Weekly Washington Outlook — June 8, 2015

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

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

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

House:

On Tuesday, the House will consider legislation under suspension of the rules:

  • R. 2088 – United States Grain Standards Act Reauthorization Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Mike Conaway / Agriculture Committee)
  • R. 2051 – Mandatory Price Reporting Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Mike Conaway / Agriculture Committee)
  • R. 2394 – National Forest Foundation Reauthorization Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Glenn Thompson / Agriculture Committee)
  • R. 235 – Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (Sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte / Judiciary Committee)
  • R. 889 – Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act (Sponsored by Rep. Steve Chabot / Judiciary Committee)

The House will also consider H. Res. 295 – Supporting local law enforcement agencies in their continued work to serve our communities, and supporting their use of body worn cameras to promote transparency to protect both citizens and officers alike (Sponsored by Rep. Al Green / Judiciary Committee) and will complete consideration of H.R. 2577 – Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016 (Modified Open Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart / Appropriations Committee)

On Wednesday and the balance of the week, the House will vote on

  • R. 2393 – Country of Origin Labeling Amendments Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Mike Conaway / Agriculture Committee)
  • R. 2685 – Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2016 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen / Appropriations Committee)

It is possible members will vote on H.R. 2596 – Intelligence Authorization Act of 2015 and legislation relating to trade.

Senate:

The Senate will resume consideration this week of H.R.1735, Defense Authorization.

White House:

On Monday, the president will attend a G-7 meeting in Germany on energy and climate and a G-7 meeting with outreach guests on terrorism. Afterward, President Obama will participate in a family photo with outreach guests and attend a working lunch on development issues. In the afternoon, the president will hold a press conference before returning to Washington.

On Tuesday, President Obama will attend the Catholic Hospital Association Conference in Washington. The president will discuss what healthcare reform has meant to millions of Americans – not only in terms of improved and affordable coverage options for individuals, but in terms of new rights and protections for all consumers, rising quality of care, and the transformative impact on the economy as a whole.

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

On Thursday, President Obama will attend meetings at the White House and a DNC roundtable in Washington.

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

Also This Week:

Appropriations – The Senate Appropriations Subcommittees will mark-up their versions of spending bills for FY2016. The Commerce-Justice-Science Subcommittee will mark-up its bill on Wednesday and the full Committee will take up this legislation on Thursday.  Senate Democrats have vowed to vote against procedural motions on the floor for any appropriations bill that upholds sequestration spending levels. Elsewhere, the House will complete consideration of its Transportation, Housing and Urban Development bill and defense spending.

Education – After much speculation that the Student Success Act (H.R. 5) could be brought back to the floor this week, it is not currently on this week’s schedule despite its inclusion in Majority Leader McCarthy’s memo for this work period. Instead, all eyes remain on the Senate as members prepare to take up a bipartisan ESEA reauthorization.  There has been some discussion on the Hill that the timing for bringing this bill to the floor could slip to July or even the fall. However, the business and civil rights community is continuing to work to get support on both sides of the aisle for an amendment that would strengthen the accountability system in the bill.

Financial Services – The House will vote this week on a reauthorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, H.R. 2289. The bill would limit the regulatory body’s ability to oversee overseas derivative trades and would modify other rules that stemmed from the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act.

Policing – The House will vote this week on H. Res. 295, a non-binding resolution, that would encourage state and local law enforcement officers to use body-worn cameras.  The goal is to increase transparency and improve police-community relations. The resolution also recognizes the work of law enforcement officers in keeping communities safe nationwide.

Health – The House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday on the implementation of the ACA and the Department of Health and Human Services’ budget request for FY2016. The Senate HELP Committee will also hold a hearing on Wednesday on health information strategies to improve patient care.  Elsewhere, in the wake of a King v. Burwell decision, work is ongoing on possible legislative solutions if the Supreme Court finds against the government. While Republican leadership seems to have coalesced around a proposal by Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) put forward his own version today that would establish “individual health pools” for individuals and small employers.

Tax – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave an interview that was published over the weekend that made clear the Senate would not consider comprehensive tax reform this year. There have been rumors in recent weeks that a broad deal could be attached to must-pass legislation, like highway funding.

Labor – The Department of Labor could announce a long-awaited overtime rule this week that could double the salary level of workers able to claim time and a half payments. The not-yet-announced rule is already controversial with Republican lawmakers. The House Education and Workforce Committee has scheduled a hearing on Wednesday “Reviewing the Rules and Regulations Implementing Federal Wage and Hour Standards.”

Weekly Washington Outlook — March 9, 2015

Photo: Harris Walker, Creative Commons

Photo: Harris Walker, Creative Commons

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

House:

The House is in recess, returning the week of March 16.

Senate:

On Monday evening, the Senate will vote on a series of executive nominations.  Later in the week, the Majority Leader will bring up a bill related to human trafficking from Senator Cornyn (R-Texas).  It is possible the Senate could also confirm Loretta Lynch’s nomination to be attorney general this week.

White House:

On Monday, the president will deliver remarks at the National League of Cities annual Congressional City Conference in Washington, DC. In the afternoon, President Obama will host European Council President Donald Tusk at the White House. The President and President Tusk will discuss a range of issues, including the situation in Ukraine, Russia, economic growth, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), energy security, climate, and countering violent extremism and terrorism.

