What to Watch This Week:
On Monday, the House will consider legislation under suspension of the rules:
- R. 1624 – Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Brett Guthrie / Energy and Commerce Committee)
- 136 – Gold Star Fathers Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
- R. 313 – Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Stephen Lynch / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
- 565 – Federal Vehicle Repair Cost Savings Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Sen. Gary Peters / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
- R. 3089 – Grants Oversight and New Efficiency (GONE) Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Tim Walberg / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
- R. 3614 – Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Shuster / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)
- 139 – Ensuring Access to Clinical Trials Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden / Ways and Means Committee)
- R. 2061 – Equitable Access to Care and Health (EACH) Act (Sponsored by Rep. Rodney Davis / Ways and Means Committee)
- R. 3594 – Higher Education Extension Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Mike Bishop / Education and the Workforce Committee)
- R. 2617 – To amend the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 to postpone a scheduled increase in the minimum wage applicable to American Samoa, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Amata Radewagen / Education and the Workforce Committee)
- R. 2786 – Cross-Border Rail Security Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Filemon Vela / Homeland Security Committee)
- R. 2835 – Border Jobs for Veterans Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Martha McSally / Homeland Security Committee)
- Concur in the Senate Amendment to R. 2051 – Agriculture Reauthorizations Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Mike Conaway / Agriculture Committee)
On Tuesday, the House will also consider legislation under suspension of the rules:
- R. 3596 – Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)
- R. 3595 – To extend the authorization to carry out the replacement of the existing medical center of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Denver, Colorado, and for other purposes (Sponsored by Rep. Jeff Miller / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)
The House will also vote on H.R. 3495 – Women’s Public Health and Safety Act (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Sean Duffy / Energy and Commerce Committee)
On Wednesday and the balance of the week, the House will vote on the following:
- R. ___ – Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism Act (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Patrick Meehan / Foreign Affairs Committee)
- Legislation related to Continuing Government Funding for FY2016
Consideration of the Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 1735 – National Defense Authorization Act for FY2016 is possible, as well as a reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration.
The Senate has scheduled a procedural vote Monday evening on the legislative vehicle for a clean continuing resolution to fund the government through December 11th.
On Monday and Tuesday, President Obama will be in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. He will attend meetings at the White House the balance of the week.
Also This Week:
Immigration – The Senate Judiciary Committee has rescheduled a mark-up of S. 1814, the “Stop Sanctuary Cities Act,” sponsored by Senators Vitter (R-La.) and Flake (R-Ariz.). This mark-up has been postponed several times 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 Senate Judiciary Committee’s Immigration and the National interest Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Thursday on the fiscal and security impact of the Administration’s recently announced refugee resettlement plans.
Appropriations – Congress has until September 30 to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government. After a procedural vote failed last week in the Senate to pass a spending bill until December 11 that would also defund Planned Parenthood, another vote has been scheduled for Monday evening without the controversial rider. In the House, Leadership has been clear that they will also move to a clean bill sometime this week. Precise details of this remain unknown, however. Both bills do contain a number of “anomalies,” extensions of expiring programs, including E-Verify, EB-5 Investor Visas, and others.
Health – The House Ways and Means Committee has scheduled a mark-up on Tuesday of budget reconciliation legislation repealing pieces of the Affordable Care Act. Repeals of both the medical device tax and so-called cadillac tax are included. It is likely the House Energy and Commerce Committee will follow shortly with related legislation that will be combined into one bill to send to the Senate. The Committee has held a number of hearings on the ACA, and will continue on Tuesday with an Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee hearing on state-based marketplaces. 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.
Nutrition – While authorization for child nutrition programs expire September 30, these were not included in the continuing resolution that is expected to clear the House and Senate this week. Instead, 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.
Taxes – The Senate Finance Committee will convene a hearing on Thursday with the U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro on improper payments. The Earned Income Tax Credit is likely to be a part of this hearing, given many believe that the credit’s complexity lead to error.
Labor – The House Financial Services Committee will mark up a series of bills on Wednesday, including H.R. 1090, which would block the Department of Labor’s “conflict of interest” rule. Elsewhere, the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee will convene a hearing Wednesday on the proposed rule.
Consumer Financial Protections – On Tuesday, Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), will give his semi-annual report to Congress to the House Financial Services Committee. The Committee has also scheduled a mark-up of a number of bills related to the CFPB on Wednesday. Among these, H.R. 957, legislation that would subject the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Inspector General to Senate confirmation, and H.R. 1266 that would change the CFPB’s governing structure from a single Director to a bipartisan commission.
Puerto Rico – The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday on Puerto Rico’s debt crisis. Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi will testify.
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 in October.
Republican Leadership Election – On Friday, Speaker John Boehner announced he would be resigning at the end of October. He outlined an ambitious agenda for the next four weeks including reaching a budget deal, reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, and passing a long-term transportation bill. Yet, all eyes remain on Leadership elections to replace him; these have not yet been scheduled, but could come as soon as this week. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is likely to replace the Speaker, although he is being challenged by Rep. Dan Webster (R-Fla.). The race for Majority Leader is also competitive with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), and Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) all vying for the position. A number of members are also running for Whip, including Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), and potentially Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas). The precise details are still taking shape, and it is possible that Rep. Peter Roskan (R-Ill.) could emerge as a candidate for any of these. He has gathered signatures for a conference meeting this week to discuss a plan for the Republican party moving forward.