Both chambers are back in session next week as Congress hopes to clear the decks ahead of the August recess. The Senate — whose August recess is expected to be shortened — will return on Monday to consider three nominations, namely Mark Bennett to join the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Brian Benczkowski to be Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and Paul Ney to be General Counsel for the Department of Defense. All three are expected to be confirmed next week.
The House is due back on Tuesday, where they are scheduled to begin consideration of another appropriations minibus (H.R. 6147) and a reauthorization bill (H.R. 6237) for the intelligence community. The minibus includes the traditional Interior-Environment and Financial Services-General Government appropriations bills, with the latter including a change to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) funding process that Democrats oppose. The intelligence authorization would cover both the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years, and was approved out of the House Intelligence Committee by unanimous voice vote.
President Trump will start another high-profile foreign trip next week by traveling to Brussels, Belgium on Wednesday for the 29th North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit. The President has frequently criticized the longstanding alliance between Western nations over concerns that the United States bears too much of the cost of collective defense. The President’s trip will also include a visit to Helsinki, Finland for a highly-anticipated bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.