Weekly Washington Outlook — January 12, 2015

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What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

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House:

The House will meet Monday to consider two bills under suspension of the rules:

1) H.R. 203 – Clay Hunt SAV Act (Sponsored by Rep. Tim Walz / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)

2) H.R. 33 – Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act (Sponsored by Rep. Lou Barletta / Ways and Means Committee)

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the House will vote on the following:

1) H.R. 185 – Regulatory Accountability Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte / Judiciary Committee)

2) H.R. 37 – Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick / Financial Services Committee / Agriculture Committee)

3) H.R. 240 – Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2015 (Subject to a Rule)

Senate:

The Senate this week will resume consideration of a bill to require the approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline (S.1).

White House:

On Monday, the president will welcome the 2014 NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs to the White House to honor the team on winning their Championship title. This visit will continue the tradition begun by President Obama of honoring sports teams for their efforts to give back to their communities. The president on Monday will also host an event at the Federal Trade Commission offices in Washington to lay out his next steps in his plan to improve confidence in technology by tackling identity theft and improving consumer and student privacy. He will discuss the next steps in his BuySecure Initiative on consumer financial protection and new efforts to bring more innovation to the classroom by bringing peace of mind to educators and parents.

On Tuesday, President Obama will host bipartisan, bicameral congressional leadership where he will discuss a wide range of issues including places where he hopes we can work together to grow the economy and protect our national security; the Vice President will also attend. Later in the afternoon, the president will travel to the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center to discuss cybersecurity, including efforts to increase voluntary cybersecurity information sharing between the private sector and the government while protecting privacy and civil liberties and to improve the government’s ability to collaborate with industry to combat cyber threats

On Wednesday, President Obama will travel to Iowa where he will lay out new steps to increase access to high-speed broadband across the country.

On Thursday, the president will travel to Baltimore to attend the Senate Democratic Issues Conference. The president and vice president will also travel to Norfolk, Va. to announce new funding to help train Americans to join the cybersecurity workforce.

On Thursday and Friday, President Obama will host Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom at the White House. The president and Prime Minister Cameron will have a working dinner at the White House on Thursday and a meeting in the Oval Office on Friday. The two leaders will discuss a range of issues including economic growth, international trade, cybersecurity, Iran, ISIL, counterterrorism, Ebola, and Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Also this Week:

Appropriations – This week, the House will consider a bill to fund DHS through September 30. As part of the compromise to keep the government open at the end of last year, DHS received only temporary appropriations as a response to the President’s executive actions on immigration. Along with the spending measure, the House is expected to vote on language from Congressmen Aderholt (R-Ala.) and Mulvaney (R-S.C.) that would block implementation of administrative relief. Several other amendments will be debated in the Rules Committee including one from Congresswoman Blackburn (R-Tenn.) to bar funds for the implementation of DACA; one from Congressman DeSantis (R-FL) to prioritize sex offenders for deportation; and one each from Congressmen Salmon (R-Ariz.) and Schock (R-Ill.) expressing the “sense of Congress” in opposition to the Administration’s actions. The exact procedure is unknown but these votes are expected on Wednesday. The Senate is tentatively scheduled to bring the DHS appropriations bill to the floor at the end of January.

Financial Services – After failing to secure the needed two-thirds votes for passage in the House on the suspension calendar, Congressman Fitzpatrick’s (R-Penn.) Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act will return to the floor under a rule.  The bill would delay the Volcker Rule by two years, until July 2019, for collaterized loan obligations. The Volcker Rule is a central part of the Dodd-Frank Act that prohibits banks from using taxpayer money to engage in speculative investments. The bill also exempts end users and affiliates of non-financial entities from swap rules and disclosure and reporting requirements. This legislation is the first of many expected measures to take aim at the Dodd-Frank Act in the next two years.

Tax – On Monday, Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) is scheduled to announce a sweeping plan to combat income inequality by creating a “paycheck bonus credit,” incentives for savings, and an increase in the childcare credit. The $1.2 trillion proposal is paid for through a new fee on financial transactions and the elimination of deductions for the wealthiest taxpayers. Elsewhere, on Tuesday, the House Ways and Means Committee will hold its first hearing of the 114th Congress on the current state of the economy.

Health – The House will vote on Monday on a bill (H.R. 33) that would exclude volunteer and emergency personnel under the ACA’s employer mandate.