Weekly Washington Outlook — November 2, 2015


What to Watch This Week:



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

  • R. 3361– Department of Homeland Security Insider Threat and Mitigation Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Peter King / Homeland Security Committee)
  • R. 3505– Department of Homeland Security Clearance Management and Administration Act (Sponsored by Rep. Bennie Thompson / Homeland Security Committee)
  • R. 3598– Fusion Center Enhancement Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Lou Barletta / Homeland Security Committee)
  • R. 3144– Partners for Aviation Security Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Donald Payne / Homeland Security Committee)
  • R. 3503– Department of Homeland Security Support to Fusion Centers Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Martha McSally / Homeland Security Committee)
  • R. 2494– Global Anti-Poaching Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Ed Royce / Foreign Affairs Committee)
  • R. 1853– To direct the President to develop a strategy to obtain observer status for Taiwan in the International Criminal Police Organization, and for other purposes (Sponsored by Rep. Matt Salmon / Foreign Affairs Committee)
  • Res. 293– Expressing concern over anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement within the Palestinian Authority, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen / Foreign Affairs Committee)
  • Res. 354– Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the safety and security of Jewish communities in Europe, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith / Foreign Affairs Committee)

The balance of the week, the House will vote on legislation relating to the Highway Trust Fund and the National Defense Authorization.


On Monday, the Senate will take a procedural vote on S. 1140, the “Federal Water Quality Protection Act.”  The bill would limit federal environmental regulation of rivers and streams.  If the vote fails, it is possible the Senate will vote on a related measure to simply block certain regulations already put on hold by a court.

White House:

On Monday, as part of his commitment to criminal justice reform, the president will travel to the Newark, New Jersey area to highlight the re-entry process of formerly-incarcerated individuals who are working to put their lives back on track and earn their second chance. He will be joined by Senator Booker and Mayor Baraka. While in Newark, President Obama will visit a residential facility, Integrity House, and later convene a roundtable discussion at Rutgers University – Newark, Center for Law & Justice, where he will also deliver a statement. Afterward, the President will travel to New York for a DNC event and a DCCC event.

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

On Wednesday, President Obama will deliver remarks and take questions at a DNC event in Washington, DC.

On Thursday, the president will deliver remarks to tribal leaders and take part in a conversation with Native youth at the 2015 White House Tribal Nations Conference in Washington, DC. The conference will provide leaders from the 567 federally recognized tribes the opportunity to interact directly with high-level federal government officials and members of the White House Council on Native American Affairs. This will be the seventh White House Tribal Nations Conference for the Obama Administration and continues to build upon the president’s commitment to strengthen the government-to-government relationship with Indian Country and improve the lives of American Indians and Alaska Natives, with an emphasis on increasing opportunity for Native youth.

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

Supreme Court:

On Monday the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Foster v. Chatman, a case that will explore how courts determine whether the exclusion of potential jurors was intended to unconstitutionally alter the jury’s racial composition. Attorneys are permitted a number of “preemptory strikes” during jury selection to exclude potential jurors from the jury pool without having to provide a justification. In the past, there was no way to challenge preemptory strikes, even if it was suspected they were race-based. However, in a 1986 ruling in Batson v. Kentucky, the Court set up a three-step process to test complaints that racial motivations underlie preemptory strikes. This week’s case examines the proper application of the conditions set forth in Batson.

Also This Week:

Appropriations – Last week, the House and Senate passed a bipartisan budget agreement that lifted the debt ceiling and provided $80 billion in sequestration relief over two years.  Now, appropriators are beginning on work on an omnibus spending bill.  This must be completed by December 11, when the current spending measure expires.  There has already been discussion of potential immigration riders or riders that would repeal sections of the Dodd-Frank Act. The White House and Democrats, however, are continuing to oppose ideological provisions attached to appropriations bills.

Budget – After enacting a two-year budget agreement, the Senate Budget Committee has scheduled a hearing Wednesday on biennial, rather than annual, budgeting.  Senators Isakson (R-Ga.) and Carper (D-Del.) will testify.

Financial Services – The House Financial Services Committee has scheduled a mark-up on Tuesday of a series of bills related to limit the Financial Stability Oversight Council.  On Wednesday, the Committee will hear from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

Healthcare – The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee will mark-up a series of bills this week including, H.R. 2017 which would change nutrition disclosure criteria for restaurants.  The Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee and the Ways and Means Committee’s Health Subcommittee will both hold hearings on health insurance co-ops created under the ACA.  Elsewhere, the Affordable Care Act’s third open enrollment period began this weekend.  For additional information on plans and available subsidies, visit www.healthcare.gov.

Tax – This week, the Republican Steering Committee will meet in the House to pick a new Ways and Means Chair.  Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) are both vying for the gavel.

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 in the coming weeks.

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