Weekly Washington Outlook — May 16, 2016

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Photo: Pedro Szekely

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

House:

On Monday, the House will vote on legislation under suspension of the rules, including H.R. 3832 – Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Prevention Act of 2016, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Jim Renacci / Ways and Means Committee). 

On Tuesday and the balance of the week, the House will vote on H.R. 897 – Zika Vector Control Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Bob Gibbs / Agriculture Committee) under suspension of the rules. The House will also consider the following:

  • Democrat Motion to Instruct Conferees on 524Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016
  • R. 4909 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Mac Thornberry / Armed Services Committee)
  • R. 4974Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Charlie Dent / Appropriations Committee)
  • R. ____ – Zika Response Appropriations Act, 2016 (Subject to a Rule)

Senate:

The Senate will vote on Monday evening on a judicial nomination. On Tuesday, the Senate resume consideration of a joint Transportation-Housing and Urban Development and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs (THUD/Milcon-VA) spending bill. The Chamber is scheduled to vote on three Zika-related funding proposals.

White House:

On Monday, the president will host a Medal of Valor ceremony at the White House. The Medal of Valor is awarded to public safety officers who have exhibited exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in the attempt to save or protect others from harm.

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

On Wednesday, the president will participate in a DNC roundtable.

On Thursday, President Obama will award National Medals of Science and National Medals of Technology and Innovation to 17 scientists, engineers, mathematicians and innovators. The Medal of Science recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science, engineering and mathematics. The National Medal of Technology and Innovation recognizes those who have made lasting contributions to America’s competitiveness and quality of life and helped strengthen the Nation’s technological workforce.

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

On Saturday, President Obama will depart Washington en route Hanoi, Vietnam. This trip will highlight the President’s ongoing commitment to the U.S. Rebalance to Asia and the Pacific, designed to increase U.S. diplomatic, economic, and security engagement with the countries and peoples of the region.

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It’s Time to Update Overtime Pay

For the good of American workers, President Obama and the Department of Labor must update the Overtime Salary Threshold

While the cost of living has increased substantially over the last few decades, many government policies have not kept up with it. The overtime salary threshold establishes the maximum salary a worker can make while qualifying for overtime pay. The current threshold, $23,660 per year, is decades-old and lower than the poverty line for a family of four, which is set at $24,008.

The Department of Labor is now considering an update to the overtime rule that would raise that threshold from $23,660 to $50,440, helping 13.5 million workers, which includes 2.1 million Latinos, to receive overtime pay. The economic freedom and stability that comes from earning a fair wage cannot be overstated.

Unfortunately, some members of Congress are attempting to stall consideration of updating the overtime rule, potentially costing millions of Americans the right to earn the pay they deserve. 34.4 percent of all salaried Latino workers would be affected by a reversal of this important policy.

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NCLR has joined with 19 other organizations calling on President Obama and the Department of Labor to implement the proposed update to the overtime salary threshold so millions of Americans, and their families, can lead stable, productive lives. To allow the rule to stay as it has, or even be reversed, would be detrimental to our nation’s economy and workers.

Add your name to our petition telling the President, members of Congress, and the Department of Labor to make this crucial update official. After signing, you will be sent a confirmation email. If you do not confirm your signature through the email, it will not count towards the total number.

Note: This petition is integrated with WhiteHouse.gov’s “We The People” petition platform. If the petition receives 100,000 signatures, the White House will be required to issue an official response.

Help Overtime Make It Past the Finish Line for 13.5 Million Workers

MisHorasExtras_Sharegraphic_Fb_ENG2Congressional Republicans are looking to use an obscure tactic to deny 13.5 million American workers the right to receive overtime pay.

If the White House doesn’t act quickly, Republicans might actually pull it off.

This summer, the U.S. Department of Labor is expected to implement a new overtime rule, which would raise the overtime salary threshold from $23,660 to $50,440—strengthening the right of 13.5 million additional workers, 2.1 million of whom are Latino, to receive overtime pay and the right to earn a fair living.

Unfortunately, certain members of Congress are eager to steal this victory from workers by running out the clock on President Obama. The Congressional Review Act dictates that all major rules are delayed for 60 legislative days after they are submitted to Congress and are subject to a fast track process for repeal. That process has to end before President Obama leaves office to guarantee a veto of any congressional resolution of disapproval.

If the Labor Department does not act soon, Congress will reverse this critical protection for millions of workers, including 34.4 percent of all salaried Latino workers.

Sign the petition calling on President Obama and the Department of Labor to implement a new overtime rule that will increase workers’ wages and rebuild our middle class.

Note: This petition is integrated with whitehouse.gov’s “We The People” petition platform. If we get 100,000 signatures the White House will send an official response. Please add your name, then click the confirmation email after signing. If you don’t click the confirmation email, your signature won’t count.

Weekly Washington Outlook — June 22, 2015

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What to Watch This Week:

 Congress:

House:

On Monday, the House is not in session.

