Weekly Washington Outlook — January 4, 2016

White House at Night

What to Watch This Week: 

Congress:

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House:

On Tuesday, the House will establish a quorum for the Second Session of the 114th Congress.

On Wednesday, the House will consider the following: 

  • Concur in the Senate Amendment to R. 3762– Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Tom Price / Budget Committee)
  • R. 1155– SCRUB Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Jason Smith / Judiciary Committee / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

On Thursday and Friday, the House will consider:

  • R. 712– Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2015, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Doug Collins / Judiciary Committee)
  • R. 1927– Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2015, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte / Judiciary Committee)

Senate:

The Senate will hold a pro forma session on Monday morning and will be in recess the remainder of the week. Senators return Monday, January 11 for legislative business.

White House:

On Monday, the president will meet with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, FBI Director James Comey, and ATF Deputy Director Thomas to discuss possible executive actions to curb gun violence.

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

On Thursday, the president will participate in a live Town Hall event with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on reducing gun violence in America at 8PM EST. The event will be held at George Mason University.

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

Also this Week:

Budget – The House Rules Committee’s Legislative and Budget Process Subcommittee is scheduled to hold a hearing Wednesday on H.R. 1610, which would set up a two-year cycle for the budget and appropriations process. Proponents argue this move would allow Congress more time to conduct proper oversight of government agencies, while appropriators worry the bill would lessen their power.

Healthcare – The House will vote this week on Senate-passed budget reconciliation legislation. This legislation was modified slightly from a version that cleared the House late last fall for procedural reasons. Rather than repeal the employer and individual mandates in the Affordable Care Act, it would instead eliminate the penalties associated with both. In addition, the legislation would defund Planned Parenthood. While this legislation will pass the House and be sent to the President’s desk, this is a symbolic measure at the start of an election year. President Obama is expected to veto the package and the House and Senate do not have enough votes to override his veto.

Housing – The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing Friday on the Treasury Department’s “Hardest Hit Fund.” This fund was created after the 2008 housing crisis to help homeowners in the 18 states with the highest mortgage default rates stay in their homes.

Puerto Rico – At the end of last year, Republican leadership in the House pledged to take action on Puerto Rico by the end of March. The House Judiciary Committee originally planned to hold a hearing this week, but this has been postponed to next week.

Gun Control – The President could announce as soon as Tuesday executive actions to curb gun violence. Among these, it has been reported that unlicensed gun dealers would have to get licenses and conduct background checks on those purchasing firearms.