The third failure of the Senate to advance the Zika funding bill to a full vote, where a simple majority would be needed to gain its passage, means that Congress will likely have to move any disease response money to a massive, upcoming, federal spending bill needed to keep the government open after September 30. But the scramble to solve that problem will not stop Republicans from casting votes on other issues created to register their opposition to the Obama administration. Both sides are also fighting over how long a spending bill should last – Democrats want to revisit the battle again in December, while Republicans want to push it into March. But HHS Secretary Burwell said in a letter Friday her department has already “exhausted our ability” to utilize other funds.
“The first order of business for this Congress is passing a clean, well-resourced Zika bill”, Sen. House Republicans from the state have been among the most vocal throughout the August recess in urging leaders to act on Zika sooner rather than later.
– IRS commissioner: House conservatives are determined to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, saying he stonewalled and impeded congressional investigations into IRS targeting of conservative organizations. Democrats and the Treasury Department have called the allegations baseless, and the Senate is unlikely to vote on the matter.
– Iran: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said last week that Republicans controlling the chamber will pass legislation addressing the Obama administration’s $400 million payment to Iran in January, made immediately after four USA prisoners were released.
Five months after President Obama nominated him for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland is still waiting for his Senate hearing.
The abbreviated, election-season session will last only about 20 days.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Monday that Congress has not done enough to address issues such as opioid abuse, the tainted water system of Flint, Mich., and gun violence. “We need to get to the matters at hand”. Roy BluntRoy BluntThe Hill’s 12:30 Report 9 Senate seats most likely to flip This week: Congress returns for pre-election sprint MORE (R-Mo.) and Patty MurrayPatty MurrayThis week: Congress returns for pre-election sprint Why we must raise the minimum wage for millions of Americans ‘BernieCare’ can save ObamaCare MORE (D-Wash.).
“We’re going to get some additional funding here by the end of September, I promise”, he said.
Congressional leaders say they expect to approve funding for the Zika virus by the end of this month, although it’s unclear how they plan to do so.
There’s a lot on the docket, but there’s only one thing that Congress must do in the coming month: figure out a way to keep the government open before spending legislation expires October 1.
“We want to make sure that when people are voting on this spending bill, they’ll be held accountable to voters”, said Andy Koenig, senior policy adviser at Freedom Partners, a conservative group affiliated with the Koch brothers.
FBI Director James Comey, who frustrated Republicans with his recommendation not to prosecute Clinton for her handling of classified emails, is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee later this month.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada spent weeks blaming each other for the impasse and departed Washington without resolving the differences after two unsuccessful votes to end a Democratic filibuster. Otherwise the CDC said other critical programs will be cut.
“Raise your hand if at some point during your working life you have failed to get your work done and then taken a seven-week break and not been fired”, Kander said at a Democratic gathering in St. Joseph last month. “The only alternative for House leaders is a shutdown, which they see as an absolute catastrophe”.