A Busy September for Congress

President Donald Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, is set to announce Tuesday morning that the administration is ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program with a six-month delay. The popular Obama-era executive action provides legal status to some 800,000 people brought to the U.S. illegally, and was instituted during the 2012 campaign as Congress refused to budge on immigration-reform legislation. Trump’s action, reached after months of internal West Wing debate, fulfills a campaign pledge to end the program, but flies in the face of his comments to so-called Dreamers that they had nothing to fear from his administration and that he would treat them “with heart.” Caught between his core base and the mainstream of his party—and the country–Trump is effectively punting the ball to Congress, forcing lawmakers on Capitol Hill to act in the coming six months to maintain protections for DACA recipients. Trump admitted as much Tuesday in a tweet previewing the decision: “Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!” Sessions and Trump are expected to focus their arguments on the process by which Obama implemented DACA, rather than its popular effects. The program was the subject of a legal threat by conservative state attorneys general, who promised a lawsuit if action wasn’t taken to undermine the program by Sept. 5.

Now DACA adds to the mounting stack of items waiting on Congressional action. Congress must raise the debt limit and keep the government funded by the end of the month. Lawmakers must also approve billions in aid for Hurricane Harvey disaster relief, reauthorize the Children’s’ Health Insurance Program, the National Flood Insurance Program, and the FAA. All of that is before GOP lawmakers move to what they say is their priority for the fall: tax reform. Harvey’s devastation has highlighted the need to act swiftly—the House plans on voting this week—and lessened the odds of a…

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