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Capitol Hill Update: April 8, 2019

04/08/2019

Schedule:

The House and Senate are in session this week.

House:

The House will return today. Legislative business begins at 2:00 pm. Votes are postponed until 6:30 pm. The chamber will be in session only three days this week. There are a total of eight bills coming to the floor on suspension this week on Monday and Tuesday. No votes are expected on Thursday and Friday.

  • H.Con.Res. 16, Authorizing the use of the Capitol Grounds for the National Peace Officers Memorial Service and the National Honor Guard and Pipe Band Exhibition
  • H.Con.Res. 19, Authorizing the use of the Capitol Grounds for the Greater Washington Soap Box Derby
  • H.R. 1331, Local Water Protection Act
  • H.R. 639, To amend section 327 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to clarify that National Urban Search and Rescue Response System task forces may include Federal employees
  • H.R. 559, Northern Mariana Islands Long-Term Legal Residents Relief Act
  • H.R. 2030, Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Authorization Act
  • H.R. 1759, BRIDGE for Workers Act
  • H.R. 1957, Taxpayer First Act

There are two rule bills this week. The House will consider the “Save the Internet Act,” H.R. 1644. This bill would undo the Federal Communications Commission’s Restoring Internet Freedom Act and restore the regulation of the Internet through Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, essentially treating Internet service providers as public utilities. The Restoring Internet Freedom Order represents the “light-touch” approach to the Internet that once had broad bipartisan support and encourage investment in broadband. H.R. 1644 represents the heavy-handed regulatory regime imposed by the Obama administration that led to a decline in investment. With the United States entering the 5G era, it’s a terrible idea to shift back to the regulatory regime that stifled innovation and investment. FreedomWorks will score against H.R. 1644 on our 2019 Congressional Scorecard.

The other rule bill this week is the “Investing for the People Act,” H.R. 2021. This bill would bust the discretionary spending caps relative to current law over two fiscal years. Really, the short title for H.R. 2021 should be the “Bankrupting the People Act.” As the Congressional Budget Office noted, the discretionary spending caps for FY 2020 and FY 2021 are expected to be $1.214 trillion and $1.241 trillion. H.R. 2021 would increase the spending caps to $1.396 trillion in FY 2020 and $1.420 trillion in FY 2021, a total of $360.8 billion. FreedomWorks will score against H.R. 2021.

The House Rules Committee will consider the rules governing debate for H.R. 2021 and H.R. 1644, on Monday at 5:00 pm. The amendment deadline for H.R. 1644 is Monday at 10:00 am. The deadline for H.R. 2021 is Monday at 2:00 pm.

The committee schedule for the week is here.

Senate:

On Tuesday, the Senate voted on the cloture motion to proceed to S.Res. 50, which would have lowered post-cloture time from 30 hours to two hours for district court and sub-cabinet level nominees. The cloture motion was rejected by a 51 to 48 vote. The following day, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) raised a point of order to change the precedent for post-cloture time for nominees that fall under Level I of the Executive Schedule under 5 U.S.C. 5312. The point of order wasn't sustained. He appealed the ruling, with 51 senators, all Republicans, voting to overturn the ruling from the chair and create the new precedent. Considering that the Senate works 2.5 days each week and Leader McConnell hadn’t forced Democrats to come to the floor to talk when they want to run the clock on a nominee, it’s hard to say all options were exhausted before such a dramatic move was taken. Who knows what comes next, but Republicans will likely wish they hadn’t made this change the next time they’re in the minority.

The Senate will return Monday at 4:00 pm. Before adjournment, Leader McConnell filed cloture on six nominees. Typically, the order in which they were filed is the order they’re considered, which we’ve listed below.

  • Daniel Domenico to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court for the District of Colorado
  • Patrick Wyrick to serve as a judge U.S. Court for the Western District of Oklahoma
  • Cheryl Stanton to serve as the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division at the Department of Labor
  • John Abizaid to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Holly Brady to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court for the Northern District of Indiana
  • David Morales to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court for the Southern District of Texas

The committee schedule for the week is here.