Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions is trying a new strategy to get the Senate to pass a budget, saying lawmakers should not increase the debt ceiling until the Democrat-controlled chamber finally passes a spending plan.
Congress will have to address three critical fiscal issues that each have deadlines over the next two-to-three months -- the debt ceiling, automatic federal spending cuts known as sequestration and a budget resolution.
Federal law requires Congress to pass a budget plan every year. But while the Republican-controlled House has annually passed budgets, the Senate has not passed one since April 2009 --- making the Senate technically 1,350 days overdue. Congress instead operates on a series of short-term spending plans. The current resolution expires March 27.