On Tuesday, the House will meet at 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. 805 – Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters (DOTCOM) Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. John Shimkus / Energy and Commerce Committee)

2) H.R. 2576 – TSCA Modernization Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. John Shimkus / Energy and Commerce Committee)

3) H.R. 893 – Boys Town Centennial Commemorative Coin Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry / Financial Services Committee)

4) H.R. 1698 – Bullion and Collectible Coin Production Efficiency and Cost Savings Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Huizenga / Financial Services Committee)

5) H.R. 2620 – To amend the United States Cotton Futures Act to exclude certain cotton futures contracts from coverage under such Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. David Scott / Agriculture Committee)

6) H.R. 1633 – DHS Paid Administrative Leave Accountability Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Barry Loudermilk / Homeland Security Committee)

7) H.R. 1615 – DHS FOIA Efficiency Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Buddy Carter / Homeland Security Committee)

8) H.R. 1640 – Department of Homeland Security Headquarters Consolidation Accountability Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Mark Walker / Homeland Security Committee)

9) H.R. 1626 – DHS IT Duplication Reduction Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Will Hurd / Homeland Security Committee)

10) H.R. 2390 – Homeland Security University-based Centers Review Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Bennie Thompson / Homeland Security Committee)

11) H.R. 1637 – Federally Funded Research and Development Sunshine Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. John Ratcliffe / Homeland Security Committee)

12) H.R. 2200 – CBRN Intelligence and Information Sharing Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Martha McSally / Homeland Security Committee)

13) H.R. 1646 – Homeland Security Drone Assessment and Analysis Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman / Homeland Security Committee)

14) Concur in the Senate Amendment to H.R. 615 – Department of Homeland Security Interoperable Communications (Sponsored by Rep. Donald Payne / Homeland Security Committee)

Also Tuesday, complete consideration of H.R. 1190 – Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act of 2015 (Subject to a Closed Rule, No Further Debate) (Sponsored by Rep. Phil Roe / Ways and Means Committee / Energy and Commerce 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. 2042 – Ratepayer Protection Act of 2015, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Ed Whitfield / 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. with consideration of H.R. 2822 – Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Ken Calvert / Appropriations Committee). There might also be consideration of legislation related to trade.

Senate:

Today, the Senate will vote on two nominations. Tomorrow and the remainder of the week, the Senate will focus on trade, with a vote on a procedural motion to limit debate on “fast-track” Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation. Senate passage would clear the bill for the president’s signature. There will also be a cloture vote later this week on the legislative vehicle for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). If passed by the Senate, that bill would go back to the House, where its passage is anything but assured.

White House:

On Monday, the president will host an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan at the White House.

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

On Wednesday, the president will host a reception at the White House in recognition of LGBT Pride Month.

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

Supreme Court

By the end of June, the Supreme Court is set to hand down numerous decisions, including on three significant cases. As noted above, King v. Burwell will decide the availability of tax subsidies for those who enrolled in health insurance through the federal exchange under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with a decision against the government potentially leading to the disruption of health care coverage for millions of people. A decision on Obergefell v. Hodges will determine if the Constitution requires states to allow same-sex marriages and if states must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states that allow it. In Texas Department of Housing and Community Affiars v. The Inclusive Communities Project the Court will decide on whether disparate-impact claims are viable under the Fair Housing Act.

Also This Week:

Appropriations – The Senate Appropriations Subcommittees will continue mark-up of their versions of spending bills for FY2016. Up on Tuesday are Transportation-HUD and Labor-HHS-Education. Senate Democrats have vowed to vote against procedural motions on the floor for any appropriations bill that upholds sequestration spending levels. The House Appropriations Committee plans a mark-up Wednesday on their Labor-HHS-Education spending bill. The measure would slash programs by $3.7 billion, with education taking the biggest hit.

Education – The Student Success Act (H.R. 5) remains off this week’s House schedule despite its inclusion in Majority Leader McCarthy’s memo for this work period. Instead, attention remains on the Senate where members are preparing ESEA reauthorization for introduction after the July 4 recess, at the earliest. The business and civil rights community is continuing to work toward bipartisan support of an amendment to strengthen the accountability system in the bill.

Health – The House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee is holding a hearing on Wednesday on health insurance premiums under the ACA. In anticipation of a King v. Burwell decision, House and Senate Republicans are preparing a response. Senator Johnson (R-Wis.) has crafted the most likely legislative proposal, which would reportedly block new enrollments in the federal health care exchange, but would extend tax credits for two years for those already enrolled. Repeal of the ACA would increase the budget deficit by an estimated $353 billion according to a recent Congressional Budget Office assessment.

The House Education and the Workforce Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee is holding a hearing on Wednesday titled “Child Nutrition Assistance: Looking at the Cost of Compliance for States and Schools” and the House Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee and House Agriculture Committee Nutrition Subcommittee are holding a joint hearing on the “Past, Present, and Future of SNAP: How Our Welfare System Can Discourage Work.”

Labor – The Department of Labor is expected to announce a long-awaited overtime rule that could double the salary level of workers able to claim time-and-a-half payments. Republicans are expected to fight the rule, with a House Education and Workforce hearing earlier this month indicating staunch opposition to any regulatory proposal seen as an overreach.

Consumer Protections – This Thursday the House Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee is holding a hearing on “Examining Continuing Allegations of Discrimination and Retaliation at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau” with testimony from two whistleblowers after reports that worker complaints against the agency have increased.

Civil Rights – The House Judiciary Committee is holding a listening session on criminal justice reform this Thursday and the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice will hold a Friday hearing titled “The State of Property Rights in America Ten Years After Kelo v. City of New London.”