House lawmakers are eyeing passage of a measure seeking to bolster federal protections for public lands. The lower chamber will begin consideration of a package of bills out of the Natural Resources Committee (text; amendments) that would designate roughly 1.4 million square miles of new wilderness areas throughout the U.S., providing federal protections to thousands of acres in Colorado, Washington, and California. The Trump administration pushed back against the legislation in a veto threat earlier this week, arguing that the new wilderness designations would “greatly reduce opportunities for multiple uses on these public lands.” As such, the bill is not expected to be taken up in the GOP-controlled Senate.
New Hampshire voters will head to the polls today as the highly anticipated “first-in-the-nation” Democratic presidential primary gets underway. Recent polling indicates that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg are leading the pack in the Granite State, with Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) in the mix as well. While the Vermont Senator won New Hampshire in the 2016 primary by more than 20 points, Buttigieg appears to be polling within single digits of the Sen. Sanders following Buttigieg’s narrow Iowa caucus victory last week.
The Week in Review
The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump came to a close last week after Senators reached a final verdict on two articles of impeachment. Following two days of closing arguments and Senate speeches, the upper chamber voted to acquit the president on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. President Trump was cleared on a near party-line vote, with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) joining all Senate Democrats in voting to convict on the abuse of power charge.
Congress will return to action today as lawmakers begin to formulate a post-impeachment agenda. In the upper chamber, Senators are expected to take up a “War Powers” resolution that would require President Donald Trump to withdraw any troops from military hostilities against Iran within 30 days. The resolution is expected to pass at some point this week after four GOP Senators — Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Mike Lee (R-UT), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Todd Young (R-IN) — announced their support for the effort. Meanwhile, Senators will resume consideration of pending presidential nominations, starting with the nomination of Andrew Brasher to be Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit Court.
House lawmakers are set to wrap up the week with a supplemental disaster funding package for Puerto Rico. The measure would allocate roughly $4.7 billion in emergency aid following a series of earthquakes on the island earlier this year, as well as tax relief by way of expanded earned income and child tax credits. The Trump administration strongly pushed back against the measure in a veto threat earlier this week, decreasing the likelihood of consideration in the GOP-controlled Senate.
House lawmakers will convene today as Democrats prepare to rebuke the Trump administration’s recently announced Medicaid block grant proposal. The lower chamber will consider a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that would overturn recent guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to allow states to accept capped Medicaid funding in exchange for more flexibility in spending the money. The resolution is not likely to be taken up by the Senate; however, Democratic Senators could introduce a similar effort as a means of messaging against the block grant guidance.
Senators are set to reach a final verdict on two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. Following two days of closing arguments and Senate speeches, the upper chamber will vote on acquittal of the president later this afternoon. President Trump is expected to be cleared on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on a party-line vote.
As the Senate prepares to close out its impeachment trial, President Donald Trump is set to deliver his third State of the Union (SOTU) address tonight. The president’s annual speech to Congress will reportedly focus on key economic wins — ranging from the 2017 tax rewrite to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) — with a theme of “The Great American Comeback” that seeks to kick off his 2020 reelection messaging. White House aides also expect the president to emphasize lowering the cost of health care and prescription drugs, boosting support for working families, and achieving comprehensive immigration reform.
The Week in Review
The Senate — sitting as a court of impeachment — resumed its trial of President Donald Trump last week. Following two marathon days of questioning, Senators took a vote to consider additional evidence and witness testimony beyond the scope of the House’s investigation. The motion was defeated on a close 49-51 vote, with Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) joining all Senate Democrats in support of further witness testimony.
The impeachment trial of President Trump is nearing an endgame after the Senate chose not to pursue additional evidence and witness testimony last week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) outlined the next steps in the upper chamber’s impeachment process on Friday. Leader McConnell’s resolution provides for two days of closing arguments and Senate speeches today and tomorrow, followed by votes to acquit the President on the two articles of impeachment on Wednesday.