Weekly Washington Outlook — April 4, 2016

U.S. Capitol

What to Watch This Week:


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The House is in recess this week, returning Tuesday, April 12.


On Monday, the Senate will consider S. 1890, the Defend Trade Secrets Act. Later in the week, Senator McConnell (R-Ky.) may schedule a vote on legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Authority.

White House:

On Monday, President Obama will hold a bilateral meeting with NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg at the White House; the Vice President will also attend. The president and Secretary General Stoltenberg will discuss the progress Allies are making in the international effort to degrade and destroy ISIL, as well as the important role NATO is playing in alleviating the refugee and migrant crisis spurred in part by the terrorist group. The leaders will also discuss preparations for the July 8-9, 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland. In the afternoon, President Obama will host a reception for Greek Independence Day in the East Room; the Vice President will also attend.

On Tuesday, the president and the vice president will hold a meeting with Combatant Commanders and Military Leadership. Following this meeting, President Obama will host a dinner in their honor with the vice president and the first lady at the White House.

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

On Thursday, the president will return to the University of Chicago Law School for a conversation about the Supreme Court and the country’s judicial system. As part of this discussion, President Obama will continue to make the case for why Judge Garland deserves a fair hearing and an up-or-down vote in the Senate. Later in the day, the president will travel to the Los Angeles area for a DCCC event.

On Friday, President Obama will attend a DSCC event and later, travel to the San Francisco area for DNC and DCCC events.

On Saturday, the president will return to Washington, D.C.

Supreme Court:

On Monday, the Court released its opinion in the Evenwel v. Abbott case on whether apportionment should include non-voters. In a 8-0 decision, the court affirmed that the total population should count in drawing district lines.

Also this Week:

Puerto Rico – Last week, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) circulated a draft legislation aimed at addressing Puerto Rico’s financial and humanitarian crisis.  The bill would create a federal board to oversee the island’s finances, monitor its accounting, and help curb spending. It would also require Puerto Rico to work with creditors to consensually restructure the island’s debt. If those talks failed, the bill allows for Puerto Rico to file for forced restructuring in court under U.S. bankruptcy law. Representatives for both Puerto Rico and the island’s creditors expressed frustration with different parts of the draft. Crucially, Rep. Velazquez (D-N.Y.), Rep. Serrano (D-N.Y.), and Resident Commissioner Pierluisi (D-P.R.) issued statements criticizing the structure and broad authority of the control board, while signaling an openness to continue to work with Rep. Bishop to make changes. Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla also said that the proposed legislation imposes too much U.S. control over the island, while legal representatives for major creditors of Puerto Rico spoke out against the potential for forced restructuring in court. A revised draft is expected by next Monday, April 11.  The Natural Resources Committee is expected to hold a hearing on the measure on April 13 and a mark-up on April 14.

Consumer Finance – The Senate Banking Committee will hold two hearings on consumer finance regulations this week. The first, scheduled Tuesday, will feature witnesses from industry and community groups, while Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray will testify at the second on Thursday.  The hearings will likely highlight the Bureau’s work to regulate indirect auto lending, small dollar lending, and more.

Fiduciary Rule – The Department of Labor is expected to release its final Fiduciary Rule on Wednesday.  The rule requires that brokers act in their client’s best financial interest when providing advice on retirement investments.  Opponents to the rule are expected to immediately challenge it in court.

Education – Negotiated rulemaking continues this week to regulate the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  Issues related to the assessment of English learners are expected to be at the top of the agenda.

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