Next Week on the Hill: House Considers Auto-Lending CRA, Nuclear Waste Bill; McConnell Continues Judicial Noms Blitz

Congress returns from their brief recess on Monday for a three-week session ahead of Memorial Day at the end of the month. Work next week for the House features four measures covering a wide array of issues that are expected to be considered pursuant to a rule. The first, and perhaps most significant, is a Senate-passed Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution (S.J. Res. 57) that would nullify guidance issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regarding auto lending. The most consequential