January Outlook

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On January 17th legislators returned to Washington beginning the second session of the 112th Congress.  As legislators return a full agenda awaits with anticipation of the Administration’s 2013 budget request, a mandatory debt ceiling increase to allow for a $2.1 trillion in new spending, and the challenge of potential outcomes of sequestration cuts to the Fiscal Year 2013 agency budgets. The legislative calendar for the House & Senate will track more closely than in 2011, with most of the recesses scheduled to line up around long district work periods.

Under the August 2nd debt ceiling law, the President has to notify Congress when the debt comes within $100 billion of the current $15.194 trillion limit. The President formally notified Congress of the need to increase the debt in January. That action started a 15 day period for Congress to consider and vote on a joint resolution disapproving the increase. The vote is largely symbolic and intended to put House  lawmakers on the record concerning the debt limit because the Senate is unlikely to pass it and the Administration can veto any resolution of disapproval.

All eyes look towards the state of union address scheduled for next Tuesday before a joint session of Congress. The state of the union kicks off a schedule of hearings in the House & Senate Budget Committee’s which prescribe spending limitations for Appropriators to consider & maintain the rest of the year in mark up.

Hot Legislation:

  • P.L.112-30: House Surface Transportation Reauthorization bill expected to pass before President’s day.
  • S. 968: Stop Online Piracy Act, Senator Leahy of Judiciary scheduled a procedural vote for next week.
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