Weekly Washington Outlook — April 20, 2015

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What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

House:

On Tuesday, the House will consider legislation under suspension of the rules:

  • R. 471 – Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Tom Marino / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • 535 – Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • Con. Res. 21 – Authorizing the use of the Capitol Grounds for the Greater Washington Soap Box Derby (Sponsored by Rep. Steny Hoyer / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)
  • Con. Res. 25 – Authorizing the use of the Capitol Grounds for the National Peace Officers Memorial Service and the National Honor Guard and Pipe Band Exhibition (Sponsored by Rep. Lou Barletta / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

The House will also vote Tuesday on H.R. 1195 – Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Advisory Boards Act (Structured Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Robert Pittenger / Financial Services Committee).  The Rule calls for two amendments from Rep. Ann Kuster (D-NH).

The balance of the week, the House will consider two bills related to cybersecurity:

  • R. 1560 – Protecting Cyber Networks Act (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Devin Nunes / Permanent Select Intelligence Committee)
  • R. 1731 – National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act of 2015, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Michael McCaul / Homeland Security Committee)

Senate:

On Monday evening, the Senate will consider a judicial nomination. Later in the week, consideration of the stalled human trafficking bill will resume. If work on this bill is concluded, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will schedule a vote on Loretta Lynch to be Attorney General. If negotiators are unable to break the impasse, it is likely the Senate will instead move to legislation related to congressional review of the Iran nuclear agreement before sanctions are lifted.

White House:

On Monday, the president will host Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates for a working lunch at the White House to consult on a wide range of regional and bilateral issues.They will discuss joint efforts to counter ISIL and address violent extremism; the recent framework between the P5+1 and Iran to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon; cooperation with respect to Yemen; and how best to resolve the conflicts in Libya and Syria. In the afternoon, President Obama will welcome the Ohio State University Buckeyes football team to honor the team on winning the first ever College Football Playoff National Championship.

On Tuesday, President Obama will welcome Kevin Harvick and his Stewart-Haas Racing team members to the White House to honor his 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

On Wednesday, the president will attend meetings at the White House.

On Thursday, President Obama will welcome the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots to the White House to honor the team and their Super Bowl XLIX victory.

On Friday, the president will attend meetings at the White House.

On Saturday, the president and the first lady will attend the 2015 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.

Also This Week:

Nominations – It is possible Loretta Lynch may be confirmed by the Senate this week.  Senate negotiators are allegedly close to a resolution over controversial abortion language in a stalled human trafficking bill. If the Senate is able to complete work on this legislation, Loretta Lynch will be next on the schedule.

Education – The Senate HELP Committee passed its bipartisan ESEA reauthorization legislation, the Every Child Achieves Act, unanimously out of Committee last week. While the bill would require states to set rigorous college and career goals, maintain annual assessments, and include English Learners in their accountability systems, civil rights and business groups remain concerned that the accountability system is not strong enough. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) offered an amendment during the mark-up that would require states to intervene when schools were chronically under-performing or not serving particular subgroups.  This amendment was withdrawn but is likely to serve as the framework for trying to improve the bill as it moves to the floor at some point in May.

Immigration – The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Immigration and the National Interest will hold a hearing this week chaired by Senator Sessions (R-Ala.) “Eroding the Law and Diverting Taxpayer Resources: An Examination of the Administration’s Central American Minors Refugee/Parole Program.” Elsewhere, as Chairman Johnson (R-Wis.) of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee plans possible border security legislation in the coming weeks, he has scheduled a hearing on Wednesday “Securing the Border: Understanding Threats and Strategies for the Northern Border.”  Witnesses include representatives from CBP, ICE, the NY U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Budget – House and Senate budget conferees are scheduled to meet Monday to begin work reconciling the two budget resolutions.  Members must reach an agreement on the scope of reconciliations instructions, changes to entitlement programs, and the level of defense spending among other differences.  House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) has asked conferees to complete work in the next two weeks.

Appropriations – The House Appropriations Committee will vote on Wednesday on the 302(b) allocations for FY2016 appropriations bills. These allocations take the overall $1.1017 trillion top-line discretionary spending level and divide these funds amongst each of the 12 appropriations bills the committee must draft and move to the floor. The Labor-HHS-Education bill, one of the more contentious, will reportedly be cut by $3.7 billion in the House allocation. The Committee will also mark-up the Energy-Water Development and Military Construction-VA spending bills. Elsewhere, the Senate Appropriations Committee has a busy week of hearings scheduled.  Notably, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will appear before the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Subcommittee on Wednesday and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell will appear before the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee on Thursday.

Financial Services – The House will vote on legislation, H.R. 1195, which would establish three advisory boards within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). This bill passed 53-5 out of the Financial Services Committee. The Rule for floor consideration automatically amended the measure, however, to include language limiting the amount of money the CFPB could request from the Federal Reserve (the CFPB receives the majority of its funding from the Federal Reserve). A number of Democratic House members, including Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) oppose the change.

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