The changing of the guard in Congress has begun: out with the old, in with the new. As the GOP prepares to take a majority presence in both the House and Senate, one question looms: Are we in for even more gridlock moving forward?
It appears that much is on tap for the lame-duck session of Congress — the final year-end push to tap votes of exiting congressmen. The first priority will be passing a government funding bill, which can hopefully be resolved without shutting down the government. The most likely scenario is that Republicans will push for another short-term, stopgap resolution until after the New Year, when they can dominate the discussion.
Democrats would like to use the lame-duck session to revive expired tax breaks before year end and approve a backlog of presidential nominations.
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Lame-Duck Agenda Under Spotlight at White House Luncheon,” from MSNBC, Nov. 7, 2014.]
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Senate Gears Up for Packed Lame Duck Session,” from Daily KOS, Nov, 7, 2014.]
Before we move forward, the country may have to take a couple of steps back. The GOP has vehemently reiterated that it plans to repeal Obamacare — or at least certain aspects of the health care law. Although voters on both sides of the political fence have indicated they are more interested in legislation impacting jobs and the economy, the successful passage of the most comprehensive national health care reform on the books is an Obama legacy that Republicans would like to rewind before history is written.
The battle over passing the Keystone XL pipeline may prove less onerous and on-task with voter desires. The Canada-to-Texas pipeline is projected to produce 830,000 barrels of oil a day, yielding lower domestic energy costs and a new source of American jobs. While the jury is still out on the long-term environmental impact, President Obama has indicated he would sign off if it is proven the project will not substantially exacerbate the climate problem.
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Advocates Press Obama on Public Health,” from The Hill, Nov. 7, 2014.]
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “GOP Vows to Build Keystone, Repeal Obamacare” from MSNBC, Nov. 6, 2014.]
Other reasonably passable measures include trade agreements, tax extenders and tax reform — at least where corporate taxes are concerned.
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “GOP in Charge of the Senate, Eager to Move on Keystone XL, Taxes” from PBS, Nov. 6, 2014.]
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Tax Extenders on Tap for Lame-Duck Congress, Tax Reform Likely to Get Attention in 2015,” from CCH Group, Nov. 7, 2014.]
However, President Obama has indicated that, in lieu of a bipartisan immigration agreement, he plans to move forward with an executive order to reduce the number of deportations and grant work permits to millions of illegal immigrants in the U.S. Such an action is likely to inflame Republicans, which does not bode well for a bipartisan start to the New Year.
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Executive Actions on Immigration,” at the Department of Homeland Security, Nov. 24, 2014.]
Taxes, jobs, health care and economic growth: These hotly contested issues are more than just political ballyhoo. All relevant legislation that the upcoming 114th Congress passes has the potential to significantly impact our household finances in years to come. Please contact us if you would like to discuss retirement income strategies that can help address concerns you may have regarding any changes the future may hold.
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