The House returns from its week-long recess on Tuesday as lawmakers aim to keep the government funded beyond the September 30th deadline. The House will vote on the minibus package containing Defense-Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (Labor-HHS) FY 2019 funding bills (H.R. 6157) (bill text; conference report; summary). The Defense-Labor-HHS package will also serve as the vehicle for a continuing resolution (CR) through December 7th — allowing Congress to avert a shutdown and punt decisions on controversial issues until after the mid-term elections.
Following passage of the highly anticipated opioid response legislation, the Senate will reconvene this morning to check off an additional big ticket legislative item. The upper chamber is slated to vote on the Defense-Labor-HHS-Education conference report today as Congress seeks to keep the government funded beyond the September 30th funding deadline. The report includes both a year-long funding package for the departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education for FY 2019, along with a short-term continuing resolution (CR) that would keep remaining agencies funded through December 7th while negotiations continue.
The Senate is slated to reconvene this afternoon when it will hold a vote on a highly anticipated package of bills to address the nation’s opioid crisis. The Opioid Crisis Response Act (section-by-section) comprises more than 70 bills reported out of five Senate committees and touches on nearly every aspect of the epidemic. If passed, the bill will need to be reconciled with the House-passed measure (H.R. 6) prior to becoming law. For the balance of the week, the upper chamber is also expected to vote on the Defense-Labor-HHS-Education conference report as Congress seeks to beat the September 30 government funding deadline.
The Week in Review
Congress returned for a truncated legislative work week as lawmakers made headway in the FY 2019 appropriations process. Both chambers passed the first conference report on a package of three fiscal 2019 spending bills, which fund agencies including the departments of Energy and Veterans Affairs, as well as military construction projects and Congress itself. Up next on the government spending docket is the “minibus” for the Defense-Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (Labor-HHS) FY 2019 funding bills (H.R. 6157) (bill text; conference report; summary). The Defense-Labor-HHS package will also serve as the vehicle for a continuing resolution (CR) through December 7th — allowing Congress to avert a shutdown and punt decisions on controversial issues until after the mid-term elections.
- The Senate is poised to pass a funding bill for the Defense Department that will also include a continuing resolution keeping the government funded until December 7th.
- The Senate Banking Committee will hold a FinTech hearing on data and technology on Tuesday.
- The Senate Judiciary Committee could advance the nomination of Justice Kavanaugh to the full Senate this week.
- The House is out of Session
The House returns to action this morning as the chamber seeks to clear two major legislative priorities. Lawmakers are expected to approve the conference report (H.R. 5895) for the minibus spending package for military construction and veterans’ affairs, legislative branch, and energy and water. The House will also vote on a measure (S. 3021) under suspension of the rules that would reauthorize the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). Additional suspension work for the House includes: (1) a bill (S.97) that enables civilian research and development of advanced nuclear energy technologies by private and public institutions; (2) a bill (H.R. 6227) to provide for a coordinated Federal program to accelerate quantum research and development for the economic and national security of the United States; and (3) a Senate amendment to a House-passed bill (H.R. 589) that establishes Department of Energy policy for science and energy research and development programs
Congress returns for a truncated legislative work week as lawmakers look to clear crucial agenda items prior to next week’s recess. In significant appropriations news, both chambers are positioned to take up the first conference report on a package of three fiscal 2019 spending bills, which fund agencies including the departments of Energy and Veterans Affairs, as well as military construction projects and Congress itself. Congress will also hold conference committees for the next two spending packages — including FY 2019 appropriations for the Department of Defense, Health and Human Services (HHS), ‘Financial Services and General Government,’ ‘Agriculture and Rural Development,’ ‘Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies,’ and ‘Transportation, Housing, Urban Development, and Related Agencies’ — in hopes of producing final appropriations numbers for the underlying agencies.
The Week in Review
Congress convened last week and began the process of reconciling their respective FY 2019 appropriations bills. The House passed motions to go conference with the Senate on a federal spending package for the Defense, Labor, HHS & Education Departments, as well as an appropriations package (H.R. 6147) that includes spending allocations for: (1) Financial Services and General Government; (2) Agriculture and Rural Development; (3) Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; and (4) Transportation, Housing, Urban Development, and Related Agencies. Both chambers will now hammer out final spending details off the floor in hopes of passing as many spending bills as they can prior to the September 30 government funding deadline
The last week of August saw perhaps the best example of the current cognitive dissonance of American politics. This refers to the twin events of Senator McCain’s funeral and the Florida Gubernatorial primary. The primary, which took place on August 28th, resulted in the election of two politicians that come from each parties’ respective bases, and who both beat more moderate, centrist candidates. This result needs to be viewed against the ethos of bipartisanship, compromise and rebuttal of tribal politics that was the centerpiece of Senator McCain’s funeral and the commentary that surrounded it. While people claim they want politicians that are willing to embrace the American ideals of compromise, they seem to be continuously electing individuals who instead satisfy a different ideal, that of “fighting” for ideological purity. Whether this dichotomy will break anytime soon will be determined in fifty-six days.
The Week in Review
The Senate finished up work for the week — and the month — after reaching a deal to break the presidential nominee logjam. Under an agreement announced on the Senate floor by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), seven judicial nominations were confirmed Tuesday, including Lynn Johnson to be Assistant Secretary for Family Support at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Richard Clarida to be Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Systee. The agreement allowed senators to depart for events in their home states during the week, as well as to make the trip to Phoenix, AZ for services in remembrance of the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).