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Capitol Hill Update: November 11, 2019

11/11/2019

Schedule:

The House and Senate are in session this week.

There are eight legislative days for the House and Senate until the current continuing resolution (CR) expires on Thursday, November 21. There are 16 scheduled legislative days left for the House until the end of the year and 19 scheduled legislative days for the Senate. We’re hearing rumors that the House may be in session during the week of December 16.

House:

The House returns tomorrow. Legislative business begins at 2:00 pm. Votes are postponed until 6:30 pm. There are 18 bills coming to the floor under suspension of the rules between today and tomorrow. The suspensions are listed below. Additional legislation could be added to the calendar.

  • H.R. 4625, Protect the GI Bill Act
  • H.R. 4477, Reducing High Risk to Veterans and Veterans Services Act
  • H.R. 4771, VA Tele-Hearing Modernization Act
  • H.R. 4360, VA Overpayment Accountability Act
  • H.R. 4356, Protecting Families of Fallen Servicemembers Act
  • H.R. 4162, GI Bill Planning Act
  • H.R. 3996, VA Design-Build Construction Enhancement Act
  • H.R. 1424, Fallen Warrior Battlefield Cross Memorial Act
  • H.R. 3224, Deborah Sampson Act
  • H.R. 4803, Citizenship for Children of Military Members and Civil Servants Act
  • H.R. 4258, Reauthorizing Security for Supreme Court Justices Act
  • H.R. 1663, Foundation of the Federal Bar Association Charter Amendments Act
  • H.R. 3537, Veteran Entrepreneur Training Act
  • H.R. 3661, Patriotic Employer Protection Act
  • H.R. 499, Service-Disabled Veterans Small Business Continuation Act
  • H.R. 3734, SERV Act
  • H.R. 1615, VA-SBA Act
  • H.R. 1773, Rosie the Riveter Congressional Gold Medal Act

The House Rules Committee will meet at 5:00 pm tomorrow to consider the rule and amendments for the United States Export Finance Agency Act, H.R. 4863. As of Sunday evening, 35 amendments had been filed. Additional legislation could be added to the calendar.

On October 29, the House Financial Services Committee marked up the United States Export Finance Agency Act by a vote of 30 to 27. Every Republican on the committee opposed it. Republicans were joined in opposition to the bill by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.). The United States Export Finance Agency Act renames Ex-Im to the United States Export Finance Agency, reauthorizes it through FY 2029 increases the statutory loan and guarantee authority gradually from $145 billion in FY 2020 to $175 billion in FY 2026 through FY 2029. The current statutory loan and guarantee authority is $135 billion. The bill also included procedures that allow the Bank to continue doling out subsidies in the event that it lacks a quorum. Other changes are largely cosmetic and don’t really do anything.

On Wednesday at 10:00 am, the House Judiciary Committee will markup H.J.Res. 79, which would remove the deadline for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. The Equal Rights Amendment was sent to the states for ratification on March 22, 1972. Congress, however, included a seven-year deadline in the preamble of the joint resolution, setting a deadline of March 22, 1979. In October 1978, Congress extended the deadline to June 30, 1982. By January 1977, 35 states ratified the Equal Rights Amendment. No states ratified the amendment after the deadline was extended. Five states -- Nebraska, Tennessee, Idaho, Kentucky, and South Dakota -- have attempted to rescind ratification, but whether or not a state can rescind ratification of a constitutional amendment is murky. Two states -- Nevada and Illinois -- have ratified the amendment since 2017. Thirty-eight states are needed for ratification, and it’s thought that the Virginia General Assembly will take up the amendment next year. Absent a removal of the deadline, the Supreme Court, in Dillon v. Gloss (1921), has allowed Congress to set a deadline for the ratification of a proposed constitutional amendment.

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) will hold two open hearings this week, one on Wednesday at 10:00 am and another on Friday at 11:00 am, to hear testimony from three witnesses. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine and current Chargé d'Affaires to the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine William Taylor and State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for European Affairs George Kent will testify on Wednesday. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch will testify on Friday. Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has invited HPSCI Republicans to request witnesses, and Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) has listed several individuals, including Hunter Biden, Kurt Volker, and the whistleblower. Of course, Schiff has veto power over the witnesses, and he has declined to bring the whistleblower and Biden to HPSCI as witnesses. A vote on articles impeachment before Christmas is likely.

On Friday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) would temporarily take the place of Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) on HPSCI. Jordan, who serves on Oversight and Reform and Judiciary, is being added because of his ability to examine a witness in an open hearing setting. Although committee members on select committees may be changed, House rules do require the Speaker to sign off. Presumably, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has granted the addition of Jordan to HPSCI.

The committee schedule for the week is here.

Senate:

The Senate will return tomorrow at 3:00 pm and resume consideration of Chad F. Wolf to serve as an under-secretary at the Department of Homeland Security. Around 5:30 pm, the chamber will vote on the cloture motion to limit debate. A cloture motion was also filed for Steven J. Menashi to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. It’s unclear to us what else could be on the Senate floor this week.

The committee schedule for the week is here.