Weekly Washington Outlook — July 20, 2015

Image Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ACapitol-Senate.JPG
Image Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ACapitol-Senate.JPG

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

House:

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On Monday, the House will meet at 2:00 p.m. in pro forma session. No votes are expected.

On Tuesday, the House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for morning hour and 2:00 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m. and the House will consider legislation under suspension of the rules:

1) H.R. 2256 – Veterans Information Modernization Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Dan Benishek / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)

2) H.R. 237 – FTO Passport Revocation Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Ted Poe / Foreign Affairs Committee)

3) H.R. 1557 – Federal Employee Antidiscrimination Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Elijah Cummings / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

4) H.R. 1473 – John F. Kennedy Center Reauthorization Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Lou Barletta / Transportation & Infrastructure Committee)

On Wednesday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business and will consider H.R. 1734 – Improving Coal Combustion Residuals Regulation Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. David McKinley / Energy and Commerce Committee)

On Thursday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.

On Friday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. Last votes expected no later than 3:00 p.m., to include consideration of H.R. 1599 – Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Mike Pompeo / Energy and Commerce Committee / Agriculture Committee)

Senate:

The Senate returns Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. Majority Leader McConnell has scheduled a procedural vote on H.R. 22, the legislative vehicle for a multi-year transportation reauthorization package that would also fund the Highway Trust Fund.

White House:

On Monday, the president will host Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at the White House.

On Tuesday, the president will travel to Pittsburgh to address the 116th Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention. Following the convention, President Obama will travel to New York, New York and will tape an appearance on ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.’ In the evening, the president will attend a DSCC event.

On Wednesday, President Obama will meet with small business owners to discuss the importance of the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.

On Thursday, the president will attend meetings at the White House. In the evening, he will travel to Nairobi.

On Friday, President Obama will arrive in Nairobi.

Also This Week:

Immigration – Both the House and Senate will examine enforcement issues this week in the wake of events in San Francisco, focusing on “sanctuary cities.”  The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing Tuesday titled “Oversight of the Administration’s Misdirected Immigration Enforcement Policies: Examining the Impact on Public Safety and Honoring the Victims.” The Majority’s witnesses include a number of individuals who lost loved ones to crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.  On Thursday, the House Judiciary Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee will examine “Sanctuary Cities: A Threat to Public Safety;” witnesses have not yet been announced. Since the death of Katherine Steinle, Senators Vitter (R-La.), Cotton (R-Ark.) and others in the House have proposed legislation that would block federal funding to sanctuary cities.  Senator Feinstein (D-Calif.) has also announced plans to introduce legislation in the coming weeks, but details on timing and content remain unknown.

Appropriations – Movement on FY16 funding bills has stalled in the House over a dispute last week when an amendment to an Interior appropriations bill passed that would bar displays of the Confederate battle flag on government property.  The legislation was pulled from the House floor as a result and is not on the calendar for this week.

Tax – On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee will mark-up a two-year tax extender package to retroactively revive a host of expired credits. The package costs $95.6 billion over twenty years, and includes extensions of the Research and Development credit, credit financing for multinational corporations, and a production break for renewable power plants.  In contrast, the House Ways and Means Committee is continuing to examine making certain tax credits permanent as part of an exercise to change the baseline for future tax reform legislation.

Education – Last week, the Senate passed the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177), legislation to rewrite No Child Left Behind and reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). This legislation passed without the inclusion of language backed by the business and civil rights community to strengthen accountability to ensure timely intervention if groups of students failed to meet academic goals.  Next, House and Senate negotiators are expected to begin a conference committee sometime after the August recess to reconcile differences between S. 1177 and the House-passed Student Success Act (H.R. 5).

With work on ESEA reauthorization moving to conference, the Senate is shifting focus to higher education. On Wednesday the Senate HELP Committee is holding a hearing titled “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Exploring Barriers and Opportunities within Innovation.”

Health – As the  July 24th deadline to proceed with a plan for reconciliation looms, Republican leadership remains divided on how to move forward in using this tool to repeal components of the Affordable Care Act.  Yet, The House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee is holding a Friday hearing on “An Overdue Checkup: Examining the Affordable Care Act’s State Insurance Marketplaces.

Banking – This Tuesday marks the five-year anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Act! As lawmakers and stakeholders examine the effects of the law, the Senate Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee will examine on Thursday “The Administrative State v. The Constitution: Dodd-Frank at Five Years.”

On Wednesday, the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Securities, Insurance, and Investment Subcommittee is holding a hearing on the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s designation process, with a full committee hearing Thursday on the systemic importance of bank holding companies. Also Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee plans a hearing to discuss changes to the Federal Reserve.

Labor – Earlier this month the Obama Administration released new regulations regarding overtime pay. The proposed rule would more than double the salary threshold for guaranteed overtime pay to $50,440, from the current threshold of $23,660. On Thursday the House Education and Workforce Committee’s Workforce Protections Subcommittee will examine the proposed changes. Senate Democrats plan to send a letter Monday to the Obama Administration urging swift movement toward a final rule.

Elsewhere, the comment period for the Department of Labor’s proposed rule to change the definition of fiduciary in regards to retirement investment advice ends Tuesday. The Senate HELP Employment and Workplace Safety Subcommittee will hold a hearing on this day examining the rule.

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