• Fri. Nov 25th, 2022

Colorado congressmen want to get a lot done in a short amount of time. Here are their priorities.

The to-do list for the year-end convention is quite long. And Colorado congressmen are hoping some of their priorities will cross the finish line before the year-end deadline.

For Senator Michael Bennet, the priorities he wants to advance are two longstanding legislative goals: expanding the child tax credit and reaching a bipartisan agreement on an immigration law for farm workers.

“Sen. Bennet’s priorities for the lame duck include expanding the CTC and passing the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. Sen. Bennet has said multiple times that we should not introduce corporate tax breaks later this year without also extending the expanded child tax credit, and he will continue to work with his colleagues to find a way to do so,” the Bennet spokesman said. “Sens. Bennet and Crapo continue to work to introduce a Senate companion to the House-passed Farm Workforce Modernization Act, and Sen. Bennet believes it’s critical they get it across the finish line by the end of the year.”

While the Democrat-led House of Representatives passed the Farm Workers Act, outside groups do not expect immigration reform to show up in the forthcoming GOP-controlled House of Representatives. Many see these last few weeks as their best last chance to pass legislation.

Senator John Hickenlooper is also hoping to clear some legislative texts from his desk in the last few weeks.

“We are working to get a number of bills on the President’s desk. Protecting the endangered fish of the Colorado River, advancing SAFE Banking and our proposed legislation to reduce the threat of orbital debris are high on the list,” he said in a statement. “We are also urging to include more than $60 million in congressional-directed spending on projects across Colorado in the government funding bill.”

Outgoing Rep. Ed Perlmutter has also spent months focused on getting his SAFE banking bill through the Senate, and that will remain his top priority. The other two ensure funding remains intact for the relocation of US Geological Survey staff from the Colorado Federal Center to the School of Mines and wrap things up.

Other Colorado Democrats in the House of Representatives are hoping that two major bills, an omnibus budget bill and the annual defense policy bill, will serve as vehicles to advance their priorities.

Rep. Diana DeGette focuses on “Health Care and Combating Homelessness” in the final weeks of the 117th Congress. And she hopes passage of a government funding bill will include some of her proposed priorities for her district.

“She has a number of requests for funding for community projects focused on tackling homelessness, as well as some public health priorities that she hopes will soon be included in the year-end legislation,” said a DeGette spokesman.

While Colorado congressional Democrats have used earmarking returns to allow lawmakers to direct funding to specific projects in their district or state, state Republicans have not. It’s currently unclear whether Republicans will end earmarking when they take control of the House of Representatives next year. Over 115 Republicans have submitted requests for community project funding.

Republican Rep. Ken Buck saw that at least one priority in the lame duck session had already passed. His Speak Out Act passed the House of Representatives on Nov. 18 and awaits President Biden’s signature. He also saw an antitrust package being worked on with Rep. Joe Neguse pass the House in late September. That’s still awaiting Senate action.

“Rep. Buck will continue to advocate for all hardworking Colorado residents and will focus his legislative efforts on spending, border security, crime, expanding American energy and dominating big tech,” a Buck spokesman said.

Neguse also has a long list of issues he plans to address in the final weeks of the session.

According to a spokesman for his office, the Boulder-based Democrat “will prioritize his antitrust law, wildfire resilience, firefighter pay, water conservation and habitat protection for the remainder of the year.”

Rep. Jason Crow wants to make sure the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes its 25+ amendments. A Crow spokesman added that he is working to complete his Small Business Administration cyber intelligence bill and an Afghan SIV bill by the end of the year.

Also, one of GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn’s priorities is passage of the NDAA to “remove delays and restrictions” under a rolling resolution. But Lamborn said he was “not seeking any new changes or previous changes that have already been incorporated into the House of Representatives’ version of the NDAA.”

Like Crow, Lamborn included several changes in the bill, including developing hypersonic technology and funding the modernization of the nuclear triad.

“Also, I plan to continue to rally support for the two fentanyl laws I introduced, HR8968, the Child Protection from Fentanyl Act, and HR9221, the Bruce Act,” Lamborn said in a statement.

Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert did not respond to questions about year-end priorities.