Weekly Washington Outlook — October 12, 2015

USCapitol

What to Watch This Week:

 Congress:

House:

The House is in recess, returning Tuesday, October 20.

 Senate:

The Senate is in recess, returning Monday October 19.

White House:

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

On Wednesday, President Obama and the first lady will host the PBS In Performance at the White House Concert for the 50th Anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities.

On Thursday, the president will deliver remarks and attend a reception for Hispanic Heritage Month and the 25th Anniversary of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

On Friday, President Obama will welcome President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea to the White House. The president and President Park will exchange views on a broad range of security, economic, and global issues, including the U.S.-ROK alliance and the critical role it plays in assuring regional stability and security. President Obama will hold a bilateral meeting and a joint press conference with President Park.

Also this Week:

Sanctuary Cities – When the Senate returns, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has teed up a cloture vote to proceed to S. 2146 (originally S. 1814, the “Stop Sanctuary Cities Act”) next Tuesday. This piece of legislation would withhold federal funds from so-called “sanctuary cities,” municipalities with community trust policies. The bill would also boost criminal penalties for undocumented immigrants who re-enter the U.S. after they are deported. S. 1814 was the cause of intraparty discord, as some Republican Senators supported an amendment including a mandatory minimum prison sentence for illegal re-entry, while others opposed such language. The new bill appears to have mandatory minimum sentencing language included.

House Leadership – Following Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calkf.) surprising decision to withdraw from the race to succeed John Boehner (R-Ohio) as House Speaker, no fewer than ten Representatives have floated the idea of running to fill the post. The frontrunner is Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), though he has shown no intention of actually seeking the nomination thus far. The only two Representatives formally running at this point are Government Oversight & Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Congressman Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), who has the backing of the House Freedom Caucus. Boehner has postponed all House leadership elections indefinitely.

Weekly Washington Outlook — April 13, 2015

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 returns Monday from a two-week recess to consider six bills under suspension of the rules:

  • R. 299 – Capital Access for Small Community Financial Institutions Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Steve Stivers / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 1259 – Helping Expand Lending Practices in Rural Communities Act (Sponsored by Rep. Andy Barr / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 1265 – Bureau Advisory Commission Transparency Act (Sponsored by Rep. Sean Duffy / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 601 – Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act (Sponsored by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 1367 – To amend the Expedited Funds Availability Act to clarify the application of that Act to American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands (Sponsored by Del. Amata Radewagen / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 1480 – SAFE Act Confidentiality and Privilege Enhancement Act (Sponsored by Rep. Bob Dold / Financial Services Committee)

On Tuesday and the balance of the week, the House will consider the following tax-related legislation under suspension of the rules:

  • R. 1058 – Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Peter Roskam / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1152 – IRS Email Transparency Act (Sponsored by Rep. Kenny Marchant / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1026 – Taxpayer Knowledge of IRS Investigations Act (Sponsored by Rep. Mike Kelly / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1314 – Ensuring Tax Exempt Organizations the Right to Appeal Act (Sponsored by Rep. Patrick Meehan / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1295 – IRS Bureaucracy Reduction and Judicial Review Act (Sponsored by Rep. George Holding / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 709 – Prevent Targeting at the IRS Act (Sponsored by Rep. Jim Renacci / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1104 – Fair Treatment for All Gifts Act (Sponsored by Rep. Peter Roskam / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1562 – Contracting and Tax Accountability Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
  • R. 1563 – Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

The House has also scheduled votes on additional financial services and tax legislation, subject to a rule:

  • R. 650 – Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Stephen Fincher / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 685 – Mortgage Choice Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Huizenga / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 622 – State and Local Sales Tax Deduction Fairness Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brady / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1105 – Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brady / Ways and Means Committee)

Senate:

The Senate also returns Monday and will vote on a judicial nomination Monday evening. Later in the week, the Senate is expected to vote on House-passed legislation to reform the Medicare sustainable growth rate and extend CHIP authorization for two years.

