5 things Congress needs to confront in 2018

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) – Congress will face several key legislative deadlines when they return from holiday break.

The items on Congress’s to-do list include government funding, Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) and disaster funding. The most pressing will be funding the government in order to avoid a government shutdown Jan. 19.

1. Short-term spending bill

The current short-term spending bill expires Jan. 19. Congress passed a continuing resolution Dec. 21, 2017 to keep the government funded into the New Year. The Congress uses “congressional resolution” to buy more time to address key legislative functions.

A congressional resolution is “legislation in the form of a joint resolution [requires approval of both chambers] enacted by Congress, when the new fiscal year is about to begin or has begun, to provide budget authority for federal agencies and programs to continue in operation until the regular appropriations acts are enacted, according to the Senate glossary.

However, when the Congress returns, they will have about two weeks to pass a bipartisan bill and avoid a government shutdown.

2. Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will receive funding through the end of March 2018. CHIP was signed into law in 1997 and is jointly funded by both the federal government and individual states.

In 2016, approximately 9 million people were enrolled in the program, according to the annual enrollment report on Medicaid.gov.

The program “provides low-cost health coverage to children in families provides low-cost health coverage to children in families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid. In some states, CHIP covers pregnant women. Each state offers CHIP coverage, and works closely with its state Medicaid program,” according to HeathCare.gov.

The website also says that CHIP covers “routine checkups, immunizations, doctor visits, prescriptions, dental and vision care, inpatient and outpatient hospital care, laboratory and X-ray services and emergency services.”

State health departments have already begun to notify families that funding could expire for the program in March.

Jimmy Kimmel gave an emotional opening statement on his show calling for support of the program.

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