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December 5, 2022

What to expect in Washington (December 5)

An approach to government funding hasn't been settled and the current December 16 deadline is looming, meaning the possibility remains for a continuing resolution (CR) until December 23 or later. The House may take up the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) this week, though the compromise agreement hasn't yet been filed. It's possible energy permitting reform could be added. "New text of the defense bill that includes the permitting bill could be released Monday before the House Rules Committee considers the measure … " the Washington Post reported. "The effort to salvage [Senator] Manchin's permitting reform crusade is the latest attempt by Democrats to honor a deal with the West Virginia senator that secured his vote for the Inflation Reduction Act."

The new House Democratic leadership team was featured on the Sunday political shows. Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), who is set to serve as Democratic Whip, said on Meet the Press that efforts continue to craft an omnibus appropriations bill, as opposed to a fallback year-long CR or a CR into early 2023, continue. "We do not want to leave that to the hands of the GOP, who are already threatening to take down our economy and hold our budget hostage," she said. "And, so, we have work to do in the remaining weeks of this session. And we plan on getting it done."

Punchbowl today said on the appropriations impasse that has kept a topline spending agreement required to draft the dozen annual spending bills elusive, "The issue is non-defense spending. Democrats won't go along with a big increase in Pentagon funding — supported by both parties — without an increase in spending on social programs. Republicans complain that Democrats got new money for social programs in the Inflation Reduction Act and won't approve any more. Ergo, stalemate. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is the key here. McConnell and other senior Senate Republicans are taking a tough line … "

The report also said: "There's a lot of buzz about a potential tax extenders bill, possibly even a package including a renewal of the expanded Child Tax Credit, but the outlook here is hazy. There's been bipartisan back-and-forth between senior members of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance panels, yet not a lot of concrete action. No one can seem to agree what would be in a tax extender package. Again, Republican leaders are the key here. McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy haven't expressed much support. So we'll have to see."

A consistent narrative in Washington has been that a CR, which would freeze some government funding at current fiscal year levels, would delay necessary military investments to the detriment of national security. Politico this morning: "It's a cliche on Capitol Hill that no one likes continuing resolutions. But there are real concerns about flat-funding the military and the Defense Department is outlining the potential consequences."

The Senate next convenes at 3 p.m. today, December 5, with a nomination vote at 5:30 p.m. The Georgia Senate runoff election is December 6. An EU ECOFIN meeting, during which "the Council will discuss the directive on ensuring a global minimum level of taxation for multinational groups in the Union," is also December 6.

Looking ahead to next year, on ABC's This Week, incoming House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) said there have been a series of forces working against American workers: globalization of the economy, outsourcing of American jobs, upholding negotiated trade deals, decline in unionization, and the rise of automation. Asked what can be done about it, he said, "I think the solution relates to several things, one we can build upon the work that has occurred already, Inflation Reduction Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs, like the CHIPS and Science Act, making sure we bring domestic manufacturing jobs, other jobs back home to the United States of America, implement the historic legislation that has already been put in place, and to find common ground to look for other ways to build upon that great work."


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