White House:

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

On Tuesday, President Obama will host Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi at the White House. The Prime Minister’s visit underscores the strategic partnership between the United States and Iraq and the strong U.S. commitment to political and military cooperation with Iraq in the joint fight against ISIL. The president and prime minister will discuss a range of issues, including continued U.S. support to Iraq to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL, the Government of Iraq’s actions to address the needs of the Iraqi people and to strengthen cooperation between all communities in Iraq, and advancing a broad U.S.-Iraqi partnership through expanded political, commercial, and cultural relations under the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement. In the evening, the president and first lady will invite music legends and top contemporary artists to the White House as part of its “In Performance at the White House” series. The event will pay tribute to the fundamental role gospel music has played in the American musical tradition and the important artists and repertoire that have marked its vibrant history.

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

On Thursday, the president will welcome the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride to the White House in celebration of the eighth annual Soldier Ride. A cycling event to help Wounded Warriors restore their physical and emotional well-being, the Soldier Ride also raises awareness of our nation’s Wounded Warriors who battle the physical and psychological damages of war. Afterward, the President will deliver remarks at a Champions of Change event highlighting issues important to working families.

On Friday, President Obama will host Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at the White House. During their meeting, the president and Prime Minister Renzi will discuss support for Ukraine and continued U.S.-EU unity on pressuring Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine to adhere to the Minsk agreements; the situation in Libya; and the need for the international community to continue efforts to counter ISIL and other extremists throughout the Middle East. They will also exchange views on economic developments in Europe, support for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, climate change and energy security, and other issues of mutual interest.

Coming Up Next Week:

Nominations – After a two week break, it is still not clear how the Senate will move forward with consideration of a stalled anti-trafficking bill that has become mired in abortion politics. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said repeatedly that the Senate must complete work on this legislation before he will move to confirm Loretta Lynch to be Attorney General.

Health – The Senate is expected to vote this week on legislation that would permanently alter Medicare’s sustainable growth rate. This legislation also extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for two years. It passed overwhelmingly in the House on March 26. Senate Democrats, however, are hoping to have an opportunity to amend the bill to extend CHIP for four years rather than two years. Some have commented that their support of final passage is contingent on an amendment process. Elsewhere, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has scheduled a hearing on Wednesday on IRS challenges implementing the ACA.

Education – The Senate HELP Committee will begin marking-up a bipartisan ESEA reauthorization bill on Tuesday.  Last week, Senator Murray (D-Wash.) and Senator Alexander (R-Tenn.) announced they had reached an agreement to rewrite the law.  The compromise maintains annual statewide assessments, requires states to set rigorous goals, and includes English Learner language and academic proficiency in state accountability systems. However, the draft allows states greater flexibility in designing their accountability systems without clear guidelines of when states must intervene to address schools failing to meet the needs of specific groups of students. Additional details. In the House, there was speculation that H.R. 5 may be on the floor again this work period. This legislation was not listed in Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s memo outlining the schedule for the next few weeks, suggesting it is still short of votes for passage. Elsewhere, Education Secretary Arne Duncan will testify Thursday before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Labor-HHS-Education Sucbommittee.

Immigration – Immigration Customs and Enforcemenet Director Sarah Saldana will appear on Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee and Wednesday at the House Appropriations Committee’s Homeland Security Subcommittee.

Budget – As the April 15, statutory deadline looms for the House and Senate to agree on a concurrent budget resolution, negotiations between each chamber’s Budget Committees continue. The House and Senate are expected to formally name conferees this week. There is no penalty for failing to meet the deadline, whether by adopting a budget late or not adopting one at all. If no agreement is reached, each chamber can deem its resolution as binding on the spending and revenue bills that come later.

Financial Services – The House this week is voting on a series of consumer-related bills. Notably, H.R. 299 would allow privately insured credit unions to join the Home Loan Bank System and H.R. 1265 would require the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to comply with federal transparency laws (the CFPB is currently exempt along with the Federal Reserve system). Finally, H.R. 601 would exempt financial institutions from providing annual privacy notices to customers if no changes have been made. Elsewhere, the House Financial Services Committee is holding a hearing on Wednesday “Examining Regulatory Burdens of Non-Depository Financial Institutions.” The hearing is likely to focus on a range of industry complaints concerning the CFPB, including efforts to regulate indirect auto lending and payday lending.

