Weekly Washington Outlook — October 5, 2015

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What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

House:

On Monday, the House will meet at 2:00 p.m. in pro forma session. No votes are expected.

On Tuesday, the House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for morning hour and 2:00 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m when the House will consider the following legislation under suspension of the rules:

  •  H.R. 1553 – Small Bank Exam Cycle Reform Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Scott Tipton / Financial Services Committee)
  • H.R. 1839 – Reforming Access for Investments in Startup Enterprises (RAISE) Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Patrick McHenry / Financial Services Committee)
  • H.R. 2091 – Child Support Assistance Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Bruce Poliquin / Financial Services Committee)
  • H.R. 1525 – Disclosure Modernization and Simplification Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Scott Garrett / Financial Services Committee)
  • H.R. 3032 – Securities and Exchange Commission Reporting Modernization Act (Sponsored by Rep. Kyrsten Sinema / Financial Services Committee)
  • H.R. 3102 – Airport Access Control Security Improvement Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. John Katko / Homeland Security Committee)
  • H.R. 3510 – Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity Strategy Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Cedric Richmond / Homeland Security Committee)
  • S. 1300 – Adoptive Family Relief Act (Sponsored by Sen. Diane Feinstein / Judiciary Committee)
  • S. 2078 – United States Commission on International Religious Freedom Reauthorization Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Sen. Bob Corker / Foreign Affairs Committee)
  • H.R. 2168 – West Coast Dungeness Crab Management Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler / Natural Resources Committee)
  • S. 986 – Albuquerque Indian School Land Transfer Act (Sponsored by Sen. Tom Udall / Natural Resources Committee)

On Wednesday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.

  • H.R. 3192 – Homebuyers Assistance Act, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. French Hill / Financial Services Committee)

On Thursday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.

  • H.R. 538 – Native American Energy Act, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Don Young / Natural Resources Committee)

On Friday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. Last votes expected no later than 3:00 p.m.

  • H.R. 702 – To Adapt to Changing Crude Oil Market Conditions, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Joe Barton / Energy and Commerce Committee / Foreign Affairs Committee)

Senate:

The Senate plans to consider the conference report on the fiscal 2016 defense authorization, which has drawn a veto threat. A cloture vote is scheduled for Tuesday to limit debate on the $611.8 billion measure. After work’s done on the defense authorization, the Senate next could turn to chemical safety legislation S. 697, the “Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.”

White House:

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

On Wednesday, President Obama will host President Joachim Gauck of Germany for a meeting in the Oval Office. In the afternoon, the president will deliver remarks and participate in a town hall at the White House Summit on Worker Voice. The Summit will focus on how workers can make their voices heard in the workplace in ways that are good for workers and businesses.

On Thursday, President Obama will deliver remarks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s (CHCI) 38th Anniversary Awards Gala at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

On Friday, the president will travel to the Seattle area to attend an event for Senator Patty Murray and the Washington State Democratic Party and a DNC event. Later in the day, the President will travel to the San Francisco area for a DNC event. President Obama will remain overnight in San Francisco.

On Saturday, the president will attend a DNC event and travel to the Los Angeles area for DNC and DSCC events. Further details about the President’s travel to Washington and California will be made available in the coming days.

Also This Week:

Immigration – The Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled a Thursday mark-up of S. 1814, the “Stop Sanctuary Cities Act,” sponsored by Senators Vitter (R-La.) and Flake (R-Ariz.). This mark-up was previously postponed due to conservative concern with the underlying legislation and a substitute amendment. The bill would block certain funding streams for law enforcement in municipalities with community trust policies; some lawmakers have suggested that this approach is inappropriate. The substitute amendment would impose a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for illegal re-entry, which has faced opposition from those interested in criminal justice reform. Democrats are united in opposition, although some remain interested in creating an alternative policy that would lead to some form of cooperation between the Department of Homeland Security and local law enforcement. Elsewhere, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday to examine the impact of the Syrian refugee crisis on the security of the U.S. refugee admissions program. Also Wednesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing titled “Secure Immigration Identity Documents.”

Appropriations – Last week Congress passed a continuing resolution to fund the government until December 11. The Obama Administration and congressional leadership have begun negotiations to work out a long-term spending deal. The president indicated he will not sign another short-term measure or a long-term deal that doesn’t lift current spending caps. As budget negotiations play out, Congress must also debate legislation to extend the government’s borrowing authority. The government will reach its borrowing limit on November 5 and Republicans will likely demand that debt-ceiling legislation include measures to lower debt obligations over time.

Health – On Friday, the House Budget Committee will mark-up budget reconciliation recommendations from three committees to repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act and prohibit Medicaid reimbursement for abortion providers, among other things. The Budget Committee will combine the recommendations for House floor consideration. It is not clear if Senate Committees with jurisdiction over the Affordable Care Act plan to move their own versions of repeal legislation. Under the reconciliation process, the Senate can pass a bill with a simple majority, allowing Republican Leadership to circumvent procedural hurdles that have prevented their priorities from getting to the President’s desk.

