Lame Duck Session Presents Challenges

Congress still has work to do. Despite passing two packages to fund parts of the government (including the Departments of Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Labor, and Veterans’ Affairs) before the elections, other departments and agencies still need to be funded before Dec. 7 to prevent a partial government shutdown. A potential stumbling block for Congress is the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Homeland Security bill, which includes funding for the border wall with Mexico. It remains to be seen how the election results impact negotiations between Republican and Democratic leaders. A priority for CDA is the passage of a FY 2019 Agriculture appropriations bill, which includes language to streamline and clarify the regulatory process for vaping products. The House version includes language supported by CDA while the Senate version is silent on the issue.

Other issues that Congress may try to tackle include coming to an agreement on a five-year Farm Bill and extending some tax breaks (known as “tax extenders”), including breaks for energy-efficient homes and a deduction for private mortgage insurance.