Weekly Administration, Congressional, and Political Update

 

Election 2016

According to FiveThirtyEight modeling based on current polling, Clinton has continued to slide and is projected to receive 46.3% of the popular vote with Donald Trump receiving 44.4% and Libertarian Gary Johnson, 7.9%. NBC’s Lester Holt will moderate the first presidential debate between Clinton & Trump next Monday, September 26 at 9:00 PM EDT at Hofstra University. 

Delays Setting Up Last-Minute Scramble to Fund Government

Delays in nailing down the details of a must-pass plan to fund the federal government appear to be setting the stage for a last-minute scramble in the House and Senate to pass the measure and get it to President Barack Obama’s desk before current funds run out. After days of talks, congressional negotiators said they still were trying to resolve issues ranging from disaster aid to budget offsets, and said votes on the continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government now are likely to spill into the week of Sept. 26. The developments mean lawmakers likely will have less than five days to get it through both chambers and the White House by the Sept. 30 deadline.

“I’ll be safe by saying we’ll be here next week and probably well into next week,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) a member of the Senate Republican leadership team and the Appropriations panel that is crafting the details of the $1.1 billion Zika funding package that will be attached to the CR. Budget cuts to cover that funding have yet to be agreed upon, he said. Republican leaders in both chambers are anxious to take up and pass the new stopgap to prevent a new fiscal crisis when current funds expire at midnight Sept. 30. Action on the CR is needed because none of the 12 regular appropriations bills to fund the government have been finalized and sent to Obama’s desk.

Amid delays, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declined to say when the package will be seen and put to a vote, only saying that the Senate will “eventually pass” the CR and send it to the House. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) also said he can’t predict when the House will take up the stopgap. “It’s not there yet,” Ryan told reporters as negotiators met behind closed doors to hammer out the details. “I think this will get done this week. When the vote occurs, we’ll have to see because we have a three-day rule.”

Federal Autonomous-Car Guide Could Change States’ Approach

Federal regulators hope states will change draft policies for autonomous vehicles in light of new recommendations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Among other things, NHTSA suggests each state establish an automated safety technology committee to help lead policy efforts, as well as an application process for manufacturers seeking to test automated vehicles within the state.

NHTSA on Sept. 20 released model state policy along with recommendations for how auto manufacturers should assess the safety of autonomous vehicle technology (see related story in this issue). Though the documents are not legally binding, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said he hopes states will take cues from the recommendations which lay out the agency’s thinking on areas like information sharing, occupant protection, privacy and cybersecurity. Eight states—including California, Florida, Nevada and North Dakota—and the District of Columbia have already enacted autonomous vehicle laws that outline testing requirements.

John Zang, DMGS Ohio Contributed to This Report

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