Juvenile Justice – This Thursday the House Education and Workforce Committee will hold a hearing titled “Reviewing the Juvenile Justice System and How it Serves At-Risk Youth.”

Nutrition – Authorization for child nutrition programs expired September 30. Lawmakers are continuing work to find a path forward on a bipartisan reauthorization effort this fall.  However, the Senate Agriculture Committee postponed a planned mark-up of legislation indefinitely, and it is not clear how the House Education and Workforce Committee plans to proceed. Community eligibility and nutrition guidelines are both controversial in the effort. Elsewhere, on Tuesday the House Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on the process for developing the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Tax – The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight will hold a hearing on Wednesday examining the rising costs of higher education and tax policy.

Labor – The House Small Business Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations Subcommittee will hold a hearing Thursday titled “The Consequences of DOL’s One-Size-Fits-All Overtime Rule for Small Businesses and their Employees.” Elsewhere, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights, and Federal Courts Subcommittee will hold a hearing vaguely titled “Opportunity Denied: How Overregulation Harms Minorities” on Tuesday. It is unclear what the focus of this hearing will be and witnesses have yet to be listed.

Consumer Financial Protections – The House will consider H.R. 3192 this week, which would prohibit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from enforcing a Dodd-Frank mortgage disclosure rule until Feb. 1, 2016. The rule was scheduled to take effect on Oct. 3. H.R. 3192 would also protect lenders from liability for any violations of the rule before Feb. 1 if they have made a good faith effort to comply. The House Financial Services Committee approved the bill 45-13 on July 28.

Education – While conferees have not yet been formally appointed to the ESEA conference committee, staff-level work continues to reconcile the Senate’s Every Child Achieves Act with the House’s Student Success Act. There are significant differences between the two bills; notably, neither has strong accountability language ensuring intervention if students are not meeting academic goals. Conferees are likely to be named at some point this month. Elsewhere, the House Education and Workforce Committee will hold a hearing titled “Strengthening Head Start for Current and Future Generations” on Wednesday.

Republican Leadership Election – Last week Speaker John Boehner announced he would hold leadership elections on October 8 to determine his replacement. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is likely to replace the Speaker, although he is being challenged by Rep. Dan Webster (R-Fla.) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who announced his bid over the weekend.  Speaker Boehner has indicated he might postpone elections for House majority leader and majority whip in response to a letter circulated by Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) and Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) requesting a delay. Further, there could be a change in internal party rules that would force candidates to resign their chairmanship and leadership roles to participate in the upcoming leadership elections. The House Republican Conference will meet to discuss rules changes on Wednesday afternoon. The race for majority leader is competitive with Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) vying for the position. A delay in the election would give conservatives time to find a candidate to oppose Scalise and Price. If Scalise is elected as the next majority leader, there will be an election for his current post of majority whip.

Life as a Líderes Summit Staff Member

By David Castillo, Communications Department, NCLR

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Former Lideres Summit staffer Emily Gonzalez says serving on the Summit staff helped solidify her plans to pursue a career in service.

Sometimes we don’t know what to do with our future until an opportunity comes along that opens our eyes and reveals our talent and passion. That’s how Emily Gonzalez got involved in service work. During her time as an NCLR Líderes Summit staffer last year in Los Angeles, Emily was able to hone her skills as a leader. The New York City native now plans to make service part of her future career.

The first in her family to go to college, Emily graduated from Brown University in 2013. She studied education with an emphasis on human development. While she enjoyed her field, upon completing the program Emily realized that teaching wasn’t what she wanted to do after all.

“I kind of fell into service. It was always something I did in high school and middle school. Then it continued in college,” said Gonzalez. “I figured it would be a great opportunity for me to be a part of a national organization [NCLR] and work with students advising them.”

As a summer intern with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in 2011, Emily attended the NCLR Annual Conference. There she discovered the Líderes Summit, and she loved the experience. The summer after graduating from Brown, still not quite sure what she wanted to do, Emily applied to be a member of the Líderes Summit staff.

Emily served on the events committee, where she sought to use the planning skills learned there in her work as a college advisor in AmeriCorps VISTA. It was a fine selection, but starting out proved challenging. Production schedules, speaker intros, and some of the event planning are done on-site by the Summit staff just one week before the Summit begins. More than half of the team during Emily’s term were new, so there was a learning curve.

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“The theme last year [Think. Create. Aspire.] really resonated with my experience because we were thrown in right off the bat the first day we had training,” said Gonzalez. “At first I felt bit out of my comfort zone, but that was great because everyone was so supportive as a community.”

Despite the long hours and late nights, Emily says it was a truly worthwhile experience that continues to affect her work as an advisor at College Visions in Providence, Rhode Island. She also made some strong friendships in the process.

“Seeing how quickly we built relationships with each other helped me see how much good change could happen very quickly. I definitely try to pull that into the work I do,” said Gonzalez. “Whatever it is I’m doing with my students, I try to stay positive and see where I can build that relationship early and quickly so we can work together better.”

