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Lawmakers Discuss What's Next

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Nearly a week after Congress voted to end the government shutdown, they are already looking ahead to the next budget deadline in December. Over the next couple months, the budget will be a top priority for many congressional members, but it's not the only thing they need to come to an agreement on.

With the shutdown over, lawmakers now have more time to discuss the budget and hopefully avoid another shutdown in the future.

"If we do a pox on all of our houses. I mean if in fact this happens again I don't know how people can really believe that the American public should have any confidence in their government," says Senator Heidi Heitkamp.

The new deadline set for congress to pass a budget will be coming up in December.

"On December 13th the budget committee has to report out a budget, the conference committee. The good news there is it's an up or down vote, no amendments," says Heitkamp.

The main issue behind not passing the budget in September was differences over whether amendments to de-fund or delay implementation of the President's healthcare act should have been added to the bill. This time around, Representative Kevin Cramer says they will likely be looking at the details of the law.

"Looking for areas of common ground in terms of fixing it, helping it to function perhaps a little bit better. Maybe dismantling it one piece at a time where it aught to be dismantled. I think were done throwing hail mary passes, I hope were going to go for some first downs now," says Cramer.

Another priority will be passing a farm bill. Both Cramer and Heitkamp say even that could also help with the budget concerns.

"Both the House and the Senate farm bills and certainly the reconciled one, has real savings in mandatory spending. That's something that's critical to the longer term negotiations on the budget side. So it could be that the timing is such that the farm bill will perhaps be our finest moment yet this year," says Cramer.

The conference committee, which Senator John Hoeven is on, will begin discussions next week.

This week, the House plans to discuss the water resource and development act. The Senate is in recess and will return next week.

 

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