Weekly Washington Outlook — November 23, 2015

U.S. Capitol

What to Watch This Week:


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The House is not in session, returning the week of November 30.


The Senate is not in session, returning the week of November 30.

White House:

While the White House did not release an official schedule this week, on Tuesday, the President will meet with French President Francois Hollande and give out the Medal of Honor. On Wednesday, the president will pardon a turkey and will depart for Paris on Sunday for a climate summit.

Also this Week:

Education – When the House and Senate return next week, action is expected on a bipartisan conference report reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, last rewritten as No Child Left Behind. The conference was approved by a committee of House and Senate members last week, and the final text should be available on November 30th. Details of the framework are available here. While the final legislative language will certainly reflect the bipartisan nature of the negotiations, frequently contentious over issues of accountability, federal role, and the spending formula, the framework for the agreement includes a number of positive provisions for English Learners.

Tax – The House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee this week will continue their negotiations over making certain business tax credits and expansions to the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit permanent. These credits were enhanced in 2009 as part of the stimulus, but these enhancements expire in 2017. An agreement could be reached as soon as next week.

Appropriations – When the House and Senate return next week, there will be just two weeks to pass a spending bill to fund the government beyond December 11. Earlier this fall both chambers passed a bipartisan budget framework that is a blueprint to what spending levels should look like. While this was thought to diminish the odds of a future shutdown significantly, renewed discussion of controversial policy riders related to Syrian refugees, the Dodd-Frank Act, public health, and other issues have brought this threat back into the fore.

Puerto Rico – Next week, Puerto Rican members of Congress including Reps. Velazquez (D-N.Y.) and Serrano (D-N.Y.) are assisting coordinate a Puerto Rico Day of Action on December 2. Members and advocates will ask Congress to act to help address Puerto Rico’s financial and humanitarian situation.