As for advice for incoming staff, Emily says folks should really reflect on what they’re going to bring to this experience.

“Make it your own. Even though there is somewhat of a routine to it, there’s always stuff you can do to make it new,” said Gonzalez. “If there’s someone you want to get to know, make sure you’re prepared to make that happen.”

We wish Emily the best of luck in the future, and we look forward to working with the new staff in making this year’s Líderes Summit an even greater success!

This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending October 3

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Week Ending October 3

This week in immigration reform: NCLR hosts a panel about Latinos and the November midterm election; NCLR posts another installment of the “Hanging in the Balance” blog series; National Journal publishes an op-ed by NCLR’s Charles Kamasaki; President Obama addresses immigration reform at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s annual gala.

–NCLR hosts panel discussion about the upcoming midterm election: NCLR convened a discussion to highlight the power of the Latino vote and the potential for Hispanic voters to decide close races. In a press statement , Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR said “There is a misconception that Latinos won’t matter this election cycle because it’s a midterm election and they are apathetic toward both parties. That couldn’t be further from the truth. We are continuing to grow our voting numbers in areas where critical races could be determined by less than a 1 percent margin of victory. How candidates engage in outreach toward our community and handle issues important to Latinos, such as immigration, will undoubtedly impact this high-stakes election cycle in which both parties are fighting for control of the Senate.” The panel was comprised of experts from NCLR, Latino Decisions, Voto Latino, and the Center for American Progress. Audio of the entire discussion is featured in NCLR’s recent blog post.

–NCLR continues ‘Hanging in the Balance’ series with the story of DACA recipient turned advocate: In our latest blog post, NCLR highlights the tale of Giancarlo Tello, a DACA recipient who came to the U.S. from Peru at age six. While growing up, Giancarlo took honors classes, played sports, and received good grades. He didn’t even know he was undocumented until his mother told him after he asked her for a ride to the DMV to get his driver’s permit. He continued to encounter other hurdles because of his status, especially when applying for college because he didn’t have a social security number. Giancarlo continued his pursuit to continue his education and began attending Bergen Community College, where he became involved in the New Jersey DREAM Act Coalition and earned an associate degree. He then enrolled at Rutgers University-Camden and continued advocating for DACA and a New Jersey state bill that allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition. Giancarlo urges President Obama to provide relief to other students and their families through executive action and highlights the importance of a strong Latino electorate, saying “Neither party should take Latinos for granted.”

–National Journal publishes an opinion piece by NCLR Senior Cabinet Advisor, Charles Kamasaki: In a new op-ed, titled “Critics Say Executive Action on Immigration Would Be Unprecedented. They Forget Their History.” Charles Kamasaki, examines past executive actions by presidents to alter the immigration process and notes that since the mid-1970s, presidential discretion has been exercised more than 20 times. He writes, “The record is clear: Presidents of both parties have used discretionary powers on multiple occasions to protect various groups from deportation for an enormously wide variety of reasons. Except for temporary conditions, Congress acted later—often years later—to ratify the president’s decisions.” A longer version of the piece, with endnotes, is available here.

–President Obama speaks at the annual Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Gala: President Obama was introduced at the CHCI gala by Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) who said “We look to you, Mr. President, for big, bold, unapologetic administrative relief for millions.” The president addressed executive action on immigration at this year’s CHCI gala, promising to act after the midterms but before the end of the year, according to a Washington Post article. President Obama recognized the frustration of the Latino community with his delay in relief and emphasized the need for Congressional action, as an administrative one would only be temporary and vulnerable under a new Administration. Thus, to ensure lasting reform, the President urged Hispanics to get out and vote, noting that only 48 percent of voters turned out in 2012, and saying “the clearest path to change is to change that number.  Si, se puede … si votamos.  Yes we can … if we vote.”

Weekly Washington Outlook – September 29, 2014

White House at Night

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

House:

The House is in recess, returning the week of November 10.

Senate:

The Senate is in recess, returning the week of November 10.

White House:

On Monday, the president will attend a Democratic National Committee event in Washington. In the evening, President Obama will host Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India for a private dinner at the White House. Vice President Biden will also attend.

On Tuesday, the president will host Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India at the White House. The two leaders will discuss ways to accelerate economic growth, bolster security cooperation, and collaborate in activities that bring long-term benefits to both countries and the world. They will also focus on regional issues, including current developments in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. The vice president will also participate.

On Wednesday, President Obama will host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House. The president looks forward to discussing with the Prime Minister Israel’s relations with the Palestinians, including the situation in Gaza; developments related to Iran; and the international effort to combat ISIL. Vice President Biden will also participate. In the afternoon, President Obama will welcome Sporting Kansas City to honor their 2013 MLS Cup Championship. In the evening, he will travel to Chicago.

On Thursday, the president will return from Chicago. In the evening, he will deliver remarks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Annual Awards Gala at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

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