The U.S. Congress is set to return to Washington next week following its annual August break to a busy schedule.  With only a dozen legislative days free to work, the House and Senate’s tight schedule leaves little time to vote on a number of big issues, including raising the U.S. debt ceiling and keeping the government open.  The House will likely kick off the fall work period next week by considering a large omnibus funding bill that includes the remaining appropriations bills that weren’t passed this summer.  This includes the bills that fund U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Interior Department agencies, and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Members of Congress have already begun to file amendments to this bill in order to be ready for debate.  The full list of amendments can be found here.  A number of Great Lakes specific amendments have been filed by Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), including ones that focus on aquaculture and a nuclear waste repository in the Great Lakes basin. Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) has also filed an amendment to increase funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund by $250 million: the amount the House Appropriations Committee cut the program in the current  bill.  The House Rules Committee will meet on Tuesday to begin determining which amendments will be made in order for floor debate.

Debate on this large funding package could start as early as next Wednesday, although it isn’t yet clear whether there are enough votes to move forward. The Senate Appropriations Committee could begin considering its funding bill EPA/Interior the week of September 11.