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November 1, 2019

Partisan gridlock in Washington, must-pass legislation, even some accomplishments:

Legislative accomplishments are likely to be few and far between for the rest of this year; in fact, for the rest of this Congress (through the end of next year). But Congress does have a couple of must-pass measures to handle. In September Congress passed and the President signed into law a bill that continued government spending through November 21st, extended the “debt limit” for two years, and temporarily extended a few expiring Federal programs.

Congress must act again – before November 21st – to either pass individual appropriations bills or another continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown. In addition, the programs temporarily extended in the September bill also have to be dealt with: a child care program, the National Flood Insurance Program, the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization. There are also a few provisions of tax law that are likely to be extended before the end of this year, and a retirement bill – the SECURE Act – that has bi-partisan support and could reach the President’s desk.

But absent an unexpected outbreak of the bipartisanship necessary to pass legislation, the big issues that should be commanding the attention of the Congress will again go ignored. There will be no major health care reform, no immigration bill, no significant infrastructure bill. The House Democratic majority will continue its oversight, investigations, and impeachment inquiry, and pass a few very liberal bills; the Senate Republicans will continue Leader Mitch McConnell’s determined confirmation of every judicial nomination sent up by the President.

However, the fact that the legislative agenda is not robust does not mean nothing is happening in the nation’s Capital. In fact, a lot has been done, and much continues to be done.

For details on some of the ongoing activities, please see NAW’s separate issue briefs on—among other topics:

  • Health care & workplace benefits
  • Infrastructure and transportation issues
  • Judicial confirmations
  • Labor regulatory initiatives
  • The Regulatory agenda
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