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The House and Senate are in session this week. The House will be in recess between July 27 and September 4. There are 19 legislative days currently scheduled between September 4 and October 12 and 35 legislative days scheduled for the rest of the year. Theoretically, the Senate will work through most of the August recess.
The House is back in session on Monday. Legislative business begins at 2:00 pm. Votes are postponed until 6:30 pm. There are a total of 41 bills on the suspension calendar this week, with the bulk of them being considered on Monday and Tuesday.
There are three bills on the floor this week that deal with health insurance or related issues. The Protect Medical Innovation Act, H.R. 184, is slated for Tuesday. The bill would repeal ObamaCare’s 2.3 percent medical device tax, effective January 1, 2019. The bill boasts 277 cosponsors, including 44 Democrats, so it’ll easily pass.
The health insurance bills on the floor this week are the Increasing Access to Lower Premium Plans and Expanding Health Savings Accounts Act, H.R. 6311 and the Restoring Access to Medication and Modernizing Health Savings Accounts Act, H.R. 6199. These modest health insurance reform bills were approved by House Ways and Means Committee earlier this month. The House Rules Committee will meet on Monday at 5:00 pm for the rules on each bill.
As introduced, H.R. 6311 would have expanded the Affordable Care Act’s premium tax credits to catastrophic plans that are offered off of the exchanges and make them available to all consumers, including those who don’t purchase through the exchange. That’s a slippery slope. If this bill passed, especially under Republican control of the House, it would have been used as a precedent for expanding premium tax credits for other off-exchange plans the next time Democrats are in power. More on that here. Thankfully, the original text is not included in the Rules Committee's version of the bill.
The schedule for the week includes a mention that “additional legislative items are possible.” It also notes that the House could consider the conference report for the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2019, H.R. 5515.
Speaker Ryan named the Republican members of the conference committee for the Agriculture and Nutrition Act, H.R. 2, otherwise known as the Farm Bill. In total, 29 members from nine committees will represent the House in conference. This doesn’t include the Democratic members. The full member list is here.
In case you haven’t heard, Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) will a carbon tax bill today. The bill comes only days after the House passed H.Con.Res. 119, which expresses the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the United States’ economy. Rep. Curbelo was one of six Republicans to vote against the resolution. Another, Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pa.), voted “present.” Our friends at Americans for Tax Reform have some of the details of Rep. Curbelo’s bill. According to ATR's reading of an estimate by the Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy, the bill would increase on net revenues by $800 billion and increase energy prices by $688 per household.
The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to examine the Supreme Court’s Wayfair decision and ramifications for small businesses and consumers. The decision reversed the 1992 decision in Quill, which created the physical nexus requirement for sales and use taxes. The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday at 10:00 am.
The full committee schedule can be found here.
The Senate will return Monday at 3:00 pm to consider the nomination of Robert Wilkie to serve as the secretary of Veterans Affairs. Votes will begin at 5:30 pm. According to the Congressional Record, the Senate will begin work on the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, H.R. 6147. The bill passed the House last week by a vote of 217 to 199.
The confirmation last week of Andrew Oldham to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit marked the 23rd appellate court nominee for the president. Ryan Bounds would have been the 24th, but his nomination was withdrawn by the White House after opposition from Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.). The Senate Judiciary Committee approved four other appellate court nominees last week.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh returned a questionnaire to the Senate Judiciary Committee late last week. The 110-page document includes information about his professional history, published works, membership and affiliations, speaking engagements, and political activities. The questionnaire is a part of the process in scheduling hearings for Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.
The full committee schedule can be found here.