Congressional leaders are still unsettled on a strategy for funding the government for the rest of FY 2015 but the House leadership has set a start date for the 114th Congress. Current year funding is running out on December 11, and while it was hoped Congress would adopt funding for the rest of the fiscal year which ends on September 30, there has been a reconsideration driven by the incoming congressional leadership. Republicans have been talking about a strategy to restrict the President’s ability to use his executive authority to extend protections to certain part of the undocumented immigrant population. Some members of the Senate, and particularly the House, have argued for not taking a government shutdown off the table while others have been asking whether or not they should propose a series short term funding bills that would have to be renewed by the new Congress as a possible tool to go after the President’s authority.
While the Senate and House leadership of Senator McConnell (R-KY) and Speaker Boehner (R-OH) have been mulling over their options, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced a calendar that has the new Congress starting on Tuesday, January 6, 2015. In a calendar that describes each week as either a “DC Work Week” or a “District Work Week” the House is scheduled to be in actual House session for 132 days which is a slight increase over this year’s total of 126 days. The summer break would start on Friday, July 31 running through Labor Day on September 7. The first session of the 114th is scheduled to finish on December 18.
The Congress is gone for the Thanksgiving week and will return shortly before current year funds run out. Members continued to finalize some of their leadership roles, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was officially selected by Democrats to continue in that role (inaccurately reported here as having taken place the week before). In addition it became clearer on some of the key Committee assignments with Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WS) having his way cleared to becoming the next chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, replacing the retiring David Camp (R-MI).