The number 12 has been an important number for this Congress. To start, they only have 12 months to accomplish what they need before much of the attention begins to focus on 2018 mid-term elections. Also, Congress returned from the August recess for 12 legislative days this month and coincidentally, here’s a list of the 12 policy fights Congress faces:
- Funding the Government: There are 12 separate funding bills that make up the appropriations process. Because Congress was unable to move them all through the House and Senate, a short-term continuing resolution has been agreed to through December.
- Raise the Debt Ceiling: The debt limit needs to be raised by September 29th to ensure that the Treasury can continue funding the obligations of the federal government. As of this writing, Congressional leadership agreed to a short-term increase and Congress will vote on the debt-ceiling again in December.
- Harvey Disaster Aid (and potentially Hurricane Irma relief): This is a top priority and there’s discussion about combining relief funding with the debt ceiling increase. Speaking of Harvey, an average hurricane season produces 12 named storms of which six become hurricanes.
- Health Care: Congress hasn’t given up on trying to reform, replace, or repeal the Affordable Care Act – something that they have voted on since it was enacted about a dozen (12) times, five times over.
- Tax Reform: There are many elements of tax reform on which the House, Senate and Administration don’t agree. The key players involved in negotiations are referred to as the “Bix Six” (that’s half of 12), and include: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Finance Chairman Orin Hatch, House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.
- Nominations and Confirmations: There are roughly 1,200 positions that require Senate confirmation including agency officials, judges, and ambassadors. Of the nearly 600 key executive branch nominations, only about 120 have been confirmed.
- Immigration Changes Including DACA: Per the recent announcement from the Attorney General, unless Congress can provide a fix, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children could face deportation as early as March.
- & 9. Defense Spending and Surveillance: As relations heat up with other countries around the world, both of these areas are a key focus.
- 11. & 12. Re-authorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the National Flood Insurance program: All of which expire at the end of
Lucky for you, there are at least 12 ways in which you can stay informed and connect with lawmakers about each of these issues including:
- Register for the GII Legislative Action to receive updates and information on how you can take action.
- 3), and 4) Phone, email, or use social media (Facebook or Twitter) to contact your lawmaker
- Speaking of Twitter, follow us @GoodwillCapHill.
- Attend a Town Hall.
- Request a meeting in the District or in Washington, DC. Click here to look up their contact information.
- Sign up for your lawmaker’s newsletter.
- Invite the lawmaker to tour your agency.
- Share your story with us! As Congress looks to make cuts to programs, tell us how federal programs have impacted your life.
- Share information about the work of your Goodwill with lawmakers on a regular basis (i.e. send them your newsletter, annual report, press releases, program participant success stories).
- Write blogs and submit letters to the editor about the impact that public policy can have on you.
Do you have another idea to suggest? Share it in the comments section below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.