Political Update with Jeff Olson
Date Posted: January 15, 2013
by Jeff Olson, VP of Advocacy and Awareness
After a short recess, Congress is back at work this week.
Today and tomorrow, the House of Representatives will consider the emergency supplemental appropriations bill related to Super Storm Sandy. However, no votes are expected in the House after Wednesday at 3:30.
The Senate is not expected to meet this week. There are no relevant hearings scheduled in the House, except that the House Ways and Means Committee will hold its organizational meeting on Monday evening. On Thursday and Friday, the House Republican Caucus will hold its policy retreat.
Both chambers are expected to be in session next week following the inauguration of President Obama, although the agenda is expected to be light until the President delivers his State of the Union Address on February 12.
The big talk this week and the battle ahead is on raising - or not - the debt ceiling. In a letter sent to congressional leaders, Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner said that lawmakers have about a month to raise the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling and that the Treasury Department is close to exhausting its “extraordinary measures” to avoid default.
This while the President vowed that “we are not a nation of deadbeats” and by raising the ceiling, we will pay our bills.
Meanwhile, Republican leadership immediately responded by doubling down on their demands that spending cuts be attached to any ceiling hike.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) responded by saying that the White House and its allies “need to get serious about spending, and the debt-limit debate is the perfect time for it.” And Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) vowed that the House would pass legislation that will do both, increase the debt limit and cut spending.