Republicans in the House and Senate are planning a to tackle a number of significant items in the coming weeks, even as the fall midterm elections loom.
According to a report from the Washington Examiner, ahead of elections “that usually slow down the congressional agenda,” lawmakers plan a votes on making the individual tax cuts permanent, adding a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, and on a bill to reform the food stamp program.
House and Senate committees on a dozen fiscal 2019 appropriations measures are also set to begin this spring.
From the Examiner: Republicans in both chambers are weighing whether to bring up a bill that would make permanent the individual tax rate cuts that are included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The bill permanently slashed the corporate rate to 21 percent, but the individual tax rate reductions expire after a decade.
The report continues: Texas Republicans Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady last week talked up the plan, which Brady has called a “phase two” of the GOP’s overall tax reform agenda.
While the bill would likely fail in the Senate, thanks to the filibuster rule requiring 60 votes, it would put Democrats in a painful political position before the November midterms.
Republicans in the House are also trying to fulfill a conservative promise by bringing a balanced budget amendment to the floor for a vote.
It’s not likely to pass because amending the Constitution requires two-thirds support instead of the typical majority. But it will give Republican lawmakers a chance to vote to rein in federal spending after approving the $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 spending bill that lifted federal caps by $300 billion.
Republican aides said they expect the vote next week and anticipate significant support from the GOP.
The House April agenda is also likely to include a significant battle over welfare reform.
The Republican-written legislation to reauthorize agriculture and federal nutrition programs, otherwise called the Farm Bill, is set for release this month, according to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas.
The bill includes significant reforms to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as food stamps.