November 17, 2017 / 11:34 PM / a month ago

FACTBOX-From tax to budget, what's on U.S. Congress to-do list

 (Adds details on Alabama Senate election certification to Dec
21 entry)
    Nov 17 (Reuters) - The U.S. Congress is hurtling toward some
major tax, budget and other policy deadlines. Some are hard and
some are flexible, with the end of 2017 approaching. Here is the
Capitol Hill outlook for what promises to be a turbulent
November-December.
      
    WEEK OF NOV. 20: Except for the Nov. 23 Thanksgiving
holiday, Senate Republican staffers spend the week working on a
tax bill. The House of Representatives has approved its bill,
part of a tax overhaul push backed by President Donald Trump.
    Senate staffers must make their bill comply with procedural
rules allowing it to be approved by a simple majority of 51
votes. Otherwise it would need 60 votes, which would require the
support of eight Senate Democrats, an unlikely outcome.
    
    TUESDAY, NOV. 28: Senate reconvenes after a week-long
holiday break. Republicans could unveil their tax bill.
    
    THURSDAY, NOV. 30: Possible, although far from certain,
final Senate vote on tax bill.
    
    FRIDAY, DEC. 8: Expiration date for funding needed to keep
the U.S. government open. Congress has three choices: approve a
massive bill for more than $1 trillion to keep the government
operating through Sept. 30, 2018; pass a shorter extension of
current funding to buy more time; or fail to pass anything and
risk a partial government shutdown, stalling the tax effort.
    U.S. Treasury hits its limit on borrowing, but takes steps
to postpone any need for action by Congress, eliminating any
need for a debt limit increase in an end-of-year catch-all bill.
        
    TUESDAY, DEC. 12: Special U.S. Senate election in Alabama
pits Republican Roy Moore, a conservative firebrand accused of
sexual misconduct involving teen-age girls, against Democrat
Doug Jones. The election could mean trouble for the tax overhaul
effort. Moore, a critic of Senate Republican leader Mitch
McConnell, could cause turmoil if elected. A win by Jones would
shrink even more Republicans' narrow margin of Senate control,
which now stands at 52-48.
    
    THURSDAY, DEC. 14: House's last scheduled session of 2017. 
    
    FRIDAY, DEC. 15: Senate's last scheduled session of 2017.
    
    THURSDAY, DEC. 21: Seen by some as a possible date for
swearing in a new Alabama senator, which would create new
uncertainty for the Republican tax overhaul drive. But Alabama
officials say the election results will not be certified until
Dec. 26 at the earliest. With the Senate scheduled to be out
that week, no new senator could be sworn in until January. 
     
    FRIDAY, DEC. 22: The last weekday before Christmas, and a
potential deadline for sending tax legislation to Trump.
    
    DISASTER AID: On Nov. 17, the White House asked Congress to
approve $45 billion in more aid for disaster-hit Puerto Rico,
the Virgin Islands, Texas, Florida and other states. If
approved, as expected, aid would total nearly $96 billion.
Additional requests are expected.
    
    DREAMERS: Trump has threatened to end an Obama-era program
that helped "Dreamers," people brought illegally into the United
States when they were children. Trump gave Congress until early
March to come up with a replacement program, but Democrats and
some Republicans want to do this in December.
    
    CHIP: The Children's Health Insurance Program, which helps
millions of lower-income pregnant women and children, is running
out of money. Congress has struggled to approve a five-year
renewal for the program that normally enjoys bipartisan support.

 (Reporting by David Morgan and Richard Cowan; Editing by Kevin
Drawbaugh and James Dalgleish)
  

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