Weekly Washington Outlook — December 1, 2014


What to Watch This Week:



The House returns from its Thanksgiving to consider a number of bills under suspension of the rules:

1)H.R. 5683 – Ensuring Access to Justice for Claims Against the United States Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Ron DeSantis / Judiciary Committee)

2)H.R. 5421 – Financial Institution Bankruptcy Act of 2014, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Spencer Bachus / Judiciary Committee)

3)H.R. 4924 – Bill Williams River Water Rights Settlement Act of 2014, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Paul Gosar / Natural Resources Committee)

4)S. 2040 – Blackfoot River Land Exchange Act of 2014 (Sponsored by Sen. Mike Crapo / Natural Resources Committee)

5)H.R. 5050 – May 31, 1918 Act Repeal Act (Sponsored by Rep. Mike Simpson / Natural Resources Committee)

6)H.R. 2455 – Nevada Native Nations Lands Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Mark Amodei / Natural Resources Committee)

7)H.R. 3572 – To revise the boundaries of certain John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System units in North Carolina, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Mike McIntyre / Natural Resources Committee)

8)H.R. 3410 – Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks / Homeland Security Committee)

9)H.R. 5629 – Strengthening Domestic Nuclear Security Act of 2014, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Patrick Meehan / Homeland Security Committee)

10)H.R. 3438 – National Laboratories Mean National Security Act (Sponsored by Rep. Eric Swalwell / Homeland Security Committee)

The balance of the week, the House will consider the following under suspension of the rules:

1)H.R. 5714 – Pest Management Records Modernization Act (Sponsored by Rep. Kurt Schrader / Agriculture Committee)

2)H.R. 5739 – No Social Security for Nazis Act (Sponsored by Rep. Sam Johnson / Ways and Means Committee)

3)H.R. 4569 – Disclosure Modernization and Simplification Act of 2014, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Scott Garrett / Financial Services Committee)

4)H.R. 4200 – SBIC Advisers Relief Act of 2014 (Sponsored by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer / Financial Services Committee)

5)H.R. 5471 – To amend the Commodity Exchange Act and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to specify how clearing requirements apply to certain affiliate transactions, and for other purposes (Sponsored by Rep. Gwen Moore / Financial Services Committee)

6)H.R. 3240 – Regulation D Study Act (Sponsored by Rep. Robert Pittenger / Financial Services Committee)

7)H.R. 4329 – Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Reauthorization Act of 2014, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Steve Pearce / Financial Services Committee)

8)H.R. 2790 – Housing Assistance Efficiency Act (Sponsored by Rep. Scott Peters / Financial Services Committee)

9)H.R. 2366 – World War I American Veterans Centennial Commemorative Coin Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Doug Lamborn / Financial Services Committee)

10)H. Res. 758 – Strongly condemning the actions of the Russian Federation, under Vladimir Putin, which has carried out a policy of aggression against neighboring countries aimed at political and economic domination, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Adam Kinzinger / Foreign Affairs Committee)

11)H. Res. 714– Reaffirming the peaceful and collaborative resolution of maritime and jurisdictional disputes in the South China Sea and the East China Sea as provided for by universally recognized principles of international law, and reaffirming the strong support of the United States Government for freedom of navigation and other internationally lawful uses of sea and airspace in the Asia-Pacific region, as amended(Sponsored by Del. Eni Faleomavaega / Foreign Affairs Committee)

12)S. 2673– United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014 (Sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer / Foreign Affairs Committee)

In addition, the House may consider the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act, legislation related to expired tax provisions and the ABLE Act (H.R. 647), a bill to make it easier to save for care for individuals with disabilities.


The Senate also returns this week from its Thanksgiving break, and has scheduled votes on a number of executive nominees.

White House:

On Monday, the president will meet with members of his Cabinet to discuss federal programs and funding that provide equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies; the vice president will also attend.  After meeting with his Cabinet, President Obama will sit down with young local and national civil rights leaders in the Oval Office; Vice President Biden will also attend.  Later in the afternoon, the president will meet with elected officials, community and faith leaders, along with law enforcement officials, to discuss how communities and law enforcement can work together to build trust to strengthen neighborhoods across the country.

The White House has not released a public schedule for the balance of the week.

Also this Week:

Immigration – House Committees will hold two hearings this week related to the President’s executive actions on immigration.  The Judiciary Committee will examine on Tuesday the legality of administrative relief.  Also on Tuesday, the Homeland Security Committee will hear from Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson about border issues.

Appropriations – Appropriators in the House and Senate are continuing their work on an omnibus spending bill to fund the government when current funding lapses on December 11.  The Chairs and Ranking Members of both Appropriations Committees are expected to meet today to discuss the path forward to prevent a government shutdown later this month.  While Leadership seems committed to avoiding this and has expressed a desire to move an omnibus that would set priorities through September, there are some Republicans who would like to use appropriations to block or limit the President’s executive actions on immigration.  As these are largely fee-based and not subject to annual appropriations, as a token measure, Republicans seem to be coalescing around a plan to pass a “cromnibus.”  Immigration-related agencies in this scenario may be funded through a short-term continuing resolution, while the rest of the government would fall under a longer-term omnibus.  It seems unlikely, however, that this would be an acceptable compromise for Democrats or more vocal Republicans on this matter.  Details and precise next steps remain in flux.

Health – On Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  Witnesses from the Congressional Research Service, the Government Accountability Office, and the Medicaid and CHIP Payment Access Commission will testify about reauthorizing the program.  Also on Wednesday, actuaries for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will release a report detailing how much Americans spent on healthcare last year.  This closely-watched annual report is expected to show a decline in spending growth.

Financial Services – House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling and former Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chair Sheila Bair will discuss bank regulation on Tuesday at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council.  Both are expected to speak about the Dodd-Frank Act’s role in reforming and protecting the financial system.

Tax – For several weeks, House Ways and Means, Senate Finance, and House and Senate Leadership staff have been negotiating a legislative package to renew a number of expired tax provisions and make certain changes to permanent law.  As details leaked last week about the scope of this $450 billion deal, the President threatened to veto it in its current state; other liberal Democrats joined him in complaining that the package did not do enough for working families and gave too much to corporate interests.  As described in media accounts, the deal would only include a permanent expansion of the American Opportunity Tax Credit to offset making the research and development tax credit permanent, among others.  By leaving out the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, allegedly for immigration-related reasons, the path forward for the negotiated deal remains uncertain.  While talks are continuing, given the constricted timeline, it seems likely at this stage that the House and Senate will both try to simply pass a one-year extension (covering only last year as they are already expired).  This is an outcome both chambers had wanted to avoid.  As with appropriations, details and precise next steps remain somewhat in flux.