Congress Comes Back: What to Expect

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Members of Congress are back in DC after their summer recess. While the news has been fixated on the antics of the White House for weeks on end, it can now turn to issues that have been simmering and waiting for Congress to attend to.

What’s on deck

  • Of upmost importance this month is funding the government. The deadline is October 1. (If they miss the deadline, the government shuts down.) The House has passed 10 of the necessary 12 bills already, but the Senate is already way behind. Also, the Senate bills will be different from the House bills, so they need time to negotiate the compromises. A potential confrontation is the defense authorization bill — a bill that has always been approved in time, but there are stirrings that there is some trouble ahead.
  • Following this summer’s horrific mass shootings, there is a lot of public pressure to get some gun legislation passed. A background check bill passed by the House back in February seems like the obvious first step, but Mitch McConnell said recently that he won’t pass anything unless he knows that the president will sign the bill. (Of course you and I know that’s not how things are supposed to work. McConnell is trying to dodge responsibility.) Of interest is that HUGE, bipartisan majorities favor some gun legislation. Here’s a Fox News poll from August:Screen Shot 2019-09-08 at 10.00.06 PM
  • Congress has not yet taken action on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (aka the USMCA) that the president wants that will replace NAFTA. There have been a lot of negotiations happening, but no committee votes have been scheduled yet. With the extra pressure put on farmers thanks to Trump’s tariff wars, expect to hear more about this bill in the weeks to come.
  • Just last week, two House committees indicated that they would be investigating Trump administration officials’ use of taxpayer money at Trump properties, prompted by VP Mike Pence’s stay at an out-of-the-way Trump property during his visit to Ireland.
  • House Democrats will also continue to investigate Trump’s involvement in hush money payments arranged by Cohen as well as reports that Trump offered pardons to officials to carry out orders at the U.S. southern border. Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler also announced a procedural vote regarding impeachment which will take place on Wednesday. (Read more about that HERE.)

You can see the House’s current schedule of votes for the week at this link at CD2Action.

Take action

You don’t need to wait until your members of Congress are in DC to call them, but in case you also took a bit of a recess from calling your MoCs this summer, consider calling them this week about election security.

I’m still rather freaked about by the opinion piece from Lawfare about the chaos that could ensue following our 2020 election if Congress continues to not take action on election security. Could you see a scenario where both sides of the political aisle refuse to believe that the outcome of the election is legitimate? I can.

So, please, call your members of Congress and implore them to push for bills and/or actions to make our elections more secure starting immediately. Maybe send them a copy of the Lawfare piece to get their attention. If you’d like a script to make this call, Americans of Conscience Checklist has a good one HERE. (Look at Action Item #4.)

Thank you for taking action.

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Categories: Explainers

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