Weekly Washington Outlook — May 26, 2015

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What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

House:

The House is in recess, returning the week of June 1.

Senate:

The Senate is in recess, returning Sunday, May 31, to continue consideration of legislation related to reauthorization of the Patriot Act, with some provisions set to expire Sunday at midnight.

White House:

On Monday, the president will host a breakfast in honor of Memorial Day. Veteran and Military Family Service Organizations and senior military leadership will be in attendance, as well as organizations that support the families of the fallen, including the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors; Gold Star Mothers; Gold Star Wives, Sons and Daughters in Touch. This breakfast in the State Dining Room is closed press.

Later in the morning, President Obama will travel to Arlington National Cemetery where he will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and deliver remarks. The wreath-laying as well as the president’s remarks are open to pre-credentialed media.

On Tuesday, the president will hold a bilateral meeting with NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg at the White House; the vice president will also attend. The leaders will discuss the impact of Russia’s actions on the European security environment, NATO’s evolving effort to meet challenges from the south, and the alliance’s ongoing Resolute Support Mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Security Forces. They will also assess allied progress on the defense investment targets agreed at Wales, and share their priorities for the next NATO Summit in 2016.

On Wednesday, President Obama will travel to the Miami, Florida area for DNC events. The President will remain overnight in Florida.

On Thursday, the president will visit the National Hurricane Center to receive the annual hurricane season outlook and preparedness briefing. Further details about President Obama’s travel to Florida will be made available in the coming days.

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

After Recess:

Education – Attention remains on the Senate as members prepare to take up the “Every Child Achieves Act,” a bipartisan ESEA reauthorization, in early June.  There has been some discussion on the Hill that the timing for bringing this bill to the floor could slip to July or even the fall.  However, HELP Committee Chairman Alexander anticipated the bill will come to the floor shortly, with senators able to offer amendments. The business and civil rights community is continuing to work to get support on both sides of the aisle for an amendment that would strengthen the accountability system in the bill.

Ex-Im – The charter for the Export-Import Bank expires June 30, and Senate Majority Leader McConnell said he would bring S. 819, a bipartisan reauthorization bill, to the floor for a vote. Senator Cantwell noted it could potentially be attached as an amendment to another piece of legislation. While the measure might pass in the Senate, its fate in the House is uncertain. House Republicans are split on whether to extend the bank’s lending authority or to let it lapse, with top Republicans opposing extension, including Financial Services Chairman Hensarling, Majority Whip Scalise and Ways & Means Chairman Ryan. House Democrats are expected to vote en bloc for extension, which President Obama also supports.

Data Collection – Majority Leader McConnell scheduled votes on Sunday evening to address expiring provisions of the Patriot Act. Before the Memorial Day recess, the Senate was unable to pass the USA Freedom Act, a House bill that would reform the NSA’s ability to collect phone records by a 57-42 vote. A proposed two-month stopgap extension also failed, 54-45. Efforts to enact even shorter extensions were thwarted by Republican Senator Paul, who objected under Senate procedural rules.

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