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Capitol Hill Update: March 11, 2019

03/11/2019

Schedule:

The House and Senate are in session this week.

House:

The House will return on today. Legislative business begins at 2:00 pm. Votes are postponed until 6:30 pm. There are 13 bills coming to the floor on suspension. These bills will be considered today, tomorrow, and Wednesday.

  • H.R. 1122, Housing Choice Voucher Mobility Demonstration Act
  • H.R. 974, Federal Reserve Supervision Testimony Clarification Act
  • H.R. 1414, FinCEN Improvement Act
  • H.R. 758, Cooperate with Law Enforcement Agencies and Watch Act
  • H.Res. 156, Calling for accountability and justice for the assassination of Boris Nemtsov
  • H.R. 596, Crimea Annexation Non-recognition Act
  • H.R. 1404, Vladimir Putin Transparency Act
  • H.R. 1617, KREMLIN Act
  • H.R. 1582, Electronic Message Preservation Act
  • H.R. 1608, Federal Advisory Committee Act Amendments
  • H.R. 736, Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act
  • H.R. 1654, Federal Register Modernization Act
  • H.Res. 206, Acknowledging that the lack of sunlight and transparency in financial transactions and corporate formation poses a threat to our national security and our economy’s security and supporting efforts to close related loopholes

As of now, the only rule bill is H.Con.Res. 24. This is a six-page sense of Congress resolution that the report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller should be given to Congress and made public. The House Rules Committee will meet today at 5:00 pm to consider the rule governing the floor debate of H.Con.Res. 24.

The White House will release President Trump’s FY 2020 budget request this morning, a little more than a month behind schedule. (Section 300 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act requires the budget to be released on the first Monday of February.) Of course, the government shutdown slowed down the release. In recent history, a president’s budget request doesn’t get any traction in Congress. Party leadership and the chairs of the budget committees tend to dictate budget priorities. The relevant documents for the budget will be available here. One piece of news related to the budget is that it will balance in 15 years, which is underwhelming.

The House Budget Committee will hold a hearing on the President’s FY 2020 budget request on Tuesday at 10:00 am. Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought will testify before the committee. He’ll do it all over again on Wednesday at 2:30 pm before the Senate Budget Committee. The Congressional Budget Office will soon release a score of the FY 2020 budget request, as required by Section 300 of the Congressional Budget Act. There will be other hearings for various aspects of the budget in relevant House and Senate committees during the week.

Last week, House Democrats unveiled legislation, the Save the Internet Act, H.R. 1644. The bill would repeal the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Restoring Internet Freedom Order and codify the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order, which treated the Internet as a common carrier until Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, which is what we know as “net neutrality.” The Open Internet Order created an unnecessary regulatory regime and hurt broadband investment. The FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order restored the light-touch approach that allowed the Internet to flourish. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has introduced a companion, S. 682. There will be a House subcommittee hearing on Tuesday at 10:00 am on the proposed legislation.

Two House Oversight and Reform subcommittee will have a joint hearing on Wednesday at 2:00 pm on the Fair Chance Act, H.R. 1076. The bill, which FreedomWorks supports, would delay inquiries into criminal history for federal jobs and federally contracted applications until the conditional offer stage. The committee looked into the Fair Chance Act in the 115th Congress, but it didn’t mark up the bill. The companion bill, S. 387, has already been marked up in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC).

The committee schedule for the week is here.

Senate:

The Senate will return today at 3:00 pm to resume consideration of the nomination of Paul Matey to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) filed cloture on his nomination Thursday afternoon. A vote on the cloture motion for Matey’s nomination is expected around 5:30 pm. Leader McConnell filed cloture on two other nominees on Thursday, Neomi Rao to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and William Beach to serve as the commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Rao and Beach are expected to be considered this week. FreedomWorks is scoring in support of Rao’s nomination.

We’re not sure exactly when H.J.Res. 46 or S.J.Res. 10, the resolution to block President Trump’s emergency declaration concerning the southern border, is hitting the Senate floor this week, but it's expected to pass. At least four Republicans, possibly more, will vote for the resolution. Every Democrat is expected to vote for it.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00 am on two judicial nominees, Daniel Collins and Kenneth Lee, to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circut. Today at 5:40 pm, HSGAC will consider the nominations of Ronald Vitiello to be an Assistant Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and Joseph Cuffari to be Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security. The Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the nominations of Michael Fitzpatrick to be Ambassador to the Republic of Ecuador and Ronald Johnson to be Ambassador to the Republic of El Salvador.

The committee schedule for the week is here.