Capitol Hill Update: March 5, 2018


The House and Senate are in session this week.


There are a lot of bills on the suspension calendar on Monday and Tuesday. The seven suspensions on Monday are for the naming of post office buildings. Bills on the suspension calendar for Tuesday include the Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act, H.R. 2226; RAY BAUM’S Act, H.R. 4986; and the Whistleblower Protection Extension Act, H.R. 4043.

On Wednesday, the House will take up the Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns (BRICK) Act, H.R. 1917. The bill combats a 2015 EPA rule that will impose as much as $100 million in compliance costs. The BRICK Act simply extends the rule’s compliance dates. On Thursday, the chamber will consider the Satisfying Energy Needs and Saving the Environment (SENSE) Act, H.R. 1119. The bill would allow power plants that burn coal refuse to be held to different emissions standards than the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS). No votes are expected on Friday. 

The House is expected to move first on an omnibus spending bill, taking it up the week of March 12. The Senate will take up the bill the following week. The current continuing resolution, which was part of the Bipartisan Budget Act, runs through March 23. 

What riders will be attached to the omnibus aren’t clear, but there are plenty of rumors floating around. A bailout for health insurance companies pushed by Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) is possible. The Internet sales tax, likely along the lines of the Remote Transactions Parity Act, H.R. 2193, has also been a rumored addition. Several conservative groups, including FreedomWorks, signed a recent letter in opposition to Remote Transactions Parity Act. 

The full committee schedule for the week can be found here.


The Senate will convene at 3:00 pm on Monday to consider the nomination of Karen Gren Scholer to serve as a judge for the Northern District of Texas. The chamber will likely proceed to a vote around 5:30 pm. 

The Senate is likely to proceed to the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, S. 2155. The bill, sponsored by Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), would reform the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The Congressional Research Service has a good explanation of what each title of the bill would do. The section-by-section is available here.

Although the bill has bipartisan support, cosponsored by the likes of Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) opposes it. The Center for American Progress has called the bill "a massive corporate giveaway."

The House has already passed the Financial CHOICE Act, H.R. 10, which would have repealed and replaced parts of Dodd-Frank. The Heritage Foundation notes, however, that there "is sufficient overlap between the policies in the Senate and House bills that Congress can enact important financial regulatory reforms." FreedomWorks supported the Financial CHOICE Act, including the vote on our scorecard for 2017. 

The full committee schedule for the week can be found here.