Weekly Washington Outlook — July 20, 2015

Image Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ACapitol-Senate.JPG

Image Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ACapitol-Senate.JPG

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. and the House will consider legislation under suspension of the rules:

1) H.R. 2256 – Veterans Information Modernization Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Dan Benishek / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)

2) H.R. 237 – FTO Passport Revocation Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Ted Poe / Foreign Affairs Committee)

3) H.R. 1557 – Federal Employee Antidiscrimination Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Elijah Cummings / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

4) H.R. 1473 – John F. Kennedy Center Reauthorization Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Lou Barletta / Transportation & Infrastructure Committee)

On Wednesday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business and will consider H.R. 1734 – Improving Coal Combustion Residuals Regulation Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. David McKinley / Energy and Commerce Committee)

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

On Friday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. Last votes expected no later than 3:00 p.m., to include consideration of H.R. 1599 – Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Mike Pompeo / Energy and Commerce Committee / Agriculture Committee)

Senate:

The Senate returns Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. Majority Leader McConnell has scheduled a procedural vote on H.R. 22, the legislative vehicle for a multi-year transportation reauthorization package that would also fund the Highway Trust Fund.

White House:

On Monday, the president will host Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at the White House.

On Tuesday, the president will travel to Pittsburgh to address the 116th Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention. Following the convention, President Obama will travel to New York, New York and will tape an appearance on ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.’ In the evening, the president will attend a DSCC event.

On Wednesday, President Obama will meet with small business owners to discuss the importance of the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.

On Thursday, the president will attend meetings at the White House. In the evening, he will travel to Nairobi.

On Friday, President Obama will arrive in Nairobi.

Also This Week:

Immigration – Both the House and Senate will examine enforcement issues this week in the wake of events in San Francisco, focusing on “sanctuary cities.”  The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing Tuesday titled “Oversight of the Administration’s Misdirected Immigration Enforcement Policies: Examining the Impact on Public Safety and Honoring the Victims.” The Majority’s witnesses include a number of individuals who lost loved ones to crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.  On Thursday, the House Judiciary Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee will examine “Sanctuary Cities: A Threat to Public Safety;” witnesses have not yet been announced. Since the death of Katherine Steinle, Senators Vitter (R-La.), Cotton (R-Ark.) and others in the House have proposed legislation that would block federal funding to sanctuary cities.  Senator Feinstein (D-Calif.) has also announced plans to introduce legislation in the coming weeks, but details on timing and content remain unknown.

Appropriations – Movement on FY16 funding bills has stalled in the House over a dispute last week when an amendment to an Interior appropriations bill passed that would bar displays of the Confederate battle flag on government property.  The legislation was pulled from the House floor as a result and is not on the calendar for this week.

Tax – On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee will mark-up a two-year tax extender package to retroactively revive a host of expired credits. The package costs $95.6 billion over twenty years, and includes extensions of the Research and Development credit, credit financing for multinational corporations, and a production break for renewable power plants.  In contrast, the House Ways and Means Committee is continuing to examine making certain tax credits permanent as part of an exercise to change the baseline for future tax reform legislation.

Education – Last week, the Senate passed the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177), legislation to rewrite No Child Left Behind and reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). This legislation passed without the inclusion of language backed by the business and civil rights community to strengthen accountability to ensure timely intervention if groups of students failed to meet academic goals.  Next, House and Senate negotiators are expected to begin a conference committee sometime after the August recess to reconcile differences between S. 1177 and the House-passed Student Success Act (H.R. 5).

With work on ESEA reauthorization moving to conference, the Senate is shifting focus to higher education. On Wednesday the Senate HELP Committee is holding a hearing titled “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Exploring Barriers and Opportunities within Innovation.”

Health – As the  July 24th deadline to proceed with a plan for reconciliation looms, Republican leadership remains divided on how to move forward in using this tool to repeal components of the Affordable Care Act.  Yet, The House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee is holding a Friday hearing on “An Overdue Checkup: Examining the Affordable Care Act’s State Insurance Marketplaces.

Banking – This Tuesday marks the five-year anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Act! As lawmakers and stakeholders examine the effects of the law, the Senate Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee will examine on Thursday “The Administrative State v. The Constitution: Dodd-Frank at Five Years.”

On Wednesday, the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Securities, Insurance, and Investment Subcommittee is holding a hearing on the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s designation process, with a full committee hearing Thursday on the systemic importance of bank holding companies. Also Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee plans a hearing to discuss changes to the Federal Reserve.

Labor – Earlier this month the Obama Administration released new regulations regarding overtime pay. The proposed rule would more than double the salary threshold for guaranteed overtime pay to $50,440, from the current threshold of $23,660. On Thursday the House Education and Workforce Committee’s Workforce Protections Subcommittee will examine the proposed changes. Senate Democrats plan to send a letter Monday to the Obama Administration urging swift movement toward a final rule.

Elsewhere, the comment period for the Department of Labor’s proposed rule to change the definition of fiduciary in regards to retirement investment advice ends Tuesday. The Senate HELP Employment and Workplace Safety Subcommittee will hold a hearing on this day examining the rule.

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.”

