Weekly Washington Outlook — May 11, 2015

White House at Night

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

House:

The House returns from a week-long recess on Tuesday to consider H.R. 1732 – Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015, Rules Committee Print (Structured Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Shuster / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee).  The House will also vote Tuesday on legislation under suspension of the rules including:

  • 665 – Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act of 2015, (Sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin / Judiciary Committee) 
  • R. 606 – Don’t Tax Our Fallen Public Safety Heroes Act, (Sponsored by Rep. Erik Paulsen / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 2146 – Defending Public Safety Employees Retirement Act, (Sponsored by Rep. David Reichert / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 723 – Fallen Heroes Flag Act of 2015, (Sponsored by Rep. Peter King / House Administration Committee)

The balance of the week, the House will vote on the following:

  • R. 1735 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Mac Thornberry / Armed Services Committee)
  • R. 36 – Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks / Judiciary Committee)
  • R. 2048– USA FREEDOM Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner / Judiciary Committee)

The House may consider legislation relating to Congressional review of a nuclear agreement with Iran.

Senate:

On Monday evening, the Senate will take a roll call vote on S. Con. Res. 16, stating the policy of the U.S. regarding the release of U.S. citizens in Iran. On Tuesday, the Senate has scheduled a procedural vote on H.R. 1314, a vehicle to consider trade promotion authority so that the President can submit upcoming trade deals to Congress for a vote without any amendments.

White House:

On Monday, the president will deliver remarks at an event bringing together emerging entrepreneurs from across the United States and around the world  to highlight the importance of investing in women and young entrepreneurs to create innovative solutions to some of the world’s toughest challenges, including poverty, climate change, extremism, as well as access to education and healthcare. This event comes ahead of President’ Obama’s travel to this summer’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya and provides a unique opportunity to galvanize global attention on emerging entrepreneurs.

On Tuesday, the president will participate in a discussion with Robert Putnam, professor of public policy at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, at the Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit on Overcoming Poverty at Georgetown University. The discussion will be moderated by E.J. Dionne, Jr., Washington Post columnist and professor in Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy.

On Wednesday, President Obama will meet at the White House with King Salman of Saudi Arabia to build on their close consultations on a wide range of regional and bilateral issues. Later on Wednesday, the president will welcome leaders and delegations from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – to the White House. The gathering will be an opportunity to discuss ways to enhance our mutual partnership and deepen security cooperation.

On Thursday, the president will welcome the Gulf Cooperation Council leaders and delegations to Camp David to continue their discussions.

On Friday, President Obama will deliver remarks at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service at the Capitol.

Also This Week:

Immigration – The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday on securing the U.S.-Mexico border with additional fencing and technology. Elsewhere, immigration could surface as the House considers this year’s National Defense Reauthorization Act. The House Armed Services Committee adopted an amendment from Rep. Gallego (D-Ariz.) that would encourage the Pentagon to study allowing undocumented immigrants to join the military. Both Reps. Brooks (R-Ala.) and Gosar (R-Ariz.) have filed amendments to strip this language from the base bill on the floor, arguing that unless it is removed, passage of NDAA could be jeopardized.  Rep. Denham (R-Calif.) is also expected to push for a vote on his ENLIST Act; rather than a study, this language would simply let undocumented immigrants join the military to obtain status. This provision became controversial during last year’s NDAA consideration.

Trade – The Senate is scheduled to take a procedural vote to begin consideration of trade promotion authority. It is possible that support for this measure could be conditioned on whether related bills, such as Trade Adjustment Assistance, the reauthorization of Customs and Border Protection, among others, are included.

Appropriations – The House Appropriations Committee will mark-up the Transportation-HUD spending bill on Wednesday. The measure allocates $17.2 billion for transportation ($1 billion less than last year), and $42 billion for HUD ($1 billion more than last year).

Education – Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) wrote in his May memo that he still plans to bring H.R. 5, the “Student Success Act” to the floor in the coming weeks.  Without any Democratic support, however, the legislation is rumored to still be short of votes needed for passage. Acknowledging this, Education and Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) has recently signaled openness to a different legislative vehicle for passing legislation to rewrite ESEA. The Senate is likely to take up a bipartisan reauthorization bill in early June. The “Every Child Achieves Act,” which passed unanimously out of the HELP Committee earlier in April, still faces challenges from civil rights groups and others about what has been perceived as a weak accountability system.

Financial Services – The Senate Banking Committee had originally planned a mark-up on Thursday of an extensive bill to provide “regulatory relief” to financial services entities including small and regional banks, community banks, non-banks, and credit unions.  As a result of objections from Committee Democrats over a rushed process, the mark-up has been postponed to May 21st.  Elsewhere, the House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday “The Dodd-Frank Act and Regulatory Overreach.”

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