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The 5 big hurdles on the GOP calendar

This is infrastructure week, according to the White House, which rolled out a series of ideas on Monday. But the problem is, it’s not clear exactly when the Senate will have health care week. Or the House or Senate get tax reform week.

A health care bill was supposed to get through the House and the Senate by mid-March. Instead, the House narrowly passed its bill in May, and the Senate is hoping to get a vote in before August. (Or maybe as early as July.)

That’s just one of the issues that will create a calendar crunch. Here are five legislative jams looming ahead for the GOP:

  1. Health care: Republicans now hope to have health care passed through the Senate by July 4, though they admit that’s a very ambitious timeline. But even if a bill gets a majority of the votes in the Senate, there are still big questions about how and if the Senate and House could agree on a final version. That would take several more weeks, or possibly even months. One important date to keep in mind in the health care fight: Sept. 30. Republicans must pass a bill by the end of the fiscal year in order to use the budget reconciliation process and also avoid a filibuster attempt by Democrats.
  2. Tax reform: The House hoped to have a tax bill ready for debate by now, putting a vote on the floor by July 4. Now all Republicans are hoping is to finalize legislation by July 4, and the most realistic expectation for a vote is sometime after August.
  3. Infrastructure: The White House may have focused on the issue this week. But infrastructure is not on Congress’ mental calendar yet. Instead, it’s more like a wish-list item that must wait in the wings until health care and tax reform are resolved.
  4. Debt ceiling: The nation’s debt level is quickly reaching its ceiling. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has warned Congress it may need to act before August.
  5. Funding government: And, yes, we are again within months of another government funding showdown. Current funding runs out Sept. 30, and many Republicans are hoping to enact spending cuts, which could complicate the process.

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