Weekly Washington Outlook — May 2, 2016

US Supreme Court 1935 Washington, DC, USA

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

House:

The House is in recess this week, returning May 10.

Senate:

The Senate is in recess this week, returning May 9.

White House:

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

On Tuesday, President Obama will honor the 2016 National Teacher of the Year and finalists at the White House, thanking them for their hard work and dedication each and every day in the classroom.

On Wednesday, the president will travel to Flint, Mich. to the hear first-hand from Flint residents about the public health crisis, receive an in-person briefing on the federal efforts in place to help respond to the needs of the people of Flint, and deliver remarks to community members. In the evening, President Obama will deliver remarks at the Asian Pacific American Institute of Congressional Studies 22nd annual awards gala dinner.

On Thursday, the [resident will host a Cinco de Mayo reception at the White House. In the afternoon, President Obama will be joined by the vice president, first lady and Dr. Biden to kick off the 5th anniversary of Joining Forces and the 75th anniversary of the USO. The event, A Celebration of Service, will include nearly 1,500 service members and their families.

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

On Saturday, President Obama will deliver the commencement address to the 2016 graduating class of Howard University in Washington. As one of the nation’s top Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Howard University is recognized for its rigorous education and legacy of building lasting bridges of opportunity for young people.

Next Week:

Puerto Rico – Puerto Rico will default this week on a $422 million bond payment, yet Congress recessed for the week without advancing legislation to address the island’s financial and humanitarian crisis. Last week, Majority Leader McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters he expects action by July, when Puerto Rico will owe another significant debt payment.  House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) also said last week that he plans to make public a new draft of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) when the House returns next week. The updated version likely makes additional changes to the scope and authority of the oversight board, and could change some of the debt restructuring provisions based on technical assistance from the Treasury Department. It is not yet known, however, if these changes will be enough to garner support from either side of the aisle.

Nutrition – When the House returns, it is possible the House Education and Workforce Committee could hold a mark-up on its version of a child nutrition reauthorization. In its current form, the bill would significantly increase verification of school meal programs and undermines the Administration’s nutrition guidelines. A bipartisan Senate reauthorization was approved in the Senate Agriculture Committee earlier this year.  A mark-up had been tentatively scheduled earlier in April but this was postponed.

Tax – The House Ways and Means Committee plans to hold a “member day,” when the House returns from recess.  Any House member is invited to testify before the Committee about tax legislation they have sponsored or co-sponsored.

Appropriations  – The Senate attempted last week to advance its first appropriations bill of the year, the spending bill for Energy and Water programs. This stalled twice over a poison pill amendment that would block the nuclear agreement with Iran. It is not clear how the Senate will move forward, or what this entails for the other 11 spending bills Senator McConnell (R-Ky.) has committed to bring to the floor. In the House, Leadership has said they will begin with votes on the Military Construction – Veterans Affairs bill the week of May 15. Fights over emergency funding for Flint, Mich. and the Zika virus are expected, among other issues.

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