September – Government Shutdowns & Constitutional Amendments

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  • Both Houses of Congress must take up the Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA).  However, leadership will decide which BBA comes to the floor for a vote, and the actual language of the measure is still unknown.  Many conservative proponents argue that Congress must send a strong and specific amendment to the states, while others assert that a ‘watered-down’ version is more likely to get the necessary votes from the Democrats.
  • The next government shutdown battle is on the horizon as the current budget expires at the end of our fiscal year — September 30.  Currently in summer recess, Congress will have about one month to settle the next ‘crisis’ by either passing a budget or yet another continuing resolution.  The Budget Control Act just ‘simplified’ the budget process; however, reports that Congress is not required to vote for continued government operations are false.
  • In September, the current extension of the bill to fund highways and public transportation will expire.   House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-FL) aims for a long-term extension which stays within the receipts of the Highway Trust Fund, and within the framework of the Ryan Budget.  If accomplished, this will eliminate the current mandates (i.e., bike paths, graffiti removal, etc.) and allow the states to decide on how the funds are used within their borders.