The new 115th Congress will come together for the first time on January 3 and is expected to get to work on a 2017 budget resolution very quickly to provide the first budget reconciliation. The new Congress will be working around the Monday, January 16, Martin Luther King holiday followed later that week by the Friday Inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.
The reconciliation instruction is likely to call for a rapid repeal of the Affordable Care Act (see below). What other first month priorities should become clearer as we get closer to the Inauguration. Vice-President Elect Mike Pence is likely to be a key leader in drawing up a conservative agenda. January promises to be a very busy month with several controversial cabinet confirmation hearings, a budget resolution followed by a potential reconciliation all by the end of the month. Pence has said in interviews that they would seek to repeal the ACA, a small tax package and then a second tax cut package by the end of April.
A budget resolution could allow up to three reconciliations (which limits Senate debate to 50 hours and requires a majority vote) to separately deal with a tax cut, program cuts and an increase in the debt ceiling.
CWLA will begin a series of conference calls in the first week of January to both track developments in Washington as well as prepare for the 2017 CWLA Conference Advancing Excellence in Practice and Policy: Successful Strategies, March 29 through 31, 2017.