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Capitol Hill Update: January 30, 2017

01/30/2017

Schedule:

The House and Senate are in session this week.

House:

The House will vote on bills from the suspension calendar Monday and Tuesday. Typically, bills on the suspension calendar, which require a three-fifths majority, are uncontroversial. Sometimes, though, a questionable bill will make its way on the suspension calendar. The suspension calendar early in the week includes H.R. 584, the Cyber Preparedness Act; H.R. 612, United States-Israel Cybersecurity Cooperation Enhancement Act; H.R. 677, CBRN Intelligence and Information Sharing Act; and the H.R. 678, Department of Homeland Security Support to Fusion Centers Act.

Between Wednesday and Friday, the House will consider resolutions of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to give no force or effect to rules submitted by federal agencies. Passed in 1996, the Congressional Review Act allows Congress to overturn rules within 60 legislative days of their submission to the legislative branch. Through the 114th Congress, only one rule, the Department of Labor's ergonomics rule in March 2001, was overturned through the Congressional Review Act.

Congress will try to change that this year. On Wednesday, the House will consider resolutions of disapproval to give no force or effect to the Department of the Interior's Stream Protection Rule and the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Disclosure of Payments by Resource Extraction Issuers rule under Dodd-Frank.

The Stream Protection Rule is aimed at the coal industry and will cost $81 million annually, according to the Department of the Interior's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. The SEC's rule requires resource extraction issuers to include in annual reports the payment of any entity controlled by the regulated business "for the purpose of the commercial development of oil, natural gas, or minerals."

On Thursday, the House will consider resolutions to disapprove of the Social Security Administration's rule relating to improvements of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and the Federal Acquisition Regulation submitted by the Department of Defense (DoD), the General Services Administration (GSA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The NICS is used to conduct background checks for firearms purchased from dealers who possess a Federal Firearms License. The Social Security Administration would collect records of those who are mentally or medically impaired and present them to the attorney general. The agency would also notify individuals that it may be illegal for them to own a firearm because of their mental or medical condition. The Federal Acquisition Regulation complied with an executive order signed by President Barack Obama. It requires contractors that receive contracts from the DOD, GSA, and NASA to comply with often burdensome federal labor laws.

On Friday, the House will consider a resolution to disapprove of the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation rule. The intent of the rule is to "reduce the waste of natural gas from mineral leases administered by the BLM" by requiring leasing operators to reduce waste caused by venting and flaring in oil and gas production. BLM estimated that the rule will cost between $114 million to $279 million annually.

While the House Ways and Means Committee and House Energy and Commerce Committee were due to make their recommendations for ObamaCare repeal on Friday, as required by S.Con.Res. 3, both committees missed the deadline. The Daily Signal reports that Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is projecting that the repeal and replacement of ObamaCare will happen in March or April.

Senate:

The Senate will consider the nomination of Rex Tillerson to serve as secretary of state. The first floor action on the nomination will be a cloture vote, followed by up to 30 hours of debate and a final confirmation vote. It's unclear which other nominees will receive floor consideration this week, but Senate committees of jurisdiction will hold business meetings on nominees.

The Senate Finance Committee will meet Monday to vote on the nomination of Steve Mnuchin to serve as secretary of the Department of the Treasury. The committee will convene again on Tuesday to vote on the nomination of Rep. Tom Price, M.D. (R-Ga.) to serve as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. FreedomWorks has released a key vote in favor of Dr. Price's confirmation.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet Tuesday to vote on the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to serve as attorney general. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee will meet Tuesday to consider the nomination of Betsy DeVos to serve as secretary of the Department of Education.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will meet Tuesday to vote on the nominations of Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) to serve as secretary of the Department of the Interior and former Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) to serve as secretary of the Department of Energy.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will meet Wednesday to vote on the nomination of Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) to serve as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. FreedomWorks has released a key vote in favor of Rep. Mulvaney's confirmation and has driven more than 18,000 contacts to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has said he's leaning against supporting Rep. Mulvaney's nomination.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will meet Wednesday to vote on the nomination of Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R-Okla.) to serve as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. FreedomWorks has released a key vote in favor of Attorney General Pruitt's confirmation and has driven more than 38,000 contacts in support of his nomination.