Photo by DonkeyHotey, courtesy of Flickr
Congress’ now annual cram session, where they pass the federal budget in such last-minute fashion that it’s virtually impossible for anyone to actually read the whole thing, is in full swing. With only four days left to pass a budget before a government shutdown, the pressure is on.
Here are a few of the major pieces we’ll be keeping an eye on:
- $1.1 trillion, or shutdown: Instead of taking months to carefully plot expenses through the series of 12 appropriations bills that are supposed to make up the federal budget, Congress is now trying to pass a “cromnibus” bill that would fund most of the government for the rest of the fiscal year. If they fail to pass a budget by Friday, the government will shut down. Read more.
- $42 billion for tax breaks: The estimated value of “tax extenders” for tax year 2014 that Congress may or may not act on before they leave Washington, DC for the holidays. Read more.
- $585 billion in defense spending: The National Defense Authorization Act contains funding for ISIS, Ebola, and controversial funding for air and weapons systems like the F-35 and A-10.
This is a lot of money to commit in a whirlwind process with so little transparency that even lawmakers don’t have time to read and understand the bills they’re voting on. We’ll keep you updated throughout the week on any progress, and any surprises that pop up.