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October 2018

Whatever the election outcome, look for a wild lame-duck session of Congress…

Leaders of both parties are eyeing a contentious agenda for the lame-duck congressional session that will follow the mid-term elections, with government funding, President Trump’s proposed border wall, a raft of judicial nominees, more tax cuts and renewal of the farm bill heading the list of issues.

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The wall looms over everything as a possible “deal” is emerging…

Of all the legislative issues on the Republican agenda for the coming lame-duck session of Congress, an expected partisan brawl over funding President Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border looms over the proceedings.

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Tax Reform 2.0 is on the agenda for the lame-duck…

Senate Republicans will push for passage of a three-bill, House-passed package known as Tax Reform 2.0. It would make permanent the many temporary cuts in individual tax rates that were part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the major tax bill that was enacted last December.

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Battle over farm bill focuses on food stamps and subsidies…

The current farm bill expired on Oct. 1, ending many programs and putting others on hold while lawmakers seek a replacement bill or some form of extension.

At the center of the fight are provisions in the House-passed farm bill to tighten the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), popularly known as the food stamps program, by expanding work requirements for adult able-bodied recipients. At the same time, the House expanded subsidies for farmers.

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Criminal justice reform could be on Lame-duck agenda…

A compromise criminal justice reform bill could be passed in the lame-duck session, but only if it can overcome opposition from some Senate Republicans.

The pending proposal, called the First Step Act, is a House-passed bill that combines a prison reform bill with bipartisan proposals to reform mandatory minimum sentencing laws for nonviolent drug offenders. While President Trump has signaled his support for that plan, it is strongly opposed by conservative Republicans and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. .

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Protecting women against violence will be debated in the lame-duck session…

With the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) about to expire at the end of last month, Congress approved a temporary extension until Dec. 7 to avoid a potentially contentious debate just before the mid-term elections.

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Look for House leadership fights in both parties…

No matter who wins control of the House, you can expect leadership fights in both parties.

For Republicans, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, is favored to succeed retiring Speaker Paul Ryan, R-WI. But, he could face a tough challenge from Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-LA, or Jim Jordan, R-OH, the leader of the conservative Freedom Caucus. Observers say that the outcome may depend on how McCarthy manages House consideration of any deal for funding the border wall, which will divide his caucus during the lame-duck session.

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The House will be less male and less white than ever before…

Looking beyond the lame-duck session of Congress that will follow the mid-term elections, it appears that the House of Representatives which takes office in January will be less male and less white than at any time in its history.

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Footnotes…I look forward to hearing from you. Please let me know about issues of interest to you or questions you may want me to answer. There will always be room to include your comments. Please email me at gsgoldenberg@gmail.com with your comments or issues of interest.


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Gene Goldenberg

Gene Goldenberg has joined us in Washington, D.C., as a consultant on federal, legislative and public policy issues. Gene is an accomplished Washington professional with three decades of experience in business, government affairs, public relations and journalism.

Most recently, he has operated his own consulting business specializing in government affairs and business consulting for corporate and association clients. Prior to that, Gene served in senior management positions with Wolters Kluwer (CCH Tax and Accounting) and H&R Block, Inc. following an award-winning career as a Washington journalist with newspaper and magazine publishers.

In his corporate positions, Gene played a key role directing relations with numerous federal and state government agencies and twice has served as president of the leading association in the tax software and tax preparation industries. His many years managing business-to-business sales and marketing have given him a broad understanding of the problems and challenges facing small to medium sized companies.

His earlier journalism career included writing about Congress, the White House and numerous federal agencies for the Scripps-Howard Newspaper group as well as the Kiplinger Washington Letter and other business publications. Gene holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a master’s degree from Northwestern University.