House leaves for the year with critical battles still on horizon

House leaves for the year with critical battles still on horizon

As the 117th United States Congress prepares to recess until after the November elections, there are a number of critical legislative battles that remain unresolved. From dealing with the pandemic to the continuing fiscal crisis to immigration reform, these issues will remain at the forefront when Congress reconvenes next year.

At the top of the list is the passage of a COVID-19 relief package. Negotiations between the Democratic-led House, Republican-led Senate and the White House have thus far been unable to reach a consensus, with no legislation making it to the floor of either chamber in September.. With the House set to recess for the year, the time needed to get such legislation enacted into law is quickly running out.

The continual enforcement of government spending caps, known as “sequestration”, remain in place as well, resulting in a fiscal crisis that only a comprehensive budget agreement can resolve. Without such an agreement, lines of communication between the three branches of government can remain shut off, preventing the ability to address potential environmental, economic or health crises with sufficient funding.

Finally, the immigration reform debate continues to be ongoing, with both the House and Senate holding hearings before the end of the year. Without a sense of urgency among lawmakers, however, comprehensive immigration reform remains unlikely.

As the political gridlock is in no hurry to abate, the fate of the issues discussed here, and the millions of individuals and organizations affected by them, hang in the balance until late 2021 when Congress reconvenes.