Congress To Fund Federal Govt. Through Dec. 16;  LIHEAP Receives $1 Billion

Congress Friday approved a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government through December 16 which will prevent a government shutdown when the new fiscal year begins at midnight on Friday, September 30. The President is expected to sign the bill.

In addition to federal disaster aid, the CR also includes $1 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance program (LIHEAP), a federal energy subsidy for individuals and families.

EMA supported the additional LIHEAP funding in the CR.

Earlier in the week, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) asked Senate leadership to remove his energy permitting reform language prior to a planned Senate vote, expediting the path for House and Senate passage amid bipartisan opposition to the proposal from Republicans and progressive Democrats.

Senator Manchin may now attempt to include his permitting reform language to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) or to future appropriations legislation after the midterm elections.

The House will adjourn for the month of October while Members of Congress campaign for reelection.

However, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has announced the Senate will likely reconvene in October to consider the NDAA and additional Biden Administration nominations.

Meanwhile, Members of Congress continue to introduce messaging legislation prior to the midterm elections.

This week, several House Democrats led by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) introduced legislation proposing a national “economic petroleum reserve.”

The legislation named the Buy Low and Sell High Act would empower the Department of Energy to sell up to 350 million barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve during high price periods to maximize profits and “combat high gasoline prices.”

The legislation also proposes to increase the capacity of the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve to 4 million barrels.

Notably, in March 2020, Senate Democrats stripped $3 billion in funding for Strategic Petroleum Reserve oil purchases from the CARES Act, proposed by President Trump during a period of low oil prices, calling it a “bailout” for the oil industry.

Congress may also act on several priority items in the lame-duck session between the midterm elections and January 2023.

A year-end tax package could include bipartisan priorities including new retirement measures, expansion of the Child Tax Credit or Earned Income Tax Credit, and extensions of Trump-era tax cuts.

There is also the possibility that the “Credit Card Competition Act” could hitch a ride onto must pass legislation before the end of the year.

Prior to December 16, the House and Senate are expected to negotiate annual spending bills for fiscal year 2023, though the substance of negotiations could depend on the results of the midterms.

If Republicans retake the House, it is expected that Republicans will postpone appropriations negotiations to the start of the next Congress.

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