Before heading into their abbreviated August recess on Wednesday, the Senate cleared the Defense authorization for President Donald Trump's signature, approved a four-bill spending package that includes Interior, Financial Services, Agriculture and Transportation-HUD appropriations, extended the National Flood Insurance Program, agreed to conference with the House on the Farm Bill, and confirmed one circuit court and six district court judges. The Senate returns to session on August 15; the House returns September 4.
When they return, Senators will take up the confirmation of another circuit court nominee. A vote on Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, complicated by the production of documents from his prior government service, is unlikely to occur before the beginning of the court's next term on October 1 – perhaps shortening the Senate's recess just prior to the November election.
President Trump is complicating the outlook of whether he will choose to shut down the government next month. The prospects are very low Congress will approve the $25 billion in border wall spending the President demands before the 2019 fiscal year start October 1. Congressional leaders are pressing President Trump to delay any shutdown until the after the election, but he is being purposefully vague about his plans.
Immigration issues percolated in federal court last week as one judge ordered full reinstatement of deportation relief for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children and another assigned strict responsibility on the Trump Administration to reunite migrant children separated from parents.
As a consequence of tax cuts and spending increases enacted earlier this year, the Treasury Department expects to borrow $329 billion this quarter and $440 billion next, the most borrowing since the financial crisis in 2008.
The economy added 157,000 jobs in July, 90,000 fewer than in June, while the jobless rate dropped to 3.9 percent.
Like Congress, your Updates will recess until August 20.