Weekly Washington Outlook — October 5, 2015


What to Watch This Week:



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 when the House will consider the following legislation under suspension of the rules:

  •  H.R. 1553 – Small Bank Exam Cycle Reform Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Scott Tipton / Financial Services Committee)
  • H.R. 1839 – Reforming Access for Investments in Startup Enterprises (RAISE) Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Patrick McHenry / Financial Services Committee)
  • H.R. 2091 – Child Support Assistance Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Bruce Poliquin / Financial Services Committee)
  • H.R. 1525 – Disclosure Modernization and Simplification Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Scott Garrett / Financial Services Committee)
  • H.R. 3032 – Securities and Exchange Commission Reporting Modernization Act (Sponsored by Rep. Kyrsten Sinema / Financial Services Committee)
  • H.R. 3102 – Airport Access Control Security Improvement Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. John Katko / Homeland Security Committee)
  • H.R. 3510 – Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity Strategy Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Cedric Richmond / Homeland Security Committee)
  • S. 1300 – Adoptive Family Relief Act (Sponsored by Sen. Diane Feinstein / Judiciary Committee)
  • S. 2078 – United States Commission on International Religious Freedom Reauthorization Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Sen. Bob Corker / Foreign Affairs Committee)
  • H.R. 2168 – West Coast Dungeness Crab Management Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler / Natural Resources Committee)
  • S. 986 – Albuquerque Indian School Land Transfer Act (Sponsored by Sen. Tom Udall / Natural Resources Committee)

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

  • H.R. 3192 – Homebuyers Assistance Act, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. French Hill / Financial Services Committee)

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

  • H.R. 538 – Native American Energy Act, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Don Young / Natural Resources Committee)

On Friday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. Last votes expected no later than 3:00 p.m.

  • H.R. 702 – To Adapt to Changing Crude Oil Market Conditions, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Joe Barton / Energy and Commerce Committee / Foreign Affairs Committee)


The Senate plans to consider the conference report on the fiscal 2016 defense authorization, which has drawn a veto threat. A cloture vote is scheduled for Tuesday to limit debate on the $611.8 billion measure. After work’s done on the defense authorization, the Senate next could turn to chemical safety legislation S. 697, the “Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.”

White House:

On Monday and Tuesday, the president will attend meetings at the White House.

On Wednesday, President Obama will host President Joachim Gauck of Germany for a meeting in the Oval Office. In the afternoon, the president will deliver remarks and participate in a town hall at the White House Summit on Worker Voice. The Summit will focus on how workers can make their voices heard in the workplace in ways that are good for workers and businesses.

On Thursday, President Obama will deliver remarks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s (CHCI) 38th Anniversary Awards Gala at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

On Friday, the president will travel to the Seattle area to attend an event for Senator Patty Murray and the Washington State Democratic Party and a DNC event. Later in the day, the President will travel to the San Francisco area for a DNC event. President Obama will remain overnight in San Francisco.

On Saturday, the president will attend a DNC event and travel to the Los Angeles area for DNC and DSCC events. Further details about the President’s travel to Washington and California will be made available in the coming days.

Also This Week:

Immigration – The Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled a Thursday mark-up of S. 1814, the “Stop Sanctuary Cities Act,” sponsored by Senators Vitter (R-La.) and Flake (R-Ariz.). This mark-up was previously postponed due to conservative concern with the underlying legislation and a substitute amendment. The bill would block certain funding streams for law enforcement in municipalities with community trust policies; some lawmakers have suggested that this approach is inappropriate. The substitute amendment would impose a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for illegal re-entry, which has faced opposition from those interested in criminal justice reform. Democrats are united in opposition, although some remain interested in creating an alternative policy that would lead to some form of cooperation between the Department of Homeland Security and local law enforcement. Elsewhere, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday to examine the impact of the Syrian refugee crisis on the security of the U.S. refugee admissions program. Also Wednesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing titled “Secure Immigration Identity Documents.”

Appropriations – Last week Congress passed a continuing resolution to fund the government until December 11. The Obama Administration and congressional leadership have begun negotiations to work out a long-term spending deal. The president indicated he will not sign another short-term measure or a long-term deal that doesn’t lift current spending caps. As budget negotiations play out, Congress must also debate legislation to extend the government’s borrowing authority. The government will reach its borrowing limit on November 5 and Republicans will likely demand that debt-ceiling legislation include measures to lower debt obligations over time.

Health – On Friday, the House Budget Committee will mark-up budget reconciliation recommendations from three committees to repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act and prohibit Medicaid reimbursement for abortion providers, among other things. The Budget Committee will combine the recommendations for House floor consideration. It is not clear if Senate Committees with jurisdiction over the Affordable Care Act plan to move their own versions of repeal legislation. Under the reconciliation process, the Senate can pass a bill with a simple majority, allowing Republican Leadership to circumvent procedural hurdles that have prevented their priorities from getting to the President’s desk.

Juvenile Justice – This Thursday the House Education and Workforce Committee will hold a hearing titled “Reviewing the Juvenile Justice System and How it Serves At-Risk Youth.”

Nutrition – Authorization for child nutrition programs expired September 30. Lawmakers are continuing work to find a path forward on a bipartisan reauthorization effort this fall.  However, the Senate Agriculture Committee postponed a planned mark-up of legislation indefinitely, and it is not clear how the House Education and Workforce Committee plans to proceed. Community eligibility and nutrition guidelines are both controversial in the effort. Elsewhere, on Tuesday the House Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on the process for developing the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Tax – The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight will hold a hearing on Wednesday examining the rising costs of higher education and tax policy.

Labor – The House Small Business Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations Subcommittee will hold a hearing Thursday titled “The Consequences of DOL’s One-Size-Fits-All Overtime Rule for Small Businesses and their Employees.” Elsewhere, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights, and Federal Courts Subcommittee will hold a hearing vaguely titled “Opportunity Denied: How Overregulation Harms Minorities” on Tuesday. It is unclear what the focus of this hearing will be and witnesses have yet to be listed.

Consumer Financial Protections – The House will consider H.R. 3192 this week, which would prohibit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from enforcing a Dodd-Frank mortgage disclosure rule until Feb. 1, 2016. The rule was scheduled to take effect on Oct. 3. H.R. 3192 would also protect lenders from liability for any violations of the rule before Feb. 1 if they have made a good faith effort to comply. The House Financial Services Committee approved the bill 45-13 on July 28.

Education – While conferees have not yet been formally appointed to the ESEA conference committee, staff-level work continues to reconcile the Senate’s Every Child Achieves Act with the House’s Student Success Act. There are significant differences between the two bills; notably, neither has strong accountability language ensuring intervention if students are not meeting academic goals. Conferees are likely to be named at some point this month. Elsewhere, the House Education and Workforce Committee will hold a hearing titled “Strengthening Head Start for Current and Future Generations” on Wednesday.

Republican Leadership Election – Last week Speaker John Boehner announced he would hold leadership elections on October 8 to determine his replacement. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is likely to replace the Speaker, although he is being challenged by Rep. Dan Webster (R-Fla.) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who announced his bid over the weekend.  Speaker Boehner has indicated he might postpone elections for House majority leader and majority whip in response to a letter circulated by Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) and Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) requesting a delay. Further, there could be a change in internal party rules that would force candidates to resign their chairmanship and leadership roles to participate in the upcoming leadership elections. The House Republican Conference will meet to discuss rules changes on Wednesday afternoon. The race for majority leader is competitive with Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) vying for the position. A delay in the election would give conservatives time to find a candidate to oppose Scalise and Price. If Scalise is elected as the next majority leader, there will be an election for his current post of majority whip.

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