This week: Fiscal fights overshadowed by Syria

House and Senate votes on military action in Syria are suddenly overshadowing the fiscal fights expected to dominate Congress’s fall agenda.

President Obama’s request for military authorization on Syria will take center stage this week, even with lawmakers facing a government shutdown on Oct. 1 unless they can reach a deal on government spending. Only nine legislative days remain before that deadline.

House Republicans leaders plan to vote on a Syria resolution within the next two weeks, and are expecting a "robust debate," according to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

Congress also must raise the government’s borrowing limit by the middle of October, according to the Treasury Department, and congressional Republicans and the White House are busy positioning themselves for that fight.

House Republicans are eager to use the debt ceiling to extract major concessions on spending from Democrats, while the White House maintains it will negotiate over the borrowing limit.

Congress also will get back to work on a host of other issues.

The House Financial Services Committee is scheduled to receive testimony Thursday from Richard Cordray, the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Cordray will be delivering his semiannual report to Congress. The address was delayed after Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) refused to hear Cordray’s testimony before he was confirmed by the full Senate. Cordray served as a recess appointee before his confirmation in July.

The Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday will consider a pair of nominees. Wanda Felton has been nominated to serve as the first vice president of the Export-Import Bank, while Katherine O’Regan is Obama’s pick to be an assistant secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

On Thursday, Banking will wade further into the housing finance reform debate with a hearing on what essential pieces must be included in any overhaul package. A housing expert from the Center for American Progress and the head of SunTrust Mortgage will testify.

On Monday, Congress’s top tax-writers will continue their tax reform road tour with a visit to Memphis.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) will visit the headquarters of Federal Express to build their case for a broad overhaul of the corporate and individual tax code.

On Friday, Baucus will lead a group of trade ambassadors on a four-day tour of his home state.

He will be joined by representatives from Canada, China, Germany, Japan and Peru — a mix of countries participating in the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and U.S.-E.U. trade negotiations.

The tour also includes an economic summit with some of the nation's top business leaders, including the CEOs of Boeing, Facebook, Google, and Ford.


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