Weekly Washington Outlook — February 22, 2016

U.S. Capitol

What to Watch This Week:



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

  • 2109– Directing Dollars to Disaster Relief Act of 2015(Sponsored by Sen. Ron Johnson / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)
  • R. 3584– Transportation Security Administration Reform and Improvement Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. John Katko / Homeland Security Committee)
  • R. 4408– National Strategy to Combat Terrorist Travel Act of 2016, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. John Katko / Homeland Security Committee)
  • R. 4398– DHS Acquisition Documentation Integrity Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman / Homeland Security Committee)
  • R. 4402– Foreign Fighter Review Act of 2016, as amended(Sponsored by Rep. Will Hurd / Homeland Security Committee)

On Wednesday the House will vote on legislation under suspension of the rules:

  • 238– Eric Williams Correctional Officer Protection Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Sen. Pat Toomey / Judiciary Committee)
  • R. 812– Indian Trust Asset Reform Act, as amended(Sponsored by Rep. Mike Simpson / Natural Resources Committee)
  • R. 3004– To amend the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Act to extend the authorization for the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission (Sponsored by Rep. James Clyburn / Natural Resources Committee)
  • R. 1296– To amend the San Luis Rey Indian Water Rights Settlement Act to clarify certain settlement terms, and for other purposes (Sponsored by Rep. Duncan Hunter / Natural Resources Committee)
  • R. 1475– Korean War Veterans Memorial Wall of Remembrance Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Sam Johnson / Natural Resources Committee)
  • R. 2880– Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. John Lewis / Natural Resources Committee)
  • R. 3371– Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park Boundary Adjustment Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Barry Loudermilk / Natural Resources Committee)
  • R. 3620– To amend the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Improvement Act to provide access to certain vehicles serving residents of municipalities adjacent to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, and for other purposes (Sponsored by Rep. Tom Marino / Natural Resources Committee)

On Thursday and the balance of the week, the House will consider the following:

  • R. 3624– Fraudulent Joinder Prevention Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Ken Buck / Judiciary Committee)
  • R. 2406– SHARE Act (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Robert Wittman / Natural Resources Committee)


On Monday, the Senate will hold a procedural vote on the nomination of Robert McKinnon Califf to be Commissioner of Food and Drugs at the Department of Health and Human Services.

On Tuesday and the balance of the week, the Senate will resume consideration of S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act, and may begin consideration of legislation related to opioid addiction.

White House:

On Monday, President Obama will deliver remarks and take questions from the National Governors Association at the White House.

On Tuesday, the president will attend a DNC Roundtable in Washington.

On Wednesday, President Obama will host His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan at the White House. During their meeting, the President and King Abdullah will discuss efforts to counter ISIL, resolve the Syrian conflict, and address the needs of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Jordan. They will also discuss how best to advance prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other issues of mutual interest.

In the evening, the president and first lady will invite top contemporary artists to the White House as part of its “In Performance at the White House” series. The event celebrates the iconic singer, songwriter, composer and musician Ray Charles. The program will include performances by Yolanda Adams, Leon Bridges, Andra Day, Anthony Hamilton, Brittany Howard, Demi Lovato, Sam Moore, Jussie Smollett, The Band Perry and Usher with Rickey Minor as executive music director.

On Thursday, President Obama will deliver remarks at an event on precision medicine at the White House.

Details are not yet available for the president’s Friday schedule.

Also this Week:

Education – On Tuesday, the Senate HELP Committee will hold a hearing on implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Former NCLR Vice President Delia Pompa is scheduled to testify along with Acting Secretary of Education Dr. John King, and representatives from the Education Trust, National Education Association, and others.  The House Education and Workforce Committee will hold a similar hearing on Thursday with Dr. John King. Elsewhere, the Senate HELP Committee will vote Thursday to confirm Dr. John King as the next Secretary of Education.

Immigration – The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing Tuesday on the increase of unaccompanied children entering the United States along the Southwestern border. The Committee’s Immigration and National Interest Subcommittee convenes a hearing Thursday on “the impact of high-skilled immigration on U.S. workers.”

Puerto Rico – The House Natural Resources Committee and House Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee will hold concurrent hearings on Thursday to discuss the financial crisis in Puerto Rico. Counselor to Secretary of the Treasury Antonio Weiss is scheduled to testify at the House Natural Resources hearing. The hearing is the third in a series examining legislative proposals in advance of Speaker Ryan’s (R-Wis.) March 31 deadline to help the island. While there is some ambiguity about what this deadline entails, it is widely believed that lawmakers in both the House and Senate are moving toward a solution that will include a financial control board for fiscal oversight.

Financial Regulation – The House Financial Services Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee plans a hearing Wednesday on the Dodd-Frank Act and fixed income regulation. Additionally, the House Financial Services Housing and Insurance Subcommittee will hold a hearing Thursday on regulatory standards and U.S. insurers.

Budget/Appropriations – Members of the Cabinet will continue to appear on Capitol Hill this week to make their budget requests to start the annual appropriations process.  Notably, OMB Director Shaun Donovan will testify before the House Appropriations Financial Services Subcommittee on Tuesday; Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson will testify Wednesday before the House HUsersomeland Security Subcommittee and the Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee; Attorney General Loretta Lynch will appear Wednesday before the House Commerce-Justice-Science Subcommittee and the Senate Commerce-Justice-Science Subcommittee on Thursday; and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell will testify Thursday before the House Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee. In addition, Acting Education Secretary Dr. John King is scheduled to testify before the House Education and Workforce Committee on Wednesday and Sec. Burwell will appear before the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee on Wednesday.

Health – In addition to hearings related to budget and appropriations requests, the Senate HELP Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday on the Zika virus. The hearing is timed to coincide with an expected request from the Administration for $1.8 billion in emergency funds. Some Republicans have proposed using unspent funds from the Ebola crisis to address Zika, but Democrats have objected arguing money previously dedicated to Ebola should be spent rebuilding West Africa’s health infrastructure. Elsewhere, the Senate aims to conclude consideration of energy legislation this week. This legislation has been stalled as negotiations to provide emergency assistance to Flint, MI for its water crisis continue.  Senator Stabenow (D-Mich.) has been in talks with Senator Murkowski (R-Alaska) to find a path forward, but there has been pushback from conservatives who argue any funds must be off-set.