Weekly Washington Outlook — May 9, 2016

U.S. Capitol 1793-1863 Washington, DC, USA

U.S. Capitol 1793-1863 Washington, DC, USA

 What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

House:

The House returns from its recess on Tuesday and will consider the following legislation under suspension of the rules:

  • 2755– Fallen Heroes Flag Act of 2016, as amended (Sponsored by Sen. Roy Blunt / House Administration Committee)
  • R. 4063– Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act, as amended(Sponsored by Rep. Gus Bilirakis / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)
  • R. 4957– To designate the Federal building located at 99 New York Avenue, N.E., in the District of Columbia as the “Ariel Rios Federal Building” (Sponsored by Rep. Andre Carson / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)
  • R. 4985– Kingpin Designation Improvement Act of 2016(Sponsored by Rep. John Katko / Foreign Affairs Committee)
  • 32– Transnational Drug Trafficking Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein / Judiciary Committee)
  • R. 5048– Good Samaritan Assessment Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Frank Guinta / Judiciary Committee)
  • R. 5052– OPEN Act (Sponsored by Rep. Kevin McCarthy / Judiciary Committee)
  • 125– Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program Reauthorization Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy / Judiciary Committee)
  • R. 2137– Federal Law Enforcement Self-Defense and Protection Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Doug Collins / Judiciary Committee)
  • R. 3209– Recovering Missing Children Act (Sponsored by Rep. Erik Paulsen / Ways and Means Committee)

On Wednesday, the House will also vote on legislation under suspension of the rules:

  • R. 4843– Infant Plan of Safe Care Improvement Act (Sponsored by Rep. Lou Barletta / Education and the Workforce Committee)
  • R. 4978– NAS Healthy Babies Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Evan Jenkins / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 3680– Co-Prescribing to Reduce Overdoses Act of 2016, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. John Sarbanes / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 3691– Improving Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Ben Ray Lujan / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 1818– Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Adam Kinzinger / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 4969– John Thomas Decker Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Pat Meehan / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 4586– Lali’s Law (Sponsored by Rep. Bob Dold / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 4599– Reducing Unused Medications Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Katherine Clark / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 4976– Opioid Review Modernization Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 4982– Examining Opioid Treatment Infrastructure Act of 2016(Sponsored by Rep. Bill Foster / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 4981– Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Expansion and Modernization Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Larry Bucshon / Energy and Commerce Committee)

In addition, the House will vote Wednesday on H.R. 4641, legislation to provide for the establishment of an inter-agency task force to review, modify, and update best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication, and for other purposes (Subject to a Rule)(Sponsored by Rep. Susan Brooks / Energy and Commerce Committee)

On Thursday and Friday the House will vote on the following:

  • R. 5046– Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act of 2016, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner / Judiciary Committee)
  • Consideration of House Amendment to S. 524 – Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016
  • Motion to go to Conference on S. 524, and Possible Democrat Motion to Instruct Conferees

Senate:

The Senate returns from its recess on Monday and will resume consideration of the Energy and Water appropriations bill.  A vote on a substitute amendment to the legislation is scheduled for Monday evening.  Later in the week, Senator McConnell (R-KY) may schedule a procedural vote on a “minibus,” combining spending bills for Transportation-Housing and Urban Development and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs.
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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.

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Weekly Washington Outlook — March 21, 2016

US Supreme Court

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

House:

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

  • R. 1670– National POW/MIA Remembrance Act of 2015(Sponsored by Rep. Stephen Lynch / House Administration Committee)
  • House Amendment to 192 – Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2016, as amended (Sponsored by Sen. Lamar Alexander / Education and Workforce Committee)
  • R. 4314– Counterterrorism Screening and Assistance Act of 2016, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Lee Zeldin / Foreign Affairs Committee)
  • 2393– Foreclosure Relief and Extension for Servicemembers Act of 2015(Sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)
  • Concur in the Senate Amendment to R. 4721 – Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Shuster / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)
  • 1180– Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Modernization Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Sen. Ron Johnson / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

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

  • R. 4742– Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act(Sponsored by Rep. Elizabeth Esty / Science, Space, and Technology Committee)
  • R. 4755– Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act (Sponsored by Rep. Barbara Comstock / Science, Space, and Technology Committee)
  • R. 482– Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park Boundary Revision Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Sanford Bishop / Natural Resources Committee)
  • R. 2857– To facilitate the addition of park administration at the Coltsville National Historical Park, and for other purposes(Sponsored by Rep. John Larson / Natural Resources Committee)
  • R. 4119– Gulf Islands National Seashore Land Exchange Act of 2016(Sponsored by Rep. Steven Palazzo / Natural Resources Committee)
  • R. 4472– Modernizing the Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act (Sponsored by Rep. Todd Young / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 4336– Women Airforce Service Pilot Arlington Inurnment Restoration Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Martha McSally / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)

On Wednesday and the balance of the week, the House will consider the following:

  • R. 2745– SMARTER Act (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Blake Farenthold / Judiciary Committee)

 Senate:

The Senate is in recess this week and next, returning Monday, April 4.

