One thing that can be said at this particular stage in the deliberations of Congress, there is considerable activity. Results, of course, are a different matter.
The House has passed seven fiscal year 2015 appropriations bills: military construction, Veterans Affairs, Legislative, Transportation Housing and Urban Development, Defense, Energy-Water and Financial Services. Meanwhile, the Senate has yet to pass any appropriations bills for fiscal 2015 due to an ongoing disagreement over amendments.
A stopgap measure to keep the federal government operating past September 30 through the midterm elections appears likely.
Legislation to accomplish any type of policy is now almost exclusively attempted in appropriation bill. The House continues to pass a variety of bills but almost all end up in the dead end clutches of Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), never to be considered. Senator Reid has refused to bring up any bill that could be an avenue for Republican amendments, throttling even popular proposals from his won party. This stalemate will continue, leading to an embarrassing end for all.
Republicans are using the only weapon at their disposal, mainly looking to roll back a number of the Obama administration's most contentious regulations by strangling the funding for dozens of rules that Republicans view as overly burdensome, unnecessary or beyond the scope authority.
Most of the attention focused on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations but the scope of the effort goes beyond and is threaded throughout the appropriation process. While none of the House spending bills will pass “as is,” Republicans hope some of the provisions will find a way into spending legislation needed to keep the government running once Congress formally gives up on the appropriations process.
The Administration, just to complete the tone of the day, is inundated with scandals, investigations, charges of incompetence, adverse foreign events, and a flood of people illegally crossing the border. The list is long, hard to keep track. The President is at historical lows in the polls and it is difficult to see how this trend can significantly reverse itself. However, one thing to always remember is that Mr. Obama still has 2 plus years in office.
Almost every action, movements, decisions is couched in political terms for both parties, each seeking what it thinks is an advantage towards the election in November. While voting is still about 4 months away, Republicans seem to have some momentum and more than likely will retain control over the House and now have a good chance to gain the necessary seats to control the Senate. Therefore, it is important to think about:
- What affect would a newly elected Republican Senate have on a post-election Congressional session?
- What would be the impact of a Republican controlled Congress next year?
We will leave those questions to a later time.