What to Watch This Week:
On Monday, the House will vote on two bills related to veterans’ issues under suspension of the rules:
- H.R. 294 – Long-Term Care Veteran Choice Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Jeff Miller / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)
- H.R. 280 – To authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to recoup bonuses and awards paid to employees of the Department of Veterans Affair, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Jeff Miller / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)
On Tuesday, the House will convene for a joint meeting of Congress to receive Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
On Wednesday and the balance of the week the House will consider the following:
- H.R. 749 – Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Shuster / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)
- H.R. 1029 – EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2015, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Frank Lucas / Science, Space, and Technology Committee)
- H.R. 1030 – Secret Science Reform Act of 2015, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith / Science, Space, and Technology
It is possible that members may also vote on legislation to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
On Monday, the Senate will resume consideration of a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security. On Monday evening, a vote is scheduled on a House motion to go to conference to reconcile differences between each chamber’s appropriations bill. Later in the week, the Senate will join the House for a joint meeting to receive Israel’s Prime Minister. It is also possible that the Senate may schedule the first procedural vote to override the President’s veto of legislation to authorize the Keystone XL Pipeline or begin consideration of S. J. Res. 8 to block a proposed rule from the National Labor Relations Board.
On Monday, the president will meet with members of his Task Force on 21st Century Policing to discuss their recommendations on how to strengthen community policing and strengthen trust among law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.
On Tuesday, President Obama and the first lady will deliver remarks at the White House about expanding efforts to help adolescent girls worldwide attend and stay in school. These efforts will build on the investments successes achieved in global primary school education by elevating existing programs and public and private sector partnerships.
On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the president will attend meetings at the White House.
On Saturday, the president and the first lady will travel to Selma, Alabama to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery marches. This visit will also highlight the President and his Administration’s overall efforts to mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
Also this Week:
Appropriations – Last week, after the House failed to pass a three-week continuing resolution to fund the Department of Homeland Security in advance of a Friday deadline, both chambers extended their deadline seven days. This week, the Senate will vote on a House-passed motion to conference differing versions of an appropriations bill. The House version has language blocking the president’s immigration actions whereas the Senate passed a “clean” bill; as a result, this motion to negotiate between the two is almost certain to fail in the Senate. In the mean time, House leadership has not signaled how they plan to proceed to avert this Friday’s deadline to prevent a shutdown of the agency.
Immigration – As the fight over DHS funding continues, the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled on Tuesday and Wednesday to mark-up four bills, including an updated version of the SAFE Act and related legislation on interior enforcement (i.e. E-Verify). The Committee will also consider two bills to expedite the return of unaccompanied children and make other changes to the processing of asylum claims. In the Senate, the Judiciary Committee’s Immigration and National Interest Subcommittee will hold a hearing Tuesday afternoon on “Oversight of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: Ensuring Agency Priorities Comply with the Law.” Representatives from USCIS are scheduled to appear.
Education – In the midst of last week’s wrangling over DHS appropriations, planned consideration of the Student Success Act, a partisan bill to rewrite No Child Left Behind, was pulled off the floor. There is wide speculation that with minimal Democratic support and concerns from conservative members that the bill did not go far enough, House Leadership did not have enough votes for passage. The legislation is not scheduled to return to the floor this week and its fate is somewhat unclear at the moment. In the Senate, HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) continue to negotiate to reach a bipartisan compromise to reauthorize the law.
Health – The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Wednesday in the King v. Burwell case challenging the legality of premium assistance for enrollees on federal exchanges. Lawmakers in the House and the Senate have signaled they may be interested in finding a “fix” if the court rules against the Administration. Last week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) made limited details of one possible proposal public with several Senate colleagues, available in a Washington Post op-ed. The Administration, however, remains confident the court will rule in their favor. Additional details here: http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/king-v-burwell/.
Dodd-Frank – Richard Cordray, the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will appear before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday. The hearing is expected to be somewhat contentious and may address conservative proposals to change the agency’s structure.
Budget – Cabinet officials are continuing to appear before Congress to make this week defending their budget requests. Notably on Wednesday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan will testify before the House Appropriations Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee.
Labor – The Senate could vote as soon as this week on S. J. Res. 8, a resolution of disapproval of the National Labor Relations Board’s actions to expedite workplace union elections when unions are engaged in collective bargaining.