right after the November election.

First, they plan to get quick congressional action on a number of bills that have been stalled in Congress. One is to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. There weren’t enough votes in the Senate in November to end a filibuster. Senate Majority Leader McConnell most likely will have the votes this time. That will force the president’s hand. The president can either sign it or veto it and try to explain his action to the American people.

Second, the leadership wants to pass a budget through both chambers of Congress. Previous Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid prevented most of these budget bills from passage. The new Senate Majority Leader wants to make this happen and prevent any possibility of a government shutdown. House Republicans have already made it clear that their budget for the new Congress will be based upon the plans drafted by Representative Paul Ryan. The only sticking point might be whether members of Congress want to use the budget process to defund the president’s executive order on immigration since the Homeland Security budget only runs through February.

Third, the leadership would like to implement tax reform legislation. This would also include some action on the so-called tax extenders package by making these permanent. While these tax issues may not be part of the president’s agenda, the leadership has talked about dangling before the president some of the fast-track trade agreements he wants ratified.

If these three initiatives strike you as being a bit lean and limited, I would agree. There are many other issues Congress should address. Tomorrow, I will put forward some other items that I believe should also be part of the congressional agenda.

Viewpoints by Kerby Anderson

Viewpoints sign-up