White House:

The president will spend this week in Cuba. On Monday, he will participate in an official state visit, including a bilateral meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro and a state dinner. President Obama plans to address the Cuban people directly in a speech on Tuesday, and is also expected to meet with dissidents and watch an exhibition baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National team. More details on the president’s trip can be found here.

Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday in two cases related to the Puerto Rican debt crisis: Puerto Rico v. Franklin California Tax-Free Trust and Acosta-Febo v. Franklin California Tax-Free Trust. The cases concern a measure passed by the Puerto Rican legislature in 2014, known as the Recovery Act, which allows the island’s utilities to restructure debt under local law. Tuesday’s arguments will affect more than $20 billion owed by the Commonwealth’s utilities, including $9 billion owed by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA). A decision upholding Puerto Rico’s restructuring measure could give the island negotiating power to address a larger portion of its $70 billion debt. The case could be heard by as few as seven justices; in addition to the vacancy of the late Antonin Scalia, Justice Samuel Alito may have to recuse himself due to a financial conflict of interest. For more information, see a Bloomberg analysis of the cases.

Also this Week:

Budget/Appropriations – Members of the Cabinet will continue to appear on Capitol Hill this week to make their budget requests to start the annual appropriations process. Among these, Education Secretary John King is scheduled to testify Tuesday before the House Appropriations Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee.  This week’s appropriations hearings come as the House continues to find a path forward on passage of a budget resolution.  Budget Committee Tom Price (R-Ga.) advanced a budget last week out of Committee, but its prospects on the floor remain uncertain due to opposition over spending levels from conservative lawmakers.  House Leadership is expected to meet this week with members of the Freedom Caucus to determine how or if to move forward.  Several Committees have been tasked with identifying spending cuts to entitlement and other mandatory programs to help garner additional support for the budget, but the prospect for this legislation is similarly linked to the budget resolution.  House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) announced, however, that he would move forward with drafting appropriations bills regardless of the outcome of the budget resolution.

Immigration: The House Homeland Security Committee plans a mark-up Wednesday of H.R. 4482, the Southwest Border Security Threat Assessment Act of 2016. The bill calls for the Homeland Security Department to conduct a Southwest border threat assessment, and for legislation with a focus on deterring terrorist recruitment.

Education: This week, the Department of Education will convene negotiators as part of its “negotiated rulemaking” process to begin implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act.  Negotiators were nominated by a wide cross-section of stakeholders and represent the interests of teachers, administrators, and the civil rights community, among others.  They will address issues relating to assessment and a “supplement not supplant” requirement for federal funds.  The Education Department released materials earlier this month to kick off discussions.

Tax – The House Ways and Means Tax Policy Subcommittee will hear proposals from Committee members on Tuesday about tax reform.  The hearing will likely focus on sales and excise taxes.

Housing – The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance will convene a hearing Tuesday on “The Future of Housing in America: Government Regulations and the High Cost of Housing.”

Weekly Washington Outlook — March 14, 2016

White House at Night

What to Watch This Week: 

Congress:

House:

On Monday, the House will vote on legislation under suspension of the rules:

  • R. 2984– Fair RATES Act (Sponsored by Rep. Joe Kennedy / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 1268– Energy Efficient Government Technology Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Anna Eshoo / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 4427– To amend section 203 of the Federal Power Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Mike Pompeo / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 2080– To reinstate and extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project involving Clark Canyon Dam (Sponsored by Rep. Ryan Zinke / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 2081– To extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project involving the Gibson Dam(Sponsored by Rep. Ryan Zinke / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 3447– To extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Virginia Foxx / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 4416– To extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project (Sponsored by Rep. David McKinley / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 4434– To extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project (Sponsored by Rep. Chris Gibson / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 4411– To extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project (Sponsored by Rep. Morgan Griffith / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • R. 4412– To extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project (Sponsored by Rep. Morgan Griffith / Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • Con. Res. 121– Expressing the sense of the Congress condemning the gross violations of international law amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Government of Syria, its allies, and other parties to the conflict in Syria, and asking the President to direct his Ambassador at the United Nations to promote the establishment of a war crimes tribunal where these crimes could be addressed, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith / Foreign Affairs Committee)
  • Con. Res. 75– Expressing the sense of Congress that the atrocities perpetrated by ISIL against religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria include war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry / Foreign Affairs Committee)
  • 2426– To direct the Secretary of State to develop a strategy to obtain observer status for Taiwan in the International Criminal Police Organization, and for other purposes (Sponsored by Sen. Cory Gardner / Foreign Affairs Committee)
  • R. 4721– To amend title 49, United States Code, to extend authorizations for the airport improvement program, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend the funding and expenditure authority of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, and for other purposes (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Shuster / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

