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The House and Senate are in session this week.
The House is back in session on Wednesday. Legislative business begins at 2:00 pm. Votes are postponed until 6:30 pm. There are 33 bills on the suspension calendar between today and tomorrow, nine of which are post office building namings. We’ve excluded those in the list.
Although it’s possible that leadership adds other legislation to the calendar this week, only one rule bill is on the schedule. Either Thursday or Friday, the House will consider the Save American Workers Act, H.R. 3798. The bill, which has bipartisan support, would change the definition of a full-time employee from 30 hours per week to 40 hours per week. This is aimed at the requirement under ObamaCare for employers to provide health insurance for full-time employees. The House Rules Committee will meet on Wednesday at 5:00 pm to consider the rule for the bill.
It’s possible that the conference report for H.R. 5895, which is the vehicle for the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bills, will come up this week if an agreement is reached. The House agreed to go to conference on the Defense and Labor minibus, H.R. 6157, and the Interior, Financial Services, Transportation and Urban Development, and Agriculture minibus, H.R. 6147.
Speaking of appropriations, the House and Senate have named the conferees for those remaining two minibus appropriations bills. The Republican conferees for H.R. 6147 are Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, Rep. Robert Aderholt, Rep. Mike Simpson, Rep. Ken Calvert, Rep. Tom Cole, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, Rep. Tom Graves, Rep. David Young, Rep. John Rutherford. The Democratic conferees are Rep. Nita Lowey, Rep. David Price, Rep. Sanford Bishop, Rep. Betty McCollum, Rep. Michael Quigley, and Rep. Chellie Pingree.
The Republican conferees for H.R. 6157 are Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, Rep. Hal Rogers, Rep. Robert Aderholt, Rep. Kay Granger, Rep. Ken Calvert, Rep. Tom Cole, Rep. Steve Womack, Rep. Martha Roby. The Democratic conferees are Rep. Nita Lowey, Rep. Pete Visclosky, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, and Rep. Betty McCollum.
The Senate also named conferees for the two minibuses. The Republican conferees for H.R. 6147 are Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby, Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Sen. John Hoeven, Sen. James Lankford, and Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith. The Democratic conferees are Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Jack Reed, Sen. Tom Udall, Sen. Jeff Merkley, and Sen. Chris Coons. The Republican conferees for H.R. 6157 are Chairman Richard Shelby, Sen. Roy Blunt, Sen. Lindsey Graham, and Sen. Jerry Moran. The Democratic conferees are Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Patty Murray, Sen. Dick Durbin.
The House Ways and Means Committee has not posted a notice on its website, but there have been reports that the committee will begin the markup this week of what has been dubbed “tax reform 2.0.” What we know is that it’ll come in three separate pieces of legislation, one of which will make the individual tax cuts and pass-through business changes permanent. Under current law, the individual tax cuts and pass-through changes expire at the beginning of calendar year 2026. Assuming the committee does markup these bills this week, we expect that they’ll be on the floor before the end of September.
In a statement on Friday, Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said, “August was another solid month of job growth, marking over 1.6 million jobs created this year and the highest level of wage gains since 2009. And we know we can do even better to continue creating greater financial security for our workers and Main Street businesses. That’s why next week we will introduce legislation to make permanent the small business and individual tax cuts that are driving these positive economic numbers. This investment into our workers will produce over a million and a half new jobs, continue to boost wages, and increase America’s competitiveness for years to come. Our economy is growing thanks to Republican policies: let’s keep it that way.”
The Subcommittee on Rules and Organization of the House will meet Thursday at 10:00 am to hearing from members on proposed changes to the House rules for the 116th Congress. There has already been some stories on proposed rule changes. Last week, The Hill reported on a change proposed by Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) to penalize members of the House Republican Conference who voted against rules for bills and sign discharge petitions and possibly punish committee chairmen who voted against leadership priorities. The proposed was said to have “received a warm reception” when pitched to the House Republican Steering Committee.
Some we’ve talked to have focused on the possible punishment for committee chairman, pointing to Appropriations Committee Chairman Frelinghuysen’s vote against the American Health Care Act, H.R. 1628, and Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, H.R. 1. We know there has been frustration over Chairman Frelinghuysen’s votes, but we’ll note he's retiring and that he voted for the rules for both of those bills. This proposed change is at least partially aimed at the 25 House Freedom Caucus members and other House conservatives who voted against the rule for the Consolidated Appropriations Act, H.R. 1625, and the Republicans who signed the discharge petition to set up a “queen of the hill” process on immigration legislation.
The full committee schedule can be found here.
With the swearing-in of Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), the party breakdown in the Senate now stands at 51 Republicans, 47 Democrats, and two independents. Kyl served in the Senate January 1995 and January 2013 and served as the Republican whip between December 2007 and January 2013. He did not seek reelection in 2012.
The Senate will be back in session on Wednesday at 3:00 pm and will consider the nomination of Charles Rettig to serve as the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. A vote on cloture is expected around 5:30 pm. If confirmed, Rettig’s term would end in November 2022.
The Senate is expected to vote this week on the Opioid Crisis Response Act, S. 2680. The bill includes policy priorities of several members. We’re still going through the bill, and we’re betting there will be a manager’s amendment on the floor. That said, the section-by-section is available here.
You're probably wondering what's next for Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Now that the hearing is out of the way, the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote to advance his nomination to the floor. When that vote will take place isn’t clear. The committee hasn’t posted a notice for a business meeting for this week. We’ve heard that Leader McConnell wants Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination on the floor the week of September 24.
The full committee schedule can be found here.