Weekly Washington Outlook — June 13, 2016


What to Watch This Week:



On Monday, the House will consider a series of non-controversial bills under suspension of the rules. A full list is available here.

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

1)      H.R. 5053 Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Peter Roskam / Ways and Means Committee)

2)      H.R. 5293 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2017 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen / Appropriations Committee)


On Monday, the Senate will consider S.2943, the National Defense Authorization Act. Later in the week, the Senate is expected to consider S. 2837, the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill.

White House:

On Monday, the President and the Vice President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office. FBI Director Comey, DHS Secretary Johnson, NCTC Director Rasmussen, and Deputy Attorney General Yates will join to provide an update on the investigation into the attack in Orlando, Florida.  A public schedule for the balance of the week is not available.

Supreme Court:

On Monday, the Supreme Court issued an opinion in the Puerto Rico v. Franklin California Tax-Free Trust.  In an opinion by Justice Thomas, the court affirmed that Puerto Rico does not have the authority to pass its own legislation on debt restructuring; the Commonwealth must rely on an act of Congress.  Justice Sotomayor dissented and was joined by Justice Ginsberg.

Also this Week:

Puerto Rico – Last week, the House passed the “Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act,” or PROMESA (H.R. 5278) with comfortable bipartisan support.   Senator McConnell is expected to bring the legislation to the Senate floor in the next three weeks and Senate Democrats are considering options to address some of the legislation’s labor provisions, along with the scope of the oversight board’s authority. Puerto Rico has a $2 billion debt payment due July 1.

Appropriations – The Senate plans to consider its Commerce-Justice-Science spending bill this week.  Senators may try to force votes on gun-related issues in the wake of this weekend’s events in Orlando.  Elsewhere, the House will consider its Defense spending bill; to avoid controversial votes, the Speaker will no longer allow an open amendment process for appropriations bills.  At the Committee-level, the House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to mark-up the Homeland Security spending bill Tuesday. In its current form, the legislation would bar implementation of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration while legal challenges are ongoing.

Health – The House Energy and Commerce Committee has scheduled a two-day mark-up over Tuesday and Wednesday on mental health legislation (H.R. 2646).  The legislation would expand psychiatric and psychological support for those suffering from mental illness and their families.  The legislation expands services eligible under Medicaid and alters existing privacy policies to allow for information-sharing among providers.  Democrats on the Committee have had concerns with the privacy-related language and also the definition of “evidence-based practices,” arguing that it is prohibitive of practices that may be culturally competent.  Elsewhere, House and Senate leaders continue negotiations to reconcile differences in approved Zika funding.

Education – The Administration will announce a proposed rule today to make student loan debt relief easier for borrowers defrauded by colleges.  The rule is a response to debt claims from students at Corinthian Colleges.  The rule could make it easier for students to sue higher education institutions in cases of fraud and would grant the Department of Education more authority to intervene in financially distressed institutions.

Tax – The House will vote on legislation (H.R. 5053) that bars the Internal Revenue Service from requiring tax-exempt organization from disclosing donors.  Currently, many tax-exempt organizations must disclose donors who contribute at least $5,000 annually.  Elsewhere, the Speaker is expected to release a blueprint for tax reform, similar to last week’s anti-poverty plan, on June 24th.