This Week on the Hill: Senate GOP Moves to Speed Up Judicial Confirmations

Both chambers of Congress are set to begin another legislative work week this afternoon. In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has queued up a change to the Senate rules that would speed up the presidential nominee confirmation process. The resolution — approved by the Senate Rules Committee in February — would limit the post-cloture debate time from 30 hours to two for executive branch nominees and District Court judges, but would not apply to Cabinet or Supreme Court nominees. Democrats are not expected to support the measure, which could lead Republicans to invoke another rule change, known as the “nuclear option,” that would allow the Senate to pass the resolution with a simple majority.

 

Financial Services Report

The major action this week in the Senate will be the completion of the supplemental disaster aid bill (textsummary) while in the House, House, lawmakers are scheduled to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), as well as vote on another rebuke of the Trump Administration's recent decision to argue against the legality of the Affordable Care Act.  
 
In the Committees, the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will examine the role of asset managers and proxy advisers in investing, while the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on arbitration. Over in the House, the Financial Services Committee will continue its work on Housing issues, while the Ways and Means Committee will mark up a Retirement Security measure.
 

 

Health Policy Report

The Week in Review

Last week, House Democrats failed in their attempt to override President Donald Trump's veto of a measure that would prevent him from circumventing Congressional appropriation authority to allocate funding for border security. Despite the Democratic resolution of disapproval’s passage in both chambers last month, the effort to overturn the President's veto did not earn the required two-thirds majority in the lower chamber. Regardless of the outcome, Congressional Democrats will likely explore additional legislative and legal maneuvers to block President Trump’s national emergency declaration.

 

Today on the Hill: Disaster Aid Bill Shows Signs of Stalling

Senators are set to resume consideration of a supplemental disaster aid bill (textsummary), although its prospects for passage appear to be fading over disagreements on aid to Puerto Rico. Congressional Democrats are strongly pushing for additional assistance to the island — with numerous Senate Democrats stating that they will vote no if additional aid is not included — while President Donald Trump has criticized the Senate GOP’s provisions as being too generous. Consideration of the $13.5 billion measure will likely extend into next week as lawmakers work to find a compromise.

 

Today on the Hill: Senate Begins Consideration of Disaster Relief Bill

Senators have officially begun consideration of a sweeping supplemental disaster aid bill (text; summary) that would provide emergency funding to states and territories that have been impacted by various natural disasters in recent months. The $13.5 billion measure includes funding for Army Corps of Engineers projects aimed at improving flood and storm damage mitigation, as well as nutritional assistance for Puerto Rico. The bill also includes an extension of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), suggesting that lawmakers believe the disaster package can be leveraged as a broad legislative vehicle to clear outstanding priorities.

 

Today on the Hill: House Tees Up Ill-Fated Veto Override Attempt

House lawmakers are set to vote on an attempt to override President Donald Trump's veto of a measure that would prevent him from circumventing Congressional appropriation authority to allocate funding for border security. Despite the resolution's passage in both chambers earlier this month, the effort to overturn the President's veto is unlikely to have the support of a two-thirds majority in the lower chamber. Regardless of today’s outcome, Congressional Democrats will likely explore additional legislative and legal maneuvers to block President Trump’s national emergency declaration.

 

This Week on the Hill: Senate Looks to Clinch Deal on Disaster Aid Funding

Congress is set to resume legislative business today following a weeklong district work period. In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has queued up a vote on the progressive-sponsored "Green New Deal" resolution (S.J.Res 8) in hopes of forcing Senate Democrats into a tough political vote. While Democrats initially decried the move as a partisan stunt, they have coalesced around a message that climate change is an issue that needs attention and that they look forward to debating these issues on the Senate floor. Following consideration of the Green New Deal resolution, Senators are expected to take up a supplemental disaster aid bill (H.R. 268) that would provide emergency funding to states and territories that have been impacted by various natural disasters in recent months. 

 

Health Policy Report

The Week in Review

The Trump administration officially kicked off the fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations process last week, unveiling a budget (text; fact sheet; summary tables; press release) that calls for five percent cuts to non-defense spending. The budget’s proposed cuts and reforms to entitlement and health care programs, coupled with increased spending on Presidential priorities such as border security and defense, will certainly be a point of contention between President Trump and Congressional Democrats — suggesting that lawmakers will likely need to navigate familiar political landmines to avoid another shutdown. Looking ahead to next steps, House Democrats are expected to release their proposed budget later this month.

 

Financial Services Report (3/18)

After a slow start in January and February, caused in part by the shutdown, the pace has really quickened up. Next week may hold the first mark-up under Chair Waters tenure, with a series of bills potentially on the slate.