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Capitol Hill Update: March 25, 2019

03/25/2019

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. There are seven bills coming to the floor on suspension. These bills will be considered today and tomorrow.

  • H.R. 920, Venezuela Arms Restriction Act
  • H.R. 854, Humanitarian Assistance to the Venezuelan People Act
  • H.R. 1616, European Energy Security and Diversification Act
  • H.R. 1839, Medicaid Services Investment and Accountability Act
  • H.R. 1477, Russia-Venezuelan Threat Mitigation Act
  • H.R. 1388, Lytton Rancheria Homelands Act
  • H.R. 297, Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians Restoration Act

The House will consider the Paycheck Fairness Act, H.R. 7, and a nonbinding resolution, H.Res. 124, expressing opposition to prohibiting transgendered individuals from serving in the military. The Paycheck Fairness Act would more strictly enforce equal pay statutes that already exist, authorize a negotiation skills training program, and mandate data collection and reports related to pay equity. The bill would also make it illegal for an employer to consider wage and benefit history when considering a potential employee. It imposes civil penalties for violations of this provision. Compliance seems like a nightmare, but the Paycheck Fairness Act is a dream for trial lawyers. H.Res. 124, which is nonbinding, is aimed at the Trump administration’s prohibition on transgendered individuals from serving in the military.

The House Rules Committee will consider the rules governing debate on these bills on Monday at 5:00 pm and determine which of the 23 amendments filed for H.R. 7. No amendments have been filed for H.Res. 124.

The House will also attempt to override President Trump’s veto of H.J.Res. 46. As you know, it takes a two-thirds vote of members present and voting to override a veto. Unless a significant number of Republicans suddenly change their tune, there’s no chance of a successful veto override. Although House and Senate Democrats have complained about the use of the National Emergencies Act (NEA) to redirect funds to build physical barriers in priority sections of the southern border, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) dismissed legislation to amend the law, although that was when there was the potential for a deal to spare President Trump embarrassment in the Senate. President Trump also opposed any legislation to amend the NEA, which ultimately led to the passage of H.J.Res. 46.

The committee schedule for the week is here.

Senate:

The Senate will return today at 3:00 pm to resume consideration of the nomination Bridget Bade to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) filed a cloture motion before the recess. Before the recess, Leader McConnell filed cloture on the motions to proceed to the Green New Deal resolution, S.J.Res. 8, and the Supplemental Appropriations Act, H.R. 268. The timing on consideration of S.J.Res. 8 and H.R. 268 isn’t clear. It’s also not clear how Democrats plan to vote on S.J.Res. 8, although we’ve heard rumors that most will vote present or no. After the disastrous rollout of the original Green New Deal resolution, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) introduced a separate resolution, S.J.Res. 9, that is much more simplistic. S.J.Res. 9 is cosponsored by every Senate Democrat, including the two independents who caucus with them.

Leader McConnell is likely to try force a change to the Senate rules to shorten the amount of post-cloture time for certain nominations. Under current rules, the amount of post-cloture time for a nomination is up to 30 hours divided equally between the two sides. S.Res. 50 would shorten the amount of post-cloture time to two hours for several nominations, including those to district courts, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Of course, the full 30 hours doesn’t have to be used. The thinking is that this will speed up the pace of nominations. Only 64 percent of President Trump’s nominees have been confirmed. Compared to this point in their presidencies, 80 percent of President Obama’s nominees and 81 percent of President Clinton’s nominees were confirmed. There have been 138 cloture votes on President Trump’s nominees, compared to 17 for President Obama and 10 for President Clinton.

The committee schedule for the week is here.