Capitol Hill Update: February 13, 2017


The House and Senate are in session this week.


The theme in the House on Monday is veterans. The House will consider H.R. 512, the WINGMAN Act, introduced by Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.); H.R. 244, the HIRE Vets Act, introduced by Rep. Paul Cook (R-Calif.); and H.R. 974, the BRAVE Act, introduced by Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.). These bills are on the suspension calendar and should easily pass the lower chamber.

On Tuesday, the House will consider H.R. 428, Red River Gradient Boundary Survey Act, introduced by Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas). The bill, which is subject to a rule to limit amendments, requires the Bureau of Land Management to survey and identify the south bank of the Red River along the border of Texas and Oklahoma.

For the remainder of the week, the House will consider more resolutions of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to cancel rules finalized by federal agencies between June 13 through the end of the Obama administration. Three of the resolutions – H.J.Res. 42, H.J.Res. 66, and H.J.Res. 67 – relate to rules finalized by the Department of Labor. H.J.Res. 43 deals with a Title X rule finalized by the Department of Health and Human Services. H.J.Res. 69 disapproves of a Department of the Interior relating to national wildlife refuges in Alaska.


On Monday evening, the Senate will proceed to final confirmation votes on Steve Mnuchin to serve as secretary of the Department of the Treasury and David Shulkin to serve as the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The upper chamber invoked cloture on Mnuchin’s nomination Friday morning, shortly after confirming HHS Secretary Tom Price. Democrats aren’t targeting Shulkin, so cloture and the 30 hours of debate that would follow won’t be necessary.

The final confirmation vote for Linda McMahon to serve as administrator of the Small Business Administration is expected Tuesday. Like Shulkin, cloture and 30 hours of debate for McMahon won’t be required.

As of the beginning of the week, the Senate has confirmed eight of President Trump’s cabinet nominees. Several are still awaiting final confirmation votes, including Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R-Okla.) to serve as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) to serve as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.

There is no word when the Senate will schedule confirmation votes on remaining nominees. It’s possible that the Senate will begin proceedings on some of the remaining nominees this week and next week. The Senate, however, is out for its Presidents’ Day recess from February 20 through February 24. It’s incredibly likely that the confirmation votes for some nominees will be pushed into March.

The Senate will likely consider resolutions of disapproval already passed by the House under the Congressional Review Act to cancel rules finalized by federal agencies. FreedomWorks has released key votes in favor of H.J.Res. 36 and H.J.Res. 37 and will release a key vote for H.J.Res. 57. Each of these resolutions were key voted in the House.