Capitol Hill Update: May 6, 2019


The House and Senate are in session this week.


The House will return on Tuesday. Legislative business begins at 2:00 pm. Votes are postponed until 6:30 pm. There are a total of eight bills coming to the floor on suspension this week on Tuesday and Wednesday.

  • H.R. 2002 – Taiwan Assurance Act
  • H.Res. 273 – Reaffirming the United States commitment to Taiwan and to the implementation of the Taiwan Relations Act
  • H.R. 1704 – Championing American Business Through Diplomacy Act
  • H.R. 1520 – Purple Book Continuity Act
  • H.R. 1503 – Orange Book Transparency Act
  • H.R. 1328 – ACCESS BROADBAND Act
  • H.R. 312 – Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act
  • H.R. 375 – To amend the Act of June 18, 1934, to reaffirm the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to take land into trust for Indian Tribes, and for other purposes

There are two rule bills this week, which will be considered on Thursday and Friday. The House Rules Committee will meet on Tuesday at 5:00 pm to consider the rule governing the bills and any amendments. The Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act, H.R. 986, essentially functions as a disapproval resolution, although it’s outside the procedures of the Congressional Review Act (CRA). H.R. 986 is worded very similarly, and it targets the Trump administration’s State Relief and Empowerment Waivers. This guidance was rolled out in October. The State Relief and Empowerment Waivers relate to the State Innovation Waivers under Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act and make easier for states to get waivers to improve access to the nongroup health insurance market. If H.R. 986 passes Congress, the guidance would be nullified. Because H.R. 986 isn’t privileged, the bill will be subject to the 60-vote cloture threshold in the Senate.

The other rule bill is the Supplemental Appropriations Act, H.R. 2157. This is another disaster relief bill. The Senate attempted to take up a supplemental on April 1, but the cloture motion on the bill failed. This version of the supplemental appropriations bill would spend $17.2 billion, almost $4 billion more than the previous supplemental, for disaster relief for Puerto Rico and the midwest. This spending, by the way, is not subject to the spending caps. There more than four dozen amendments to H.R. 2157 pending in House Rules. Additionally, rule governing the bill reauthorizes the National Flood Insurance Program through the end of the fiscal year without even any of the simplest reforms that conservatives have been seeking for as long as the memory allows.

The committee schedule for the week is here.


The Senate will return Monday at 3:00 pm. On Thursday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) filed cloture on six nominations, likely all of whom will be considered on the floor this week in the order below.

  • Joseph F. Bianco to serve as a judge on U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
  • Kimberly A. Reed to serve as the President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States
  • Spencer Bachus, III to serve as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States
  • Judith DelZoppo Pryor to serve as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States
  • Janet Dhillon to serve as a Member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Michael H. Park to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

We expect a vote on the cloture motion for Joseph Bianco around 5:30 pm. This vote will be on the cloture motion.

Obviously, conservatives and libertarians aren’t fans of the Export-Import Bank, but certain protectionists inside the White House have been pushing for the Senate to re-establish a quorum on the Bank’s Board of Governors. There hasn’t been a quorum on the board since July 2015, and the Bank hasn’t been able to grant subsidies exceeding $10 million. The Export-Import Bank has become synonymous with cronyism, doling out subsidies to big businesses like Boeing, Caterpillar, and General Electric. In fact, Boeing received 70 percent of taxpayer-backed loan guarantees and 40 percent of subsidies from Ex-Im between FY 2007 and FY 2014, according to the Mercatus Center. Boeing has since found private financing for its deals and Caterpillar saw record profit shares in the first quarter, although that may not last due to economic concerns in China.

With a quorum on the board for the first time in nearly four years, Ex-Im will be back in business, doling out large loans for corporations can handle their own deals. It also sets the stage for the reauthorization fight for Ex-Im, the current authorization for which expires on September 30.

The committee schedule for the week is here.