Congress Still Faces FAA, Children's Health Deadlines After Deal

The big Hurricane Harvey-debt limit-spending deal that President Donald Trump struck with Senate Democrats omits two vital pieces of legislation that must be enacted by the end of the month: extensions of the Federal Aviation Administration’s authority to operate and of the Children’s Heath Insurance Program. 

Without congressional action by Sept. 30, the FAA would be unable to collect and use fees, while CHIP would no longer be able to provide insurance for an estimated 9 million children. The FAA is likely to get a simple extension in the coming weeks. The House first is attempting to pass a bill from Transportation Chairman Bill Shuster that would privatize air traffic control.

On health insurance, the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee said Thursday they are trying to craft a either a bipartisan long-term re-authorization of the program or a long-term extension. Chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah said senators are grappling with whether to continue a 23 percent increase in federal matching for the program provided under Obamacare.

Because the FAA and CHIP are considered "must-pass" this month, lawmakers may use the occasion to attach other unrelated items to them. One possibility is a bill aimed at stabilizing Obamacare insurance markets.

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