Los Angeles, CA - Fall is almost upon us. For many of us we will be eating pumpkin pies, smelling spices, looking at beautiful colors with an unusual amount of orange and red surrounding us as the beauty of spring and summer give way to a beauty that Autumn has all its own.
But in Washington DC, it will not be sugar and spice and everything nice. Just the opposite, in fact. In exactly one month from now, the US Government will shut down if Obama and the Republicans in congress cannot get their act together and end the funding of the extremist far-left group Planned Parenthood.
In October, Hillary Clinton will testify before congress on Benghazi, and of course, her email controversy. That should cause firestorms and excitement not only in the District but also across the country and around the world, although Hillary is unlikely to suddenly reveal something that either silences critics or turns off her base. However, what is possible is that, while what Clinton says is not likely to be super exciting, the ways she says it, (i.e. if she blows up at Gowdy, starts screaming, etc.) could really make some headlines.
And coming soon, although the vote will take place before fall actually starts, is the final battle over the Iran Nuclear Deal. Although the vote must take place by the seventeenth of this month, the battle could well last into Autumn as, if enough Democratic Senators jump ship from the president that a filibuster is unable to be upheld on the floor of the senate, the president will of course veto it, setting up a potentially close vote to overturn the veto, although, in the senate at least, it unlikely that that will happen.
As if the government shutting down and Clinton being investigated were not exciting enough, all of this happens against the backdrop of the ongoing race for the White House, more GOP debates, and the start of the Democratic debates, none of which have direct influences of congress, but members on both sides will certainly be aware of what the talking heads of their party are saying, and which candidates are getting support for their rhetoric, all of which congress men and women will be filing away for their own upcoming reelection races.
There is some real, nonpartisan business that also need to get done. In July a stopgap funding bill of three months duration was passed on the highway bill. A new measure will have to be passed, although it does seem possible that an amendment could also be added to that to defund Planned Parenthood, causing even the seemingly innocuous act of making sure the roads we drive on are repaired a major Washington showdown.
Foreign guests will also be coming, the communist and authoritarian head of China, and the pope.
Further excitement on capitol hill will also include the final up-or-down vote on the president’s free trade agreement. Republicans seem likely to back it, while Democrats, who were against fast-track authority, seem unlikely to be able to keep it from passing.
And another important thing about this fall is that it is Obama’s last as a president with real power. By this time next year his cabinet will be busy resigning, Obama will be a lame duck president, and the news coverage will be all about the two people fighting to succeed him at 1600 Pennsylvania.
This is the president’s last chance to get kicks in, and get them in he will, if he has anything to say about it.
Andrew C. Abbott