Congress is attempting to wrap up key items on spending measures and tax extenders before the end of the year.
Congress must take action to either pass an omnibus spending bill or a continuing resolution (CR) by Dec. 11 to prevent a government shutdown, and there have been bi-partisan efforts to renew some of the expired tax provisions, including Sec. 179 and Bonus Depreciation, through a tax extenders package before the end of the year.
However, President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration has, by all accounts, complicated the bi-partisan negotiations made on these two initiatives and has frustrated those conversations going into the final weeks of the lame duck session. It remains unclear if Congress will approve a short-term CR, a broader omnibus spending bill, or a hybrid approach referred to as a “cromnibus” bill, which would keep the government funded through September 2015 and include a stopgap measure for the Department of Homeland Security to mitigate the President’s executive action on immigration. Both the omnibus and the “cromnibus” approach would allow Congress to include policy riders to address issues such as the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rulemaking, though the likelihood of that is far from certain. House Republican leaders hope that strategy, combined with a vote on legislation (H.R. 5759), introduced by Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), which would retroactively nullify the President’s executive order, would allow conservatives to vent over the immigration issue, while preventing a government shut-down.
Also in question is the scope and length of any tax extender agreement, which may only extend certain tax provisions through 2014; rather than the two-year or multi-year extension period initially negotiated.