Following the traditional August recess, Congress returns to Capitol Hill with a full agenda and a short legislative calendar.
In regards to GCP priority items, expect to see the House introduce and move its version of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), called the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). The Senate has already passed its version and awaits the House’s action to conference the likely differences that will emerge between the two bills.
We used the Cleveland visit for the Build Up Greater Cleveland Annual Meeting by Congressmen Bill Shuster (R-PA-9) and Bob Gibbs (R-OH-7), key members of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, to advocate for our priorities to be included in this legislation. We continue to work with them and hope our Great Lakes initiatives will be included in the final version of the House’s bill.
Other items taking precedence
But before there is serious movement on on the WRRDA, the first item under consideration will be a resolution calling for action against Syria. We can expect a loud and possibly protracted fight on this resolution. Support and opposition is evenly divided on both sides of the aisle, and as of this writing, the outcome will be based on the level of pressure exerted by leaders in the Senate, the House, and in the White House.
This vote will need to be followed quickly by a vote for a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the federal government operating into the next fiscal year. Again, expect some verbal sparring, but leadership on both sides of the aisle want to avoid a government shutdown. While we expect to see an agreement on a short-term CR to continue funding to the end of the calendar year, reaching consensus on a debt limit increase may prove to be more difficult.
Possible House action on immigration bill?
On the immigration front, opinions vary as to if the multiple House pieces of this landmark legislation will get to the floor for a vote. The Senate already has passed a single bill. The likely timeframe for floor action would be in October.
However, this may be pushed back as Congress needs to also move to increase the nation’s debt ceiling, if such a measure is not included in the CR. No matter the outcome, GCP continues its support for passage of a comprehensive bill that will include the organization’s proposal to create “High Skilled Immigration Zones.”