Capitol Hill Update: June 4, 2018


The House and Senate are in session this week.


It’s going to be a long month, and immigration will be the major issue in the House. The discharge petition for H.Res. 774 is only five signatures away from the required 218 signatures for consideration on the floor. H.Res. 774 is a “queen of the hill” rule that would provide for the consideration of the Securing America’s Future Act, H.R. 4760, as well as amendments in the nature of a substitute offered by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), and Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) or their designees. Whichever amendment gets to 218 wins. And if multiple reach 218, the one with the most votes wins.

The House is back in session on Tuesday. Legislative business begins at 2:00 pm. Votes are postponed until 6:30 pm. There are seven bills on the suspension calendar for Tuesday.

  • H.R. 5956, Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act
  • H.R. 1026, North Country National Scenic Trail Route Adjustment Act
  • H.R. 2991, Susquehanna National Heritage Area Act
  • H.R. 5005, To direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study to determine the suitability and feasibility of establishing the birthplace of James Weldon Johnson in Jacksonville, Florida, as a unit of the National Park System
  • H.R. 5655, Camp Nelson Heritage National Monument Act
  • H.R. 801, Route 66 National Historic Trail Designation Act
  • H.R. 3997, Free Veterans from Fees Act

A reminder for those who aren’t familiar with how the suspension calendar works. These bills usually aren’t considered controversial, although leadership will occasionally put a potentially controversial bill on the calendar as a trial balloon. Legislation on the suspension calendar require two-thirds of members present for passage. These bills can also be voice voted out of the chamber.

On Wednesday, the House will take up the Senate amendment to the Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act, H.R. 3249. The bill would establish the Project Safe Neighborhoods Block Grant Program, which would seek to reduce organized crime in communities. The original version of this bill was on the suspension calendar back in March and passed the House by voice vote. This time around, it’s coming to the House floor under a rule.

The other bill on the floor is the Water Resources Development Act, H.R. 8. The bill, which is taken up every two, authorizes federal water projects. More than 100 amendments have been filed with the House Rules Committee. The committee will meet on Tuesday at 5:00 pm to determine which amendments will be allowed under the rule.

We also have an appropriations bill on the floor: The Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, H.R. 5895, will dominate legislative business on Thursday and Friday. More than 150 amendments have been filed. The House Rules Committee meeting to consider amendments is Wednesday at 3:00 pm.

The discharge petition for H.J.Res. 129, a disapproval resolution to cancel the Federal Communication Commission’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order, currently has 124 signatures. All the signers are Democrats. The Senate passed the companion CRA, S.J.Res. 52, on May 16, with Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Kennedy (R-La.), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) breaking ranks to vote with Democrats. We’re keeping a close eye on the discharge petition in the House.

The full committee schedule can be found here.


The Senate will convene at 3:00 pm today to consider the confirmation of Robert Wier to serve as a United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Kentucky. The cloture vote will take place around 5:30 pm. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has also filed cloture on Fernando Rodriguez, Jr. and Annemarie Carney Axon to serve as U.S. District Court judges for the Southern District of Texas and Northern District of Alabama, respectively.

Well, what Leader McConnell says he plans to do for the rest of the year leaves a lot to be desired. According to Roll Call, “The Kentucky Republican said he would prioritize the fiscal 2019 defense authorization, a new farm bill and updated water resources development legislation.” McConnell said that he isn’t interested in “point-scoring amendments” and wants to pass bills “that will be signed into law.” This means that a new authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) may be off the table if the White House doesn’t give a nod of support.

What about immigration?: With the House possibly moving forward on immigration, Well, the Senate already went through that once, and McConnell doesn’t want to go through that again. But he did leave the door open. “If it came out of the House and the president said he was for it,” McConnell said, “I’d obviously consider it.”

The full committee schedule can be found here.