Important dates and deadlines for Congress in 2018
It’s the start of a new year — and with it comes some deadlines for funding that Congress needs to address, as well as some other Capitol Hill dates worth knowing.
As President Donald Trump enters his second year in the White House, he’s made clear his priorities for the new year, which Congress will have to decide on.
Here are some important dates for 2018:
Government shutdown? — Jan. 19
The Senate approved a short-term spending measure in late December to keep the government open through Jan. 19.
Along with funding the government for nearly a month, the bill included funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program through March and extended a government surveillance program for three weeks.
Negotiators have worked to strike a deal that would raise budget caps on defense and domestic programs and allow a bill to pass that would fund the government through September, the end of the fiscal year. If they can’t reach a deal on caps, government funding might have to limp forward on a series of stopgap measures to prevent a shutdown.
The Section 702 program — Jan. 19
The Section 702 program, first amended to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 2008 and reauthorized in 2012, allows intelligence agencies to legally monitor the emails and phone calls of foreign nationals outside of the US. It’s set to expire soon.
Through the continuing resolution passed by Congress in December, the program is funded until Jan. 19.
A handful of bills renewing the program have been proposed in the House and Senate, running the spectrum from a clean and permanent reauthorization to a four-year extension with significant reform.
Trump’s State of the Union — Jan. 30
Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address on Jan. 30, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced in November.
“I’m formally inviting President Trump to address a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, January 30, to report on the state of the union,” Ryan said. “We look forward to him accepting our invitation.”
The address will be Trump’s first speech to a full Congress since his joint address last year, a month after he was inaugurated. It’s typically when a President delivers a speech on the state of current affairs in the nation, as well as goals for the new year.
The former real estate developer plans to push Congress to back one of his top campaign pledges: spending billions to improve bridges, roads and other infrastructure projects across the country.
McConnell’s deadline for immigration — Jan. 31
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he will have the Senate vote on an immigration plan, but only if lawmakers can reach a bipartisan deal by the end of this month.
“There are bipartisan discussions in the Senate, involving the administration, about improving border security, interior enforcement and reforming important parts of our broken immigration system, including addressing the unlawfully established Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program,” McConnell said in a statement.
“If negotiators reach an agreement on these matters by the end of January, I will bring it to the Senate floor for a free-standing vote,” he said.
McConnell’s statement came after Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona had said he received a commitment for a vote on immigration.
Flake had been hesitant over the tax package, but in negotiations, he said one of his requirements had been a commitment to progress on a plan to provide a permanent legislative version of DACA, which Trump is ending.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — March 5
DACA was an executive action taken by President Barack Obama that allowed undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. under the age of 16 to apply for protection from deportation. After a background check, those individuals were able to get renewable two-year permits to work and study in the U.S. as well.
Since it went into effect in 2012, roughly 800,000 people have been protected by the program, and roughly 700,000 had active DACA protections in September, when the Trump administration announced DACA’s end.
To be eligible, applicants had to have arrived in the U.S. before age 16 and have lived there since June 15, 2007. They could not have been older than 30 when the Department of Homeland Security enacted the policy in 2012.
DHS set a date of March 5 for permits to begin expiring. All current permits will be honored until their individual two-year expiration dates.
To delay the effect of the termination, the administration offered a one-month window for all DACA holders whose permits expired before March 5 to apply for a renewal, though more than 20,000 of those eligible either didn’t apply or had their applications rejected.
CHIP funding patch — end of March
Congress is injecting nearly $3 billion into the Children’s Health Insurance Program to keep it funded through March. The money is included in the short-term government spending bill.
Though CHIP is popular on both sides of the political aisle, its funding ended September 30, the end of the fiscal year, and Congress has failed to reauthorize a long-term appropriation for it. States had started warning that children would lose their coverage if lawmakers didn’t act fast.
CHIP covers about 9 million children whose parents usually earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford private health coverage — typically no more than $62,000 for a family of four. The 20-year-old program cost about $15.6 billion in fiscal 2016, funded almost entirely by the federal government.