You may have thought that the collapse of the congressional supercommittee on budget deficit reduction meant that budget issues would be put on the back burner for a while, but no. Congress has been funding the government through stopgap measures for 14 months, and the latest one expires Dec. 16, The Hill
So Congress needs to pass another continuing resolution by then to prevent a government shutdown. In addition, the payroll tax cut and extended unemployment benefits are set to expire at the end of the year if Congress doesn’t act. Lawmakers also must deal with bills to protect Medicare payments for doctors and to keep millions of taxpayers from getting stuck with the alternative minimum tax.
But Republicans and Democrats are no closer to agreement on tax and spending issues than they were when the supercommittee dissolved last week. So it’s going to be a difficult slog. Members of Congress probably will be working well past Dec. 8, when the House is scheduled to end its business for the year.
After the supercommittee meltdown, President Barack Obama urged Congress to pass parts of his jobs plan, including the payroll tax cut extension that many Republicans oppose. Senate Democrats are working on proposals for $400 billion of new spending — a sure-fire loser among Republicans.
The GOP is determined to carry on its effort to cut government spending, eliminate onerous regulations, and slash taxes for both individuals and businesses. Some bills along those lines have passed the House.
"The American people continue to await action on the more than 20 bipartisan jobs bills passed by the House that are currently stuck in the Democratic-controlled Senate," House Speaker John Boehner said last week.
"With one single statement, President Obama could dislodge these bipartisan jobs bills and ensure they are brought to a vote. I hope the president will put country before party and call on the Senate to bring these bipartisan jobs bills to a vote immediately after Thanksgiving."
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, agrees. "Congress and the president need to stay focused on reducing spending," he said last week.
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