Housing – The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing Thursday, “Regulatory Burdens to Obtaining Mortgage Credit.”  In the House, members will vote on a number of housing-related bills. H.R. 1480 will be considered under suspension of the rules and would allow federal and state financial services regulators to receive information through the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry. Later in the week, the House will vote on H.R. 650. This bill would modify the Truth in Lending Act to change the definitions of high-cost mortgage and mortgage originator for the purposes of manufactured housing. The stated purpose is to ensure affordable credit for these loans, but consumer groups have voiced considerable opposition. Similarly, the House will also vote on H.R. 685 which would allow more mortgages to be classified as qualified mortgages under the CFPB’s QM rule. As with H.R. 650, consumer advocates are skeptical of this legislation.

Tax – April 15 is Tax Day!  To celebrate, the House will vote on a number of IRS oversight bills. The House will also vote on legislation to repeal the estate tax (H.R. 1105) and reinstate and permanently extend the state and local sales tax deduction (H.R. 622).

Weekly Washington Outlook – June 16, 2014

U.S. Capitol

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

The House:

The House returns on Tuesday afternoon to vote on a series of bills to name post offices and other government facilities, under suspension of the rules:

1) H.R. 1458 – To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1 Walter Hammond Place in Waldwick, New Jersey, as the “Staff Sergeant Joseph D’Augustine Post Office Building” (Sponsored by Rep. Scott Garrett / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

2) H.R. 43 – Officer Tommy Decker Memorial Post Office (Sponsored by Rep. Michele Bachmann / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

3) H.R. 1391 – The Lance Corporal Joshua B. McDaniels and Veterans Memorial Post Office Building, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Steve Stivers / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

4) H.R. 3765 – To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 198 Baker Street in Corning, New York, as the “Specialist Ryan P. Jayne Post Office Building” (Sponsored by Rep. Tom Reed / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

5) H.R. 1707– To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 302 East Green Street in Champaign, Illinois, as the “James R. Burgess Jr. Post Office Building” (Sponsored by Rep. Rodney Davis / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

6) H.R. 3472 – To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 13127 Broadway Street in Alden, New York, as the “Sergeant Brett E. Gornewicz Memorial Post Office” (Sponsored by Rep. Chris Collins / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

7) H.R. 1865 – To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 35 Park Street in Danville, Vermont, as the “Thaddeus Stevens Post Office” (Sponsored by Rep. Peter Welch / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

8) H.R. 2112– To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 787 State Route 17M in Monroe, New York, as the “National Clandestine Service of the Central Intelligence Agency NCS Officer Gregg David Wenzel Memorial Post Office” (Sponsored by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

9) H.R. 1671 – To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 6937 Village Parkway in Dublin, California, as the “James ‘Jim’ Kohnen Post Office” (Sponsored by Rep. Eric Swalwell / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

10) H.R. 3786 – To direct the Administrator of General Services, on behalf of the Archivist of the United States, to convey certain Federal property located in the State of Alaska to the Municipality of Anchorage, Alaska (Sponsored by Rep. Don Young / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

11) H.R. 3998 – Albuquerque, New Mexico, Federal Land Conveyance Act of 2014 (Sponsored by Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

12) H.R. 3375– To designate the community-based outpatient clinic of the Department of Veterans Affairs to be constructed at 3141 Centennial Boulevard, Colorado Springs, Colorado, as the “PFC Floyd K. Lindstrom Department of Veterans Affairs Clinic” (Sponsored by Rep. Doug Lamborn / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)

13) H.R. 1216 – To designate the Department of Veterans Affairs Vet Center in Prescott, Arizona, as the Dr. Cameron McKinley Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Center (Sponsored by Rep. Paul Gosar / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)

