Congress returned after Labor Day for a busy September and acted quickly to avoid a government shutdown by passing stop-gap funding for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 and raising the debt ceiling. The already crowded congressional calendar was complicated even more with an imminent need to address natural disaster relief that continues to wreak havoc on the everyday lives of millions of American citizens—from nearly 1.5 million acres of wildfires burning in Western United States to devastation by hurricanes Harvey in Texas, Irma in Florida and Maria in Puerto Rico.
Republicans took another shot at health care reform, but failed in an attempt to pass the Graham-Cassidy bill. President Trump issued another executive order expanding his “travel ban.” Global diplomacy expanded as tensions rose with North Korea and with regard to ongoing trade discussions. Adding to the turmoil, retirement plans have been announced by members of Congress at a steady pace. The fall agenda will be dominated by tax reform as Republicans seek to pass a unified budget by the end of October and mark up President Trump’s tax reform package in November.