Capitol Hill Update: October 8, 2018


The Senate is in session. The House is in recess.


The Senate will return at 3:00 pm on Tuesday to consider the America’s Water Infrastructure Act, S. 3021. The bill was introduced to rename a federal courthouse. It was used in the House as the vehicle for the water resources development (WRDA) bill. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) filed cloture on the bill on Saturday. We expect a cloture vote to begin on S. 3021 around 5:30 pm. The chamber will also consider the nominations of Jeffrey Bossert Clark and Eric S. Dreiband to serve as an assistant attorneys general and James N. Stewart to serve as an assistant secretary of defense. Leader McConnell filed cloture on the three nominations on Saturday.

Exactly 90 days after he was nominated, Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed on Saturday to serve as the 102nd associate justice of the Supreme Court by a vote of 50 to 48. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) voted against confirmation before switching her vote to present because of the absence of Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who attended his daughter’s wedding. Kavanaugh was sworn in Saturday evening. The president signed Justice Kavanaugh’s commission on Air Force One while in route to Kansas.

Chief Justice John Roberts administered the constitutional oath for Justice Kavanaugh. Former Justice Anthony Kennedy, who Justice Kavanaugh replaced, administered the judicial oath. There will be a ceremonial swearing at the White House tonight at 7:00 pm. Justice Kavanaugh will likely be on the bench to hear oral arguments at the Supreme Court on Tuesday in Stokeling v. United States and United States v. Stitt.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requested with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for, according to Chad Pergram, “the FBI report, transcripts..and any communications to the FBI from Senate Republicans regarding the scope of the investigation.” Separately, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), who is the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, told The New York Times that he plans to investigate the claims of sexual assault against Justice Kavanaugh. For what it’s worth, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) doesn’t seem thrilled with the idea.

The Senate’s committee activity is available here.


The House is in recess until Tuesday, November 13. Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) oversaw the pro forma session in the House on Tuesday and was accosted by pro-marijuana activists on his way to the Capitol. Rep. Luke Messer (R-Ind.) oversaw the pro forma session on Friday. The House will be in pro forma session on Tuesday and Friday of this week.

We missed this last week. Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.) resigned on September 30 after being appointed to the West Virginia Supreme Court by Gov. Jim Justice (R-W.Va.). He ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for the Senate in West Virginia. He was first elected in November 2014. The composition of the House is now 235 Republicans and 193 Democrats. There are seven vacancies in the House. Those vacant seats are FL-06 (DeSantis), MI-13 (Conyers), NY-25 (Slaughter), OK-01 (Bridenstine), PA-07 (Dent), PA-15 (Meehan), and WV-03 (Jenkins).