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A Guide to the Fall 2017 Congressional Session

Justin Lyons

 

Charlotte, NC

Buckle up. Congress is back in session for what is expected to be an eventful session. Here are some resources to help you know what to expect.

The fall Congressional session kicked off yesterday with President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, leaving Congress on the hook to pass legislation to fix the system by early 2018. It’s one in a litany of legislative issues that Congress will tackle with lawmakers now back from the August recess.

The next few months will be the latest test of our lawmakers’ ability to effectively govern on behalf of the American people. Gulf Coast citizens eagerly await the federal government’s recovery support as they rebuild their lives and communities. A looming government shutdown could put federal employees out of work and halt critical operations that Americans rely upon, as we witnessed in 2013. What’s more, debates over the debt ceiling, tax reform, program reauthorizations and judicial appointments will heat up in the coming weeks.

Make no mistake, the stakes are high for both the 115th Congress and the White House, particularly since the two institutions have yet to pass any major legislation this year. A series of more ineffectual steps would prove deeply problematic if bipartisan agreements can’t be reached soon.

So where do we go from here? Check out these four articles that can help inform your perspectives on what our elected officials are facing during this busy month of September.

What It All Means:

Fox News: Congress returns to several pressing issues, with Harvey money, debt ceiling at forefront

Joseph Weber on the road ahead: “Leaders of the GOP-controlled House purportedly plan to vote Wednesday on a $7.9 billion Hurricane Harvey relief package separate from deciding on whether to raise the federal debt ceiling, setting up a potential White House showdown and adding another twist to what will be an action-packed next several weeks on Capitol Hill.”

In the Short-Term:

NPR: 6 Priorities Congress Has To Deal With In 12 Days

Susan Davis on how August sets up the next two weeks: “The racist protests in Charlottesville, Va., a historic hurricane in Texas, White House staff firings, the president picking fights with GOP leaders, a revived Afghanistan military strategy and a controversial presidential pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, each in their own way is testing the relationship, trust and expectations surrounding what President Trump and Congress can accomplish this year.”

Over the Next Month:

Washington Post: Everything Congress has to do in September, in one post

Elise Viebeck on how partisanship will affect deal-making: “None of these tasks are straightforward, no matter how common-sense it might seem to fund the government or approve money for disaster relief. Remember, Congress is beset by historic levels of polarization. Republicans and Democrats can’t agree. Republicans and Republicans can’t agree. Although the GOP holds majorities in both chambers, the power wielded by conservative hard-liners means party leaders are always at risk of losing control of their agenda.”

Other Issues In Play:

The Hill: Trump, Congress face packed September agenda

Jordain Carney reflects on the challenges at hand: “With a tight schedule and competing demands, leadership faces almost no room for error. And their task is being further complicated by the war of words between President Trump and a growing number of GOP lawmakers. The rhetorical bombs have kept long-simmering frustrations in the headlines ahead of the crucial stretch.”

No matter your political beliefs or party, all of us must demand a fair, transparent and honest representative government. As a nonpartisan platform, Change.org is where citizens like you can put aside the prospect of partisan victories to fight for the well-being of their family members, local communities and the nation at-large.

As I shared in mid-August, the Change.org community — with people from across the political spectrum — has stood up to hold both the Trump administration and this Congress accountable for their actions since the start of 2017. That work must continue in September with so many pressing issues on the table.

How will you continue to be involved in these important moments?

This article was originally published on Medium. We have obtained all rights from the author to republish this piece.

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