“Clean” CR to Feb. 8 Introduced in Senate

December 19, 2018 – 11:30 a.m.

The Senate Majority Leader has introduced a continuing appropriations measure extending the current appropriations authority, rates and conditions under the current continuing resolution (CR) through February 8, 2018. The legislation (text here) will be voted on in the Senate later today and sent to the House (as a new Senate amendment to an unrelated bill, H.R. 695) and then brought to the House floor tomorrow. Signature by the President by midnight Friday night would avert a government shutdown for the remainder of the 115th Congress on January 3.

It would, however, force the new 116th Congress that takes office on that date to spend its initial days completing the unfinished business of the prior Congress instead of focusing on its own agenda, which will hit the House (where majority control is changing on January 3) particularly hard.

There are other issues that may get resolved before the 115th Congress permanently adjourns. The House Rules Committee is scheduled to meet at 5 p.m. today on what is the third iteration of a year-end tax package (bill text here) – this third version of the legislation adds back the permanent tax credit for Class II and III railroad track maintenance, which was stripped out of the second version. This bill could also be on the House floor tomorrow, but its outcome is less clear.

And we will spend the rest of this week hoping for a massive package of Senate confirmations of Presidential nominees, which we hope will include some of the 19 pending transportation-related nominations (list here). Since the Senate managed to pass the criminal justice bill last night, and since they apparently will have the appropriations issue settled (for this year at least) by tomorrow, it no longer appears likely that the Senate or House will be in session after this week, so anything that does not clear by this weekend has to start anew next year.


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