On Tuesday the House will vote on legislation under suspension of the rules:

  • R. 3797– SENSE Act (Sponsored by Rep. Keith Rothfus / Energy and Committee Committee)

On Wednesday and the balance of the week, the House will consider the following:

  • R. 4596– Small Business Broadband Deployment Act (Sponsored by Rep. Greg Walden / Energy and Committee Committee)
  • H. R ____– Authorizing the Speaker to appear as amicus curiae on behalf of the House of Representatives in the matter of United States, et al. v. Texas, et al. (Sponsored by Rep. Paul Ryan / Rules Committee)

Senate:

On Monday, the Senate will consider the nomination of Dr. John B. King, of New York, to be Secretary of Education. The Senate may also vote on final passage of energy legislation S. 2012. The measure has been stalled as Senators seek a path forward on an amendment that would assist municipalities such as Flint, Michigan, clean up tainted drinking water supplies.

White House:

On Monday, the president will visit the State Department to deliver remarks at the Chief of Missions Conference. Afterwards, he will deliver brief opening remarks to the performance of musical selections from HAMILTON. This will be a culmination of a daylong event hosted by the first lady for students with the Broadway cast of HAMILTON.

On Tuesday, the president will hold a bilateral meeting with Taoiseach Kenny of Ireland.  Afterwards, President Obama and Vice President Biden will travel to the U.S. Capitol for the Friends of Ireland Luncheon. Later on, the president will deliver remarks at a reception for St. Patrick’s Day at the White House.

On Wednesday, the president will deliver remarks a reception for Women’s History Month at the White House.

On Thursday and Friday, President Obama will attend meetings at the White House.

Also this Week:

Budget/Appropriations – Members of the Cabinet will continue to appear on Capitol Hill this week to make their budget requests to start the annual appropriations process. Among these, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell is scheduled to testify Tuesday before the House Education and Workforce Committee; Labor Secretary Thomas Perez is scheduled to appear before the House Education and Workforce Committee on Wednesday and the HHS-Education Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday; and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is scheduled to appear before the State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee Tuesday. These hearings come as the House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) seeks a path forward on a budget resolution.  It is possible that the Committee could approve a draft as soon as this week, despite objections from some conservative members over spending levels. These objections are being addressed through “sidecar” legislation that would make deep cuts to mandatory spending programs. This legislation would be taken up separately from the budget resolution. The House Ways and Means Committee and Energy and Commerce Committee are advancing separate pieces this week.

Tax – The House Ways and Means Committee will mark-up legislation this week as part of its portion of the “sidecar” to the budget resolution. Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) announced last week that this will include a provision requiring a Social Security Number to claim the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit. Democrats on the Committee are widely expected to strongly oppose: the legislation would deny roughly 4 million U.S. citizen children the credit and roughly 85 percent of the children impacted are Latino.

Immigration – This week, the House will vote on a resolution to file an amicus brief in support of Texas and other states in litigation opposing DAPA. Oral arguments in the case have been scheduled for mid-April. Related, the House Judiciary Committee’s Task Force on Executive Overreach, led by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), will hold its first immigration-related hearing on Tuesday. Elsewhere, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow on the security of U.S. visa programs. David Donahue, principal deputy assistant secretary for consular affairs at the State Department, Leon Rodriguez, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Sarah Saldana, director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Department of Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth are expected to testify.

Finance – The House Financial Services Committee will hold an oversight hearing Wednesday featuring the Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The hearing comes as the CFPB finalizes a rule surrounding payday lending, which is expected to require lenders verify a potential borrower’s ability to repay a loan prior to underwriting.

Health – The House Energy and Commerce Committee will consider legislation as part of the “sidecar” to a budget resolution that would seek to allow more lottery winnings to be counted as income for the purposes of determining Medicaid eligibility, would reduce Medicaid reimbursement rates for prisoners, and would eliminate an increase in the federal matching rate for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. The so-called “CHIP bump” has enabled states to expand the program to increase the number of insured children. Elsewhere, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder will testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday about Flint, MI’s tainted water. Related in the Senate, efforts are still underway to encourage Sen. Lee (R-Utah) to drop his objection to an amendment that would establish a loan to communities like Flint in need of infrastructure repairs.

