Capitol Hill Update: July 15, 2019


The House and Senate are in session this week. There are eight legislative days until the August recess and 21 legislative days until September 30, the end of FY 2019.


The House returns today. Legislative business begins at 2:00 pm. Votes are postponed until 6:30 pm. There are 22 bills coming to the floor under the suspension of the rules between Monday and Wednesday. We’ve taken the liberty of removing the five bills remaining post offices from the list.

  • H.R. 2615 – United States-Northern Triangle Enhancement Engagement Act
  • H.R. 2744 – USAID Branding Modernization Act
  • H.Res. 441 – Condemning the attack on the AMA Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in July 1994 and expressing the concern of the United States regarding the continuing, 25-year-long delay in the resolution of this case and encouraging accountability for the attack
  • H.Res. 432 – Condemning the attacks on peaceful protesters and supporting an immediate peaceful transition to a civilian-led democratic government in Sudan
  • H.Res. 345 – Recognizing widening threats to freedoms of the press and expression around the world, reaffirming the centrality of a free and independent press to the health of democracy, and reaffirming freedom of the press as a priority of the United States in promoting democracy, human rights, and good governance on World Press Freedom Day
  • H.R. 2037 – Saudi Arabia Human Rights and Accountability Act
  • H.Res. 129 – Condemning the Government of Saudi Arabia’s continued detention and alleged abuse of woman’s rights activists
  • H.R. 97 – RAWR Act
  • H.R. 526 – Cambodia Democracy Act
  • H.R. 277 – ASCEND Act
  • H.R. 2142 – To amend the Small Business Act to require the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman to create a centralized website for compliance guides, and for other purposes
  • H.R. 2331 – SBA Cyber Awareness Act
  • H.R. 1649 – Small Business Development Center Cyber Training Act
  • 14) H.R. 2345 – Clarifying the Small Business Runway Extension Act
  • H.R. 748 – Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act
  • H.R. 1847 – Inspector General Protection Act
  • H.R. 736 – Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act

The House Rules Committee will meet today at 5:00 pm to consider the rules and amendments for legislation that will be considered on the floor this week. Not only is the House considering 22 bills on suspension, many of which will pass by voice vote, the chamber is expected to consider six rule bills this week. On Tuesday, the House will take up the Damon Paul Nelson and Matthew Young Pollard Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, H.R. 3494. More than 40 amendments have been filed. The other measure to be considered on Tuesday resolution, the text of which isn’t available at this time, finding Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt of Congress for their failure to comply with subpoenas related to the 2020 Census that were issued by the House Oversight and Reform Committee. It’s, uh, highly unlikely that the Department of Justice will prosecute.

Last month, the Senate passed several resolutions disapproving on arms sales to Saudia Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). On Wednesday, the House will consider three of those resolutions — S.J.Res. 36 (Saudia Arabia), S.J.Res. 37 (UAE), and S.J.Res. 38 (Saudi Arabia). The White House has released statements of administration policy in opposition to these disapproval resolutions, which can be found here, here, and here.

The last bill to be considered this week is the “Raise the Wage Act,” H.R. 582, or more appropriately the Guaranteed Unemployment for Low-Skill and Entry-Level Workers Act. This bill would gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour over five years and, after the five-year phase-in, require the Secretary of Labor to annually determine a percentage increase based on the percent increase of the median hourly wages of all employees. It would also phase-out the federal $2.13 minimum wage for tipped workers. The end result of this bill would be reduced employment and reduce hours, as well as higher prices for virtually everything consumers buy. Low-skill and entry-level workers will ultimately take most of the hit. The Congressional Budget Office determined that a $15 per hour minimum wage could cost as many as 3.7 million jobs. The median estimate of job losses is 1.3 million.

The committee schedule for the week is here.


The Senate returns today at 3:00 pm to consider the nomination of Peter Phipps to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. A vote on the cloture motion will happen around 5:30 pm. There are three other nominees expected to be considered this week, as listed below.

  • Clifton Corker to serve as a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee
  • Lynda Blanchard to serve as the Ambassador of the United States of America to the Republic of Slovenia
  • Donald Tapia to serve as the Ambassador of the United States of America to Jamaica

Measures to amend existing treaties with Spain, Switzerland, Japan, and Luxembourg will be on the floor this week. Generally, these treaty protocols seek to avoid double taxation on certain types of income. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had held up consideration of these protocols over concerns of financial information sharing.

The committee schedule for the week is here.