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Capitol Hill Update: June 8, 2020

06/08/2020

Schedule:

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

Senate:

The Senate returns at 3:00 pm today. A roll call vote on the motion to proceed to H.R. 1957, which is the legislative vehicle for the Great American Outdoors Act, is expected around 5:30 pm. The Great American Outdoors Act is expected to take the entire week to process, which perhaps signals that the bill will have an amendment process, something that has become all too rare in the Senate. However, we’re not holding our breath.

The Great American Outdoors Act was introduced as S. 3422 in the Senate, but now H.R. 1957 is being used as a legislative vehicle for this bill. The Great American Outdoors Act would create the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund, which would be financed by revenues collected from the sale of oil, gas, coal, and other energy produced on federally owned land and waters to support deferred maintained projects in federal parks and other federally owned lands. The bill would also make the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) permanent, bringing it outside the annual congressional appropriations process. Critics rightly say that the bill would require the LWCF to purchase more land annually at a time when the federal government already owns roughly 28 percent of land in the United States. The federal government owns a majority of land in a handful of states, including Nevada (80.1 percent), Utah (63.1 percent), and Idaho (61.9 percent).

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) will have a business meeting on Wednesday at 10:00 am to consider several nominations, one of whom is Russ Vought, who has been nominated to serve as the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Vought has served as acting director of OMB since January 2019. His nomination is widely supported by fiscally conservative groups, including FreedomWorks. The Senate Budget Committee will also vote on Vought’s nomination during its Thursday business meeting.

We don’t have a lot of detail, but we expect the Senate Appropriations Committee to begin marking up some of the regular annual appropriations bills toward the end of June, potentially beginning to process some bills in July. The House will begin marking up appropriations bills on July 6. Floor action is expected in late July. Of course, the appropriations process is behind schedule. With a divided Congress, the expectation is another short-term continuing resolution (CR) in September and an omnibus in the lame-duck session.

The Senate Armed Services Committee will begin to markup the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2021 this week. The subcommittee markups will begin today at 2:30 pm and continue through tomorrow. Because of the sensitive nature of the subject matter, the markups will be closed. The full committee will markup NDAA on Wednesday and, possibly, Thursday. The House Armed Services Committee will begin its work on NDAA during the week of June 22 and will have a full committee markup on July 1.

The full Senate committee schedule for the week is here.

House:

The House is in recess this week.

The full House committee schedule for the week is here.