14) H.R. 4199– To name the Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Waco, Texas, as the Doris Miller Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Flores / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)

15) H.R. 3682 – To designate the community based outpatient clinic of the Department of Veterans Affairs located at 1961 Premier Drive in Mankato, Minnesota, as the Lyle C. Pearson Community Based Outpatient Clinic (Sponsored by Rep. Timothy Walz / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)

16) H.R. 4360 – To designate the facility of the United States Forest Service for the Grandfather Ranger District located at 109 Lawing Drive in Nebo, North Carolina, as the “Jason Crisp Forest Service Building” (Sponsored by Rep. Mark Meadows / Agriculture Committee)

17) S.Con.Res. 37 – Authorizing the use of the rotunda of the United States Capitol in Commemoration of the award of the Shimon Peres Congressional Gold Medal (Sponsored by Sen. Kelly Ayotte / House Administration Committee)

On Wednesday and the balance of the week, the House will consider the FY2015 spending bill for the Department of Defense, and bill (H.R. 4413) to reauthorize the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).  The House will also vote on a motion to go to conference and instructions for conferees to reconcile House and Senate versions of the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014.

The Senate:

The Senate on Monday evening will begin consideration of a number of judicial nominees.  On Tuesday, after these nominees are confirmed, the Senate will move to consider a package of three spending bills for FY2015: Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science (C-J-S), and Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD).

White House:

On Monday, the president and first lady will return to Washington from Palm Springs, Calif.  On Tuesday, President Obama will travel to TechShop Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Penn. to deliver remarks on the economy. Following this, he will travel to New York City to attend the DNC LGBT Gala and take part in another DNC Event. On Wednesday, the president will host the first ever White House Maker Faire and meet with students, entrepreneurs and everyday citizens who are using new tools and techniques to launch new businesses, learn vital skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and fuel the renaissance in American manufacturing.  On Thursday, President Obama will award Corporal William “Kyle” Carpenter, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.), the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. On Friday, he will meet with Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership, climate change, and military-to-military cooperation.  The two leaders are also expected to engage on the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, regional maritime security issues, and global security issues.

On Monday, Vice President Joe Biden travels to Natal, Brazil to attend the USA v. Ghana FIFA World Cup match. Later in the week, he will travel to Guatemala where he will meet with President Pérez Molina, and he will also meet with President Sánchez Cerén of El Salvador and the senior representative of the Honduran government, Coordinator General Jorge Ramón Hernández Alcerro, to address the rise and flow of unaccompanied children to the United States, to discuss our security and economic support for the countries of Central America, and more generally, to increase our cooperation in the region.

Also this week and beyond:

GOP Leadership Election – Following Majority Leader’s surprising loss in his primary against David Brat last week and subsequent resignation from House leadership, House members will vote to fill the Majority Leader and Whip positions.  Despite a late challenge from Congressman Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), current Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is widely expected to easily win the Majority Leader position. The race to replace McCarthy as Whip, has become more contentious, however, with current Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) squaring off against Republican Study Committee Chairman Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.).  While things remain in flux, Congressman Stutzman, best known previously for comments during the government shutdown, appears to have peeled votes away from Scalise as both are appealing to movement conservatives to make the case for a more right-wing voice in Leadership.  Roskam over the weekend attempted to address these concerns in a letter to colleagues.  Despite intense lobbying on all sides, for now, Scalise remains marginally ahead of Roskam with Stutzman gaining ground.

Immigration – With all focus on Leadership elections this week, the path forward for immigration reform in the House remains uncertain.  The House has a light agenda this week while Republicans sort out their internal affairs.  The House Judiciary Committee, however, is planning on moving forward with a hearing also on Thursday aimed to link immigration reform with the rise in unaccompanied minors.

Appropriations – The Senate this week will consider a “minibus,” three spending bills wrapped into one: Agriculture, C-J-S, and THUD.  After the end of the fiscal fights, Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) is eager to return to a more normalized appropriations process and move all 12 spending bills to the floor.  Across the Hill, the appropriations process is somewhat on hold until after Leadership elections.  While the House will vote on the Department of Defense spending bill this week, Leadership had to pull Agriculture off the floor last week and this is not likely to resurface any time soon.  Despite a commitment to return to “regular order” in the House with appropriations, the internal disarray makes next steps highly ambiguous.

