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Capitol Hill Update: July 8, 2019

07/08/2019

Schedule:

The House and Senate are in session this week.

House:

The House returns tomorrow. Legislative business begins at 2:00 pm. Votes are postponed until 6:30 pm. There are 12 bills coming to the floor under the suspension of the rules between Tuesday and Wednesday.

  1. H.R. 1988, Protect Affordable Mortgages for Veterans Act
  2. H.R. 2515, Whistleblower Protection Reform Act
  3. H.R. 2162, Housing Financial Literacy Act
  4. H.Res. 456, Emphasizing the importance of grassroots investor protection and the investor education missions of State and Federal securities regulators, calling on the Securities and Exchange Commission to collaborate with State securities regulators in the protection of investors, and for other purposes
  5. H.R. 2919, Improving Investment Research for Small and Emerging Issuers Act
  6. H.R. 3050, Expanding Investment in Small Business Act
  7. H.R. 2409, Expanding Access to Capital for Rural Job Creators Act
  8. H.R. 1044, Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act
  9. H.R. 1569, To amend title 28, United States Code, to add Flagstaff and Yuma to the list of locations in which court shall be held in the judicial district for the State of Arizona
  10. S. 998, Supporting and Treating Officers in Crisis Act
  11. S. 744, Effective Prosecution of Possession of Biological Toxins and Agents Act
  12. H.R. 677, 21st Century President Act

The only rule bill this week is the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2020, H.R. 2500. With an overall authorization of roughly $733 billion for FY 2020, the House version comes in at around $17 billion less than the Senate version. H.R. 2500 is broken down $664.1 billion in base spending and $69 billion in overseas contingency operations (OCO) funding. A summary of H.R. 2500 is available here. More than 650 amendments have been filed. Separate bipartisan amendments have been filed that prohibit the use of military force against Iran and Venezuela. The House Rules Committee will meet at 5:00 tomorrow to consider the rule governing debate of H.R. 2500 and which amendments will be made in order for consideration on the floor.

Senate:

After several days of NDAA and disapproval resolutions for arms sales, the Senate is going back to processing nominees. The Senate returns today at 3:00 pm to consider the nomination of Daniel Bress to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. A vote on the cloture motion is expected around 5:30 pm. Six other nominees will be considered this week. This doesn’t include any nominees or legislation that may be voice voted out of the chamber. The rest of the nominees are below.

  • T. Kent Wetherell, II to be a United States District Judge for the Northern District of Florida
  • Damon Leichty to serve as a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court for the Northern District of Indiana
  • J. Nicholas Ranjan to serve as a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
  • Robert King to serve as an Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education at the Department of Education
  • John Pallasch to serve as an Assistant Secretary of Labor
  • Peter Wright to serve as an Assistant Administrator of the Office of Solid Waste at the Environmental Protection Agency

If a deal on the discretionary spending caps isn’t reached before September 30 and no continuing resolution (CR) is passed, discretionary spending would be cut by about $126 billion to $1.118 trillion for FY 2020 because of sequestration under the Budget Control Act, excluding discretionary spending such OCO and emergency relief that doesn’t count toward the caps. That’s a best-case scenario in this Congress. The White House has proposed a one-year CR that would maintain the current $1.244 trillion discretionary spending level through FY 2020. Again, excluding discretionary spending that doesn’t count toward the caps. That’s not good enough for some senators. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) dismissed the White House’s proposal right before the recess. Now, a group of 15 Republicans, led by Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), are pushing back on the proposed CR via a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Acting Director Russ Vought. The argument is that CRs hurt the military. Ironically, Sen. Perdue is the lead sponsor of S.Res. 78, which states that the national debt is a threat to national security.