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Carl: December madness in Congress

While December is traditionally a busy month in Congress, this December is likely to be one of the busiest in recent years. For months, critical deadlines have been approaching, but the Democrat-controlled Congress has wasted time focusing on social issues and their ridiculous “Build Back Better” agenda, instead of doing its basic duties. As a result, Congress now has very little time to tackle some huge issues: Keeping the federal government funded, addressing the debt limit, and passing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The most immediate priority for Congress is government funding, which runs out this Friday. Without immediate action, the federal government will be facing a shutdown after Friday. At the time of this writing, we are expecting the House to vote this week on a temporary funding bill which would fund the federal government through the middle or end of January 2022. The bill has not yet been introduced, but I am expecting it to be introduced soon, with a vote expected soon after.

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has announced she has a “high degree of confidence” the federal government can continue paying its bills until December 15, but we do not know what the future looks like beyond that date. Experts say the Treasury can go until mid-January before we reach the debt limit, but the exact date is unknown. Additionally, there is not yet a plan in the House or the Senate to address the debt limit. Either way, this is not a sustainable way to run the federal government, and it’s time for Congress to use some common sense and do its job.

While Congress is navigating these two issues, we are also waiting on the Senate to pass its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Once this happens, both chambers can move forward with final passage for the president to sign into law. The NDAA, which sets the budget and expenditures for the Department of Defense, has been passed every year for more than six decades. Getting this done is absolutely critical for our national security, so Congress must act soon.

The House and Senate both have other issues to deal with while navigating government funding, addressing the debt limit, and passing the NDAA, so December is shaping up to be an incredibly important and busy month for Congress. Please know I will continue keeping you updated, and I will always keep your thoughts and concerns in mind when voting on critical issues like government funding, the debt ceiling, and funding our armed forces. As I frequently say, the federal government has a spending problem, not a revenue problem, so it’s way past time to get our spending and debt under control.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

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