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What to Expect From Congress During This (Short) Session

On September 6, Congress returned from a seven-week recess with a long list of possible legislative actions — and a very small window of time to complete them. There are only a handful of scheduled legislative days left until Congress returns home again for the final campaign push ahead of the November elections, yet important work must be done before they can do so — they must eke out an agreement on a spending deal to prevent a government shutdown on September 30.

Given that all eyes are on November 8, it is likely that any controversial legislation will not be considered until the lame-duck session following the elections. It is also expected that Congress will pass a continuing resolution (CR) to extend most departments’ fiscal 2016 funding levels into December while possibly finalizing fiscal 2017 spending for a handful of agencies. Even though both parties understand that passing a CR is critical, as neither party would want to take the blame for a government shutdown, there are still disagreements between republicans on whether a CR should fund the government into December or into 2017. Disagreements also remain on how much money should be allotted to Zika funding — the Senate is likely to attach a CR and funding to combat the spread of Zika to a military construction appropriations bill that has already moved through conference committee.

In relation to the Obama administration’s labor initiatives — the new overtime rule, the blacklisting rule, the persuader rule and controversial NLRB decisions, it is highly unlikely that any of the employment bills which would provide relief to employers will see any action this year.

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