Education – The Senate will vote Monday evening to confirm Dr. John King as the Secretary of Education. NCLR and the National Urban League posted an op-ed in support of his confirmation.

Puerto Rico – Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) plans to introduce legislation on Monday to provide a comprehensive solution to Puerto Rico’s financial and humanitarian crisis.  The legislation is similar in many respects to the Administration’s plan to address Puerto Rico, including debt restructuring, a financial control board, and tax and health provisions.  Additional details available here.

Supreme Court – The President may nominate a successor to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat as soon as this week. Republican Leadership in the Senate has stated repeatedly that the President’s nominee will not receive a hearing or a vote on the floor.

Weekly Washington Outlook — March 7, 2016

By Vinoth Chandar (Flickr: Capitol Hill - Washington, DC) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Vinoth Chandar (Flickr: Capitol Hill – Washington, DC) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

What to Watch This Week: 

Congress:

House:

The House is in recess this week, returning Monday, March 14.

Senate:

On Monday, the Senate will resume consideration of S. 524, the Comprehensive Addition and Recovery Act of 2015. The Senate may also vote on final passage of energy legislation S. 2012. The measure has been stalled as Senators seek a path forward on an amendment that would assist municipalities such as Flint, Mich., clean up tainted drinking water supplies.

White House:

On Monday, the president will host a meeting at the White House with financial regulators to receive an update on their progress in implementing Wall Street Reform. Eight years after the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the participants will discuss efforts to continue to implement the strongest consumer financial protections in history that have afforded millions of hard-working Americans new protections from the kinds of abusive practices that predated the crisis.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, President Obama will attend meetings at the White House.

On Thursday, the president and the first lady will welcome The Right Honorable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P., Prime Minister of Canada, and Mrs. Sophie Grégoire Trudeau to the White House for an Official Visit with a State Dinner. The visit is intended to advance cooperation on important bilateral and multilateral issues, such as energy and climate change, security, and the economy.

On Friday, President Obama will travel to Austin, Texas to participate in South by Southwest Interactive. The President will sit down with Editor-in-Chief of The Texas Tribune, Evan Smith, for a conversation about civic engagement in the 21st Century. In the lead-up to the event, The Texas Tribune will also source questions for the discussion from its online audience. Afterwards, the President will attend DNC events.

On Saturday, President Obama will attend a DNC and DSCC event before returning to Washington, D.C.

Also this Week:

Budget/Appropriations – The Senate Appropriations Committee will continue to hear from Administration officials regarding the President’s budget request for the upcoming fiscal year. Among those scheduled to testify before their Subcommittees of jurisdiction are Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and IRS Commissioner John Koskinen on Tuesday; Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday; Education Secretary John King on Thursday; and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro on Thursday. In addition, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson will appear Tuesday before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to discuss the Department’s budget request.

Health – The Senate Finance Committee plans a hearing Thursday on the HealthCare.gov website. The Health and Human Services Department’s Inspector General released a report last month providing some insight into the site’s troubled 2013 rollout. A member of the Inspector General’s office, as well as an official from the Government Accountability Office, are expected to testify. Elsewhere, Senate Leadership is seeking a path forward to vote on an amendment that would authorize a loan to municipalities like Flint, Mich. to clean up tainted drinking water. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) is blocking the measure arguing “federal aid is not needed at this time.” Finally, the Senate HELP Committee plans to consider legislation (S. 2512) on Wednesday to encourage the Food and Drug Administration to incentivize private drug-makers to develop a Zika vaccine.

Education – The Senate HELP Committee is expected to vote on the nomination of Dr. John B. King to be Education Secretary on Wednesday.  Dr. King’s nomination could be considered by the full Senate before the end of March.

Criminal Justice – The Senate Judiciary Committee approved bipartisan sentencing reform legislation, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, in the Fall of 2015. The legislation’s sponsors, including Sen. Grassley (R-Iowa), Sen. Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Cornyn (R-Texas), Sen. Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and others have been asking Senate Leadership to bring the legislation to the Senate floor for a vote. However, some conservative Senators including Sen. Cotton (R-Ark.) have argued that the legislation will result in the release of certain violent offenders.  To address this concern, it is likely that the sponsors of the bill will introduce as soon as this week a compromise to pave the way for floor consideration.