Congress returns this week through the end of next month. Front and center will be the expiration of funding for the Department of Homeland Security. Funding will expire at the end of this month if the Congress can’t come up with a deal to extend it. The House bill would tie any funding to provisions that would overrule the President’s executive order on immigration. The Senate has not been able to get enough votes to overcome a filibuster and adopt the House measure and it is unclear if Congress will let funding run out or will pass a clean bill that the President would be willing to sign.
A court ruling last week froze the President’s actions on immigration reform. With Congress out of town it is unclear if that means members will let Homeland Security funding go through with the order at least delayed or whether members will be even more aggressive in stopping the presidential action. The President has argued that the more appropriate approach for Congress to address the executive order would be to pass an immigration package.
Once that debate is settled or at least delayed through temporary funding, Congress will then start to debate the FY 2016 budget. It should become clearer how the still new congressional leadership want to handle the budget resolution process. There are also several other issues that could become part of a major budget action including raising the debt ceiling which will come up sometime this spring, extending increased Medicare payments to doctors (the doc-fix) which expires at the end of March, and extending funding for transportation/highways which comes up at the end of May.
The Budget Resolution may offer a clue to the fate of the Social Services Block Grant SSBG.
CWLA has been conducting a series of conference calls to educate membership on its vital role not just for child welfare funding but other vital services.