Congress comes back Tuesday this week. The real work will be done off the floor as Congressional leaders continue to work on an end-of-year spending bill.
The debate is not just over spending levels and what gifts to special interests to cram into the end-of-year bill. But Congress is debating whether to pass a short-term spending resolution in order to allow President-elect Trump and the new Congress to pass the long-term spending bill early next year.
Of course, President Obama is unlikely to sign a short-term spending bill, but is it really so bad to have the government “shut down” for a little over a month? (Spoiler Alert: NO).
While negotiations go on over the spending bill, Congress will consider two conference reports. The first one is the 21st Century Cures Act. Fortunately, the bill does not contain the Creates Act.
However, there are still major concerns about the bill, many of which I highlighted in this blog post. The bill also creates a new billion dollar per year grant for states to fight opioid abuse. You can read more about Congress’ legislation on opioids here, here, and here.
The bill also incorporates the text of legislation creating new federal “mental health” programs. For more on that, see Michael Cannon’s “Do Conservatives only oppose big government health care schemes when proposed by Democrats?.”
Campaign for Liberty members should call their Representatives and tell them to oppose the CURES Act.
The second conference report is the National Defense Authorization Act. I will post more details on this as they become available.
Right now, the only thing I have heard is that this year’s NDAA authorizes as much as $9 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations.
The most significant is the Intelligence Authorization Act, which was placed on the House calendar before it even had a bill number. This bill reauthorizes American intelligence programs and authorizes funding for them.
Unfortunately, taxpayers are unable to know how much of their money is going to the intelligence agencies because those amounts are classified.
The intelligence bill also fans the flames of Cold War II with Russia.