Washington Weekly – August 15, 2014

August 15, 2014

The House and Senate were in recess this week. The President was on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.

FY15 Appropriations

With the end of the fiscal year rapidly approaching and the House and Senate scheduled to be in session only 10 (House)/12 (Senate) days Congress may need to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government open after Sept 30. Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) still wants to attempt to pass an omnibus spending bill using the FY15 Military Construction-VA spending bill as the vehicle.

In the meantime, other lawmakers are contemplating a CR that would run through December 12. Since the bill is a “must-pass” bill, it could become a vehicle for other measures such as reauthorization of the EXIM Bank and the Internet Tax Freedom Act as well as emergency funding for the border and legislation targeting tax inversions.

Political Updates

The special Democratic Senate primary was held in Hawaii last Saturday but it is still too close to call. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) challenged Sen. Brian Schatz for the nomination. Schatz was appointed by Governor Neil Abercrombie to replace the late US senator and president pro tempore Daniel Inouye after his passing in 2012. Residents in two storm-ravaged precincts on the Big Island were not able to cast their ballots after a hurricane descended on Hawaii. The state’s Office of Elections decided on Monday to hold the special election for the two precincts today. Hanabusa filed suit claiming that residents in those two precincts are still without power, but a judge denied her request. Hanabusa currently trails Schatz by 1,635 votes.

In Minnesota, former state Rep. Tom Emmer defeated Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah in Tuesday’s GOP primary for the 6th Congressional District. Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) is retiring at the end of this Congress. Emmer is the favorite in the race in November as the seat is solidly Republican.

Next Week

The House and Senate are in recess until the week of September 8.

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