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Opinion: Congress has limited time and a lot to do after Thanksgiving holiday

House Ways and Means Chair Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, center, is welcomed by House Republicans including from left, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., as they arrive to speak to the media following a vote on the GOP tax bill, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations.

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - Members of the House and the Senate are off for Thanksgiving. Once they are back, they have a lot of work to do.

There are only 12 days left on the legislative calendar for the House of Representatives and 15 working days left for the Senate.

Tax reform is the biggest item on the docket. Members of Congress gave themselves a deadline of passing a tax bill by the end of the year. The White House agrees with that timing, but there’s still a long way to go before anything ends up on the president’s desk.

I suspect that tax reform will get done but may be pushed into the first quarter of next year.

Here are some other agenda items that Congress has ahead of them:

  1. Passing a spending bill to keep the government running. The expiration date on the current resolution is December 8, so by that date Congress has to either pass a spending bill or another short-term continuing resolution.
  2. The Children’s Health Insurance Program has not been reauthorized and is now running out of money. Some states will be completely out of money in December. Congress needs to reauthorize the program so our children don’t suffer.
  3. Defense spending - an annual defense policy bill for 2018 is almost finalized. The president has requested more money for the Pentagon’s budget.

Here is the bottom line: as soon as Thanksgiving is over it is crunch time on several vital fronts. In order to get all of these important action items done, members of Congress need to work diligently, fast and together.

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