Seven Big Items Congress Won't Get to This Fall

Here’s what definitely won’t come up before Election Day.

The Minimum Wage

A Renewed Push for Gun Control

The Federal Budget

With both parties wary of another government shutdown, members of Congress will likely pass a continuing resolution by Oct.1, the start of the next fiscal year, to keep the lights on in the federal government. The 10-week stopgap would put appropriations disagreements on hold until after Election Day, when voters would have a chance to punish lawmakers for any brinksmanship.

The Fate of the Export-Import Bank

The agency, which helps finance American trade overseas, has become a flash point for conservatives on the role of the government in business. Republicans such as Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, who believe the bank’s work makes it harder for small business to complete in the global economy, want Congress to let the bank’s authorization expire on Sept. 30. Others see it as an important component of trade policy. Because an intraparty feud isn’t the best way to showcase the GOP to voters, expect Congress to pass a short-term extension of the bank before debating the long-term viability of the program.

Campaign Finance Reform

After a dramatic Supreme Court ruling in April striking down limits on campaign contributions, Democrats (and some Republicans) have called for tighter campaign finance restrictions. A constitutional amendment initiated by Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., could seek more regulation by Congress and states over where and how much money pours into campaigns. Republicans have called the issue an election-year ploy, an attempt to motivate progressives to vote in November. In an editorial he wrote for Politico Magazine Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., accused Democrats of trying to “shut down the voices of their critics” in a “quixotic anti-speech gambit.” While action on the issue may be limited within the halls of Congress this fall, the fight will continue through the election -- another record-spending affair by most estimates.

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