The Week Ahead: 4 – 10 February 2018

The Week Ahead: 4 – 10 February 2018

Nepal faces upper chamber elections. Another budget vote looms in the US Congress. All in The Week Ahead 

NEPAL: Members of National Assembly are selected

  • This Thursday, the upper house of Nepal’s legislature, the National Assembly, will be selected from representatives of individual state assemblies, village bodies, and elected mayors of major Nepalese municipalities in accordance with the 2015 constitution. This will be the first National Assembly since 2015.
  • Of the 59 members, each member is slated to serve 6-year terms, with 1/3 of the body to be replaced every 2 years. The members will be selected all at once this time, but will still have staggered terms. Given the current composition of both the House of Representatives and the state governments, the latter of which is heavily dominated by a coalition of communist and socialist parties, the upper chamber is likely to be left-leaning and thus unlikely to represent a major barrier to national governance.
  • However, the selection of the National Assembly could become a contentious point between the national and state governments. Members of the National Assembly will likely advocate for further powers for state governments, as members are drawn from state and local assemblies. In contrast, the House of Representatives will push for increased powers for the national government. This poses problems for passing a national budget, but the National Assembly can be overridden by the House of Representatives in a worst-case scenario.

GRI Take: In the short-term, the National Assembly will likely work in relative harmony with the House of Representatives, but questions over division of power between national and state governments might create obstacles to governance in the long-term.

UNITED STATES: Another budget vote looms in Congress

  • This Thursday marks another budget deadline. If Congress does not vote to pass a budget, the government will shut down. Neither chamber seems particularly close to resolving the immigration issue, even after the additional month extension given for that purpose.
  • Both houses appear to be struggling to get the votes necessary to pass the budget. On the House side, both Freedom Caucus Republicans and defense hawks are balking at yet another congressional resolution for funding (this will be the fifth this budgetary year). In the Senate, Democratic and Republican negotiators appear no closer to reaching a deal on immigration than they were before the government shutdown.

GRI Take: Despite the skepticism coming from both sides of the aisle, neither party is willing to stomach another shutdown, foreshadowing yet another Continuing Resolution (CR). In addition to being symptomatic of Washington’s deep gridlock, another CR would force Congress to deal with both the federal budget and the raising of the debt ceiling simultaneously in mid-March. With demands coming from Republicans in the House to radically reduce spending, the debt ceiling vote will likely be more contentious and more economically damaging than the budget vote.

Stay ahead of the news cycle with GRI. Drawing on expert knowledge and local sources, The Week Ahead provides analytical foresight on the consequences of key upcoming political developments.

This edition of The Week Ahead was produced by GRI Senior Analyst Brian Daigle and Senior Editor Luke Iott.

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