Capitol Hill Update

The House returned on December 2 and plans on adjourning for the year on December 13. Across the Hill, the Senate remains in recess and is slated to return next week, with an adjournment target of December 20. These different schedules leave only a few days when both bodies are in session to adopt legislation before the end of the year. There is little news on progress toward reaching a bipartisan agreement on a budget blueprint which would allocate pots of funding for the 12 appropriations subcommittees to use to make spending determinations for each program by January 15. House and Senate Budget Committee leadership face a December 13 due date to create a blueprint for the House and Senate to consider, but there are no legislative/fiscal penalty for not reaching an agreement by that time. That date is the same day that the House plans to leave town for the year. While there appears to be bipartisan agreement that a federal shutdown must be avoided by January 15 and the pending sequester cuts to defense and domestic programs be minimized, there is no clear legislative path to do so at this time.

On the child support front, a Senate bill to implement the Hague Treaty provisions remains pending in the Senate Finance Committee. That committee has slated one markup before the end of the year. At this point, the meeting will focus solely on legislation to reform the Medicare physician payment system in order to avoid a 24% cut in payments to doctors which would go into effect on January 1.

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