On Tuesday, the president will travel to Atlanta to deliver remarks at Georgia Tech. He will also attend a DNC event.

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

On Thursday, the president will travel to the Los Angeles area to attend a DNC event.

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

Also this Week:

Immigration – After last week’s procedural vote on Senator Collins’ bill to block and defund the President’s immigration actions, it is unlikely the Senate will take another vote on this in the next few weeks.

Human Trafficking – This week, the Senate will vote on a bipartisan bill sponsored by Senators Cornyn (R-Texas), Wyden (D-Ore.), Kirk (R-Ill.), and Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the “Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.”  The measure was approved unanimously in the Senate Judiciary Committee and is designed to empower law enforcement to crack down on traffickers and provide additional restitution for victims.  Senate staff members believe it is unlikely that this bill will be amended on the Senate floor to include language related to unaccompanied children or the President’s immigration executive actions.

Budget – Next week is budget week!  When the House returns, Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) is scheduled to release his budget resolution on Tuesday, March 17.  Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) has scheduled a two-day mark-up on his version of a budget beginning Wednesday, March 18. The bipartisan budget agreement for the last two fiscal years negotiated by Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senator Patti Murray (D-Wash.) will lapse at the end of this year.  The reconciliation process between the House and Senate budget, expected in the Spring, could include spending cuts long sought by Republicans. It is also likely anti-immigrant amendments related to tax, health, benefit, and other issues could come up in this process.

Debt Limit – The debt limit will once again technically be reached on Sunday, March 15.  Beginning on March 13, the Treasury is expected to use extraordinary measures to prevent default while Congressional Leadership determines how to raise or suspend the statutory limit.  Over the weekend, Majority Leader McConnell said he did not intend to risk a potential default over political brinksmanship.

Nominations – Majority Leader McConnell allegedly plans to bring Loretta Lynch’s nomination to be attorney general to the Senate floor as soon as this week.  He is seeking a time agreement to schedule debate and votes.  Last week, Senate Democrats sent a letter asking for swift confirmation and accusing Republicans of holding this up over the President’s executive actions on immigration.

Education – The Senate HELP Committee is continuing bipartisan negotiations to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (last reauthorized as No Child Left Behind).  After rumors an agreement had been reached last week on a core piece of the bill, the accountability system, it seems any announcement has been postponed until later this month or early April.  In the House, there is some speculation that the Student Success Act could be brought back to the floor next week.  This partisan reauthorization of the law had to be pulled from consideration at the end of February due to lack of support.

Weekly Washington Outlook – June 2, 2014

White House at Night

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

The House:

The House is in recess this week, returning Monday, June 9.

The Senate:

The Senate returns from its recess Monday afternoon to consider a number of pending judicial and executive nominations, including Sylvia Matthews Burwell’s confirmation to be the Secretary of Health and Human Services.  While much of the week will be devoted to nominations, it is possible that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will take-up a bill making it easier to dismiss Veterans Affairs officials for misconduct.  It is also possible later in the week Senate Leadership will bring to the floor legislation that would permit recreational hunting and fishing in federal wilderness areas (S. 2363).

White House:

On Monday, the president will speak on a conference call in the afternoon on the Environmental Protection Agency’s rulemaking to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Later in the evening, he will depart for Warsaw, Poland. On Tuesday morning, President Obama will arrive in Warsaw, where he and President Bronislaw Komorowski of Poland will have an opportunity at the airport to meet with U.S. and Polish airmen who are supporting an aviation mission based at Lask Air Base. Following this event, the president will travel to Belweder Palace to take part in a bilateral meeting and joint press conference with President Komorowski. In the afternoon, the president will travel to the Chancellery of the Prime Minister to participate in a bilateral meeting and deliver statements to the press with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk. Later, he will go to the Presidential Palace to co-host with President Komorowski a meeting with Central and Eastern European leaders. In the evening, the president will attend a Solidarity Dinner at the Royal Castle. On Wednesday, President Obama will hold a bilateral meeting with President-elect Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and then travel to the Royal Castle to take an official family photo with leaders attending the Freedom Day event, marking the 25th anniversary of Poland’s first partially free election. At the Royal Castle, Mr. Obama will deliver remarks commemorating Freedom Day. In the afternoon, he will fly to Brussels, Belgium. In the evening, the president will travel to the Royal Palace of Brussels to meet with King Philippe of Belgium. Afterward, he will attend the 2014 G-7 Summit, which will begin with a leaders working dinner on foreign policy issues. On Thursday, the president will participate in G-7 meetings on the global economy and energy and climate issues and a G-7 working lunch on development. G-7 leaders will also take a traditional “family photo.”  In the afternoon, President Obama will participate in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom. In the evening, the president will travel to Paris, where he will have dinner with President Hollande and remain overnight. On Friday, the president will travel to Normandy, France, to deliver remarks at Omaha Beach for the 70th French-American Commemoration D-Day Ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. In the afternoon, he will travel to Sword Beach to attend a leaders lunch hosted by President Hollande and then attend the Ouistreham International Ceremony.  In the evening, President Obama will depart France en route to Washington. Continue reading