Financial Regulations – Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray is scheduled to deliver his semi-annual report to Congress to the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday. Director Cordray appeared in the Senate last week.

Workforce Investment Act – A compromise reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act is scheduled for consideration in both the House and Senate during the June work period.

Nominations – The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday on San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro’s nomination to Secretary of Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This Week in Immigration Reform – Week Ending June 13

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Week Ending June 13, 2014

This week in immigration reform: After the shocking loss in the district primary of Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), polls find that Rep. Cantor did not lose his primary because of immigration as 72 percent of voters in his district support comprehensive immigration reform; 10 GOP pollsters confirm that Americans want immigration reform done and that doing so will not hurt Republican representatives during their primaries; and in the wake of last week’s release of the new DACA renewal form, NCLR has released a guide to help applicants get information about  the process.

–Voters in Rep Eric Cantor’s District support Immigration Reform. While some commentators were quick to blame Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s surprising defeat in his district primary on immigration reform, exit polling data suggested that the majority of Republican primary voters in the district support immigration reform. Polling found that 72 percent of voters in Cantor’s district support immigration reform. In South Carolina, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a strong supporter of immigration reform, won his primary handily, winning nearly 60 percent of the vote and avoiding a run-off.  A number of people responded that the Majority Leader’s loss in the primary did not mean that immigration reform efforts are dead- including Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, Tom Donahue, Reps. Becerra and Gutierrez. Rep. Terry Lee from Nebraska said that other factors led to the primary result more than immigration did.  As Politico points out, polling conducted by conservatives and progressives shows widespread support for reform among voters in the Rep. Cantor’s district.  Rep. McCarthy is expected to be elected the next Majority Leader and advocates continue to urge him and House Republican leadership to give us a vote on immigration.

10 GOP Pollsters confirm that Americans support Immigration Reform. A group of conservative pollsters conducted a national survey of 800 registered voters in May of 2014. They found that 71 percent of Americans support comprehensive immigration reform. The poll established that Republican registered voters supported the proposal by even higher margins, with 81 percent support. The poll also confirmed that among voters who opposed amnesty 75 percent would support an immigration proposal similar to the Senate Bill (S-744). The poll also confirmed that supporting comprehensive immigration reform is smart politics for Representatives as 66 percent of Republican voters said they’d most likely vote for a candidate that supported immigration.

–Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Renewal Guide and FAQ. NCLR has released a factsheet with information and resources that applicants can use when navigating the process. Click here for more information about the renewal process and the requirements for first time applicants.

NCLR and affiliates in action.

  • California: NCLR affiliate TODEC hosted two phone banks in support of immigration reform this past week in California. Over a hundred calls were generated into the offices of Rep. Issa and Gary Miller.

ImmReformUpdate_6_13_2014Volunteers calling into the offices of Reps. Issa and Gary Miller asking for a vote on immigration reform

  • Ohio: Former ELC grantee, HOLA, held a rally in front of the Cleveland ICE office to call on the director of the office to implement ICE policy of granting prosecutorial discretion in cases that are not a priority for removal.  HOLA and community leaders rallied around Luis Padilla, a husband and father of 3 U.S. citizen sons who has lived in Ohio for ten years and contributing to his community.

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NCLR urges you honor Father’s Day by joining us in the fight for immigration reform.  Every day, approximately 1,100 people are deported and we need a solution.Fathers_day_sharegraphic (2)

Congressional Immigration Scorecard

NCLR and five other national Latino organizations just issued preliminary scores to all 435 members of the House for their actions on immigration reform. They have through June to improve their performance before final scores are delivered to Latino voters in July. Pictured below are the scores for the House Republican leadership. Click here or see below to see how your member of Congress scored.

(Click to enlarge)