Weekly Washington Outlook — November 10, 2014

 

Photo: Harris Walker, Creative Commons

Photo: Harris Walker, Creative Commons

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

House of Representatives:

The House will return to session on Wednesday afternoon and will consider a number of bills under suspension of the rules, including:

1) Concur in the Senate Amendment to H.R. 4194 – Government Reports Elimination Act of 2014 (Sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif. / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

2) Concur in the Senate Amendment to H.R. 1233 – Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014 (Sponsored by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.)/ Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

3) H.R. 5266 – Reauthorizing the National Estuary Programs, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Frank LoBiondo / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

4) S. 1934 – Clifford P. Hansen Federal Courthouse Conveyance Act (Sponsored by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

5) S. 898 – Albuquerque, New Mexico, Federal Land Conveyance Act of 2013 (Sponsored by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.)/ Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

6) H.R. 5167 – To direct the Administrator of General Services, on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior, to convey certain federal property located in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska to the Olgoonik Corporation, an Alaska Native Corporation established under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (Sponsored by Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) / Natural Resources Committee)

7) H.R. 3326 – Trinity County Land Exchange Act of 2014, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) / Natural Resources Committee)

8) H.R. 4846 – Arapaho National Forest Boundary Adjustment Act of 2014 (Sponsored by Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.)/ Natural Resources Committee)

9) H.R. 4867 – Economic Development Through Tribal Land Exchange Act (Sponsored by Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.)/ Natural Resources Committee)

10) H.R. 5448 – John F. Kennedy Center Reauthorization Act of 2014 (Sponsored by Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Penn.)/ Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

The Senate:

The Senate also returns to session Wednesday afternoon to hold cloture votes on two judicial nominations; their confirmation votes will be held Thursday. After these on Thursday, the Senate will vote on a bicameral and bipartisan compromise to reauthorize the Childcare and Development Block Grant program (S. 1086). The House ratified changes to the Senate-backed bill before the recess and the Senate will approve these this week.

White House:

On Monday, the president will arrive in Beijing. On his first day in Beijing, President Obama will participate in the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation) CEO Summit, where he will deliver remarks. He will have bilateral meetings with President Widodo of Indonesia and Prime Minister Abbott of Australia, and he will also participate in a TPP leaders meeting. In the evening, the president will attend an APEC welcome banquet.

On Tuesday, the president will attend official APEC summit events including a welcoming ceremony, an official APEC family photo and a tree planting ceremony. President Obama will also participate in two APEC plenary sessions and a working lunch with leaders. In the evening, the president will begin his bilateral program with President Xi of China.

On Wednesday, President Obama will participate in a State Arrival Welcome Ceremony.  Afterward, he will participate in a bilateral meeting with President Xi and then deliver remarks to press. In the afternoon, the president will attend a State Banquet with President Xi. Afterward, President Obma will depart Beijing en route to Naypyitaw, Burma. After arrival, the president will attend an East Asia Summit (EAS) Gala Dinner.

On Thursday, President Obama will attend an EAS plenary session followed by a U.S.- Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) session and hold a bilateral meeting with President Truong Tan Sang of Vietman. In the evening the president will have a bilateral meeting with Burmese President Thein Sein.

On Friday, President Obama will depart Naypyitaw en route to Rangoon, Burma. While in Rangoon, the President will meet with Aung San Suu Kyi at her residence. He will also participate in a Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Town Hall. In the evening, the president will depart Rangoon en route to Brisbane, Australia.

On Saturday, President Obama will arrive in Brisbane, Australia. While in Brisbane, the President will participate in official G-20 events including a leaders retreat, a plenary session, a working dinner and a cultural presentation. The president will also deliver remarks at the University of Queensland.

On Sunday, President Obama will participate in two G-20 plenary sessions and a working lunch. Afterward, the president will participate in a press conference before departing Brisbane en route to Washington.

Also this Week:

Leadership Elections – House Republicans, Senate Republicans, and Senate Democrats will hold their party leadership elections on Thursday. House Democrats will hold their election next Thursday, November 18. Current leaders are expected to remain in their positions.

New Member Orientation – Newly elected members of Congress in both the House and the Senate will be in Washington this week learning how to cast a vote, how not to get arrested, and other useful information before they are sworn in on January 5. These freshman members will also participate in the week’s leadership elections. Committee assignments, however, are not expected to be finalized until the start of the next Congress.

Nominations – Over the weekend, the president announced the nomination of Loretta Lynch to replace Eric Holder as the Attorney General. It is unclear whether her confirmation can be fast-tracked before the end of the year. Senate Democrats are likely to aim to process as many pending executive and judicial appointments as possible before Republicans take control in January; it is not yet known whether they plan to change the Senate rules back to require sixty votes for cloture.

ACA – Open enrollment begins on Saturday! The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is predicting that 13 million people will sign up for plans this year, roughly 6 million more than in 2014. Despite confusion from a pending Supreme Court decision on the legality of premium assistance for those in the federal exchange, and threats to repeal portions of the law, CBO nonetheless believes that the looming increase in the penalty for not having insurance will drive more people into the marketplace.

Weekly Washington Outlook- Sept. 16, 2013

STOCK PHOTO capitol building

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

The House:

This week, the House commences its legislative business with a series of non-controversial bills considered under suspension of the rules on Tuesday.  On Wednesday, the House will take up the following:

On Thursday, it is widely expected the House will vote on the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act (Rep. Frank Lucas), the yet-to-be released nutrition portion of the Farm Bill.  Continue reading