Weekly Washington Outlook — May 18, 2015

Photo: Harris Walker, Creative Commons
Photo: Harris Walker, Creative Commons

What to Watch This Week:



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On Monday, the House will consider legislation under suspension of the rules:

  • R. 474 – Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Programs Reauthorization Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Brad Wenstrup / Veterans’ Affairs Committee) 
  • R. 1038 – Ensuring VA Employee Accountability Act (Sponsored by Rep. Ryan Costello / Veterans’ Affairs Committee) 
  • R. 1313 – Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business Relief Act (Sponsored by Rep. Jerry McNerney / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)
  • R. 1382 – Boosting Rates of American Veteran Employment Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Kathleen Rice / Veterans’ Affairs Committee) 
  • R. 91 – Veteran’s I.D. Card Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Vern Buchanan / Veterans’ Affairs Committee) 
  • R. 1816 – Vulnerable Veterans Housing Reform Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Joe Heck / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 1987 – Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Duncan Hunter / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)
  • 178 – Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn / Judiciary Committee) 

On Tuesday, the House will consider legislation under suspension of the rules:

  • R. 874 – American Super Computing Leadership Act (Sponsored by Rep. Randy Hultgren / Science, Space, and Technology Committee)
  • R. 1162 – Science Prize Competitions Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Don Beyer / Science, Space, and Technology Committee)
  • R. 1119 – Research and Development Efficiency Act (Sponsored by Rep. Barbara Comstock / Science, Space, and Technology Committee)
  • R. 1156 – International Science and Technology Cooperation Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Dan Lipinski / Science, Space, and Technology Committee)
  • R. 1561 – Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Frank Lucas / Science, Space, and Technology Committee)
  • R. 1158 – Department of Energy Laboratory Modernization and Technology Transfer Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Randy Hultgren / Science, Space, and Technology Committee)

The House on Tuesday will also vote on the following:

  • R. 2253 – Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Shuster / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)
  • R. 2250 – Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2016 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Tom Graves / Appropriations Committee)

On Wednesday, the House will vote on the following:

  • R. 880 – American Research and Competitiveness Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brady / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1806 – America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith / Science, Space, and Technology Committee)

Finally, on Thursday, the House will consider H.R. 2262 – SPACE Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Kevin McCarthy / Science, Space, and Technology Committee)


The Senate will resume consideration this week of trade-related legislation.  Later in the week, the Senate may schedule votes on a two-month extension of funding for the Highway Trust Fund and another two-month extension of some National Security Agency counterterrorism provisions in the USA Patriot Act.

White House:

On Monday, the president will travel to Camden, N.J. to visit with local law enforcement and meet with young people in the Camden community. President Obama will hear directly about the efforts of the Camden County Police Department to build trust between their Department and the community they serve. Camden was recently designated as a “Promise Zone,” which leverages federal grants to increase economic opportunity, reduce crime and improve public health, among other priorities identified by the community. The president will discuss how these kinds of partnerships and community investments are a crucial part of creating ladders of opportunity for all Americans.

On Tuesday, President Obama will attend meetings at the White House.

On Wednesday, the president will travel to New London, Conn. to deliver the commencement address at the United States Coast Guard Academy. While in Connecticut, President Obama will also attend a DNC event. On Thursday, the president will hold a bilateral meeting with President Beji Caid Essebsi of Tunisia at the White House. The visit will underscore the United States’ longstanding friendship with Tunisia and our support for the Tunisian people following their historic 2014 democratic elections. The two leaders will discuss a range of issues pertaining to the continued consolidation of Tunisia’s democracy, U.S.-Tunisian security cooperation, and Tunisia’s efforts to advance important economic reforms. In the afternoon, President Obama will hold a Cabinet meeting.

On Friday, the president will travel to Congregation Adas Israel, one of the largest congregations in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, to deliver remarks in celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month, which recognizes the contributions of Jewish Americans to American society and culture.  The president’s visit also coincides with Solidarity Shabbat, when government officials in Europe and North America take part in synagogue visits and other events to highlight their commitment to combating anti-Semitism. In the afternoon, President Obama and the first lady will host the Diplomatic Corps Reception for the foreign diplomatic corps at the White House.

Also This Week:

Appropriations – The House Appropriations Committee will mark-up the Commerce-Science-Justice spending bill on Wednesday. The draft measure provides $51.4 billion, an increase of $1.3 billion from last year but $661 million less than the President’s request.  The bill reportedly does not fund programs established by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, and reduces funding for the Community Oriented Policing program. It would create a new policy-community relations program in response to events in Baltimore. Immigration-related riders are also possible.  Elsewhere, the Senate may meet on May 21st to provide so-called 302(b) allocations, the amount of money for each particular spending bill. The Senate has also scheduled subcommittee mark-ups for its Military Construction-VA and Energy and Water bills.

Education – After much speculation that the Student Success Act (H.R. 5) could be brought back to the floor this week, it is not currently on this week’s schedule despite its inclusion in Majority Leader McCarthy’s memo for this work period. Instead, all eyes remain on the Senate as members prepare to take up a bipartisan ESEA reauthorization in early June. There has been some discussion on the Hill that the timing for bringing this bill to the floor could slip to July or even the fall. However, the business and civil rights community is continuing to work to get support on both sides of the aisle for an amendment that would strengthen the accountability system in the bill.

Financial Services – The Senate Banking Committee had originally planned a mark-up last week of an extensive bill to provide “regulatory relief” to financial services entities including small and regional banks, community banks, non-banks, and credit unions.  As a result of objections from Committee Democrats over a rushed process, the mark-up has instead been scheduled for Thursday. The delay is unlikely to garner significant Democratic support for what is widely seen as an extreme bill designed to undermine the Dodd-Frank Act rather than provide targeted relief to community banks and credit unions.

Policing – The president will give remarks in Camden, N.J. on Monday highlighting recommendations for the Task Force on 21st Century Policing and new resources, including a toolkit on body cameras, cities can use to build trust between law enforcement and communities. On Capitol Hill, two committees are holding hearings on the same topic.  The Senate Judiciary Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee will meet on Tuesday on body cameras and the House Judiciary Committee will also convene Tuesday for a broad hearing on policing.

Health – The House Education and Workforce Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Tuesday on child nutrition programs. Similarly, the House Agriculture Nutrition Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Wednesday on SNAP.

Tax – Both the House and Senate are expected to clear a two-month extension of highway funding. The House is also scheduled to vote on H.R. 880, a permanent extension of the Research and Development Tax Credit.  This legislation is not offset.