Capitol Hill Update: June 18, 2018


The House and Senate are in session this week.


The House is back in session on Tuesday. Legislative business begins at 2:00 pm. Votes are postponed until 6:30 pm. There are 18 bills on the suspension calendar for Tuesday. Like last week, there is a heavy emphasis on opioids. There are three rule bills scheduled for the remainder of the week, although additional legislation could be added to the calendar.

Between Wednesday and Friday, the House will consider the IMD CARE Act, H.R. 5797; the Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act, H.R. 6082; and the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, H.R. 6. The bills will come to the floor under a structured or closed rule.

The whip check notice on a compromise immigration bill, the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act, went out legislative directors on Thursday, but the whip check was later canceled when the president said he wouldn’t sign the bill into law. The White House later reversed that position. The nearly 300-page Border Security and Immigration Reform Act includes funding for border security and the wall and addresses DACA by allowing those covered to apply for “a 6-year indefinitely renewable contingent nonimmigrant legal status.”

The bill also creates a new merit-based visa program and clarifies the Flores settlement to prevent children from being separated from their families at the border. The Border Security and Immigration Reform Act rivals the Securing America’s Future Act, H.R. 4760. The latter bill is preferred by House conservatives. Neither bill has been posted on the House Rules Committee. The White House is hosting lawmakers tomorrow to discuss a path forward. If there are additional items added to the calendar this week, our bet is that it’ll be these two bills.

The full committee schedule can be found here.


The Senate is back in session at 3:00 pm today and will resume consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act, H.R. 5515. Cloture was invoked on Thursday. The debate over this bill, specifically the amendment process, has created a lot of tension in the Senate Republican Conference. Those tensions boiled over in a conference lunch on Wednesday.

To give you an idea how ridiculous things have gotten, an amendment introduced by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) that clarifies indefinite detention survived a motion to table but most likely won’t be allowed a vote for passage because Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has objected. The amendment reflects the text of the Due Process Guarantee Act, S. 1216. Sen. Graham’s objection really doesn’t make any sense. He actually voted for a similar amendment to the NDAA for FY 2013 back in November 2012. Despite the fact that this amendment received the support of 67 senators, it was removed in conference.

The Senate is likely to consider the White House’s rescissions requests this week. Earlier this month, the House passed the Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act, H.R. 3. Whether the rescissions package has the votes to pass the Senate is unknown. Sen. Lee introduced the companion, S. 2979. Last we heard, it wasn’t clear whether it would be H.R. 3 or S. 2979 that goes to the floor.

The Senate’s version of the Farm Bill, the Agriculture Improvement Act, was marked up last week. The next stop is the Senate floor. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) cast the only vote against the bill in committee. The commodities side has few substantive changes, although the means test for farms is lowered to $750,000 from $900,000. Unlike the House version, the Agriculture Improvement Act doesn’t include work requirements for SNAP, nor does it eliminate broad-based categorical eligibility. This means that if someone qualifies for SNAP or another welfare program, his or her eligibility for SNAP is expedited.

Kathy Kraninger has been picked to serve as the next director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Kraninger currently serves in the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Previously, she worked as a clerk on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security. OMB Director Mick Mulvaney has served as acting director of the CFPB since November. The Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee has jurisdiction over Kraninger nomination.

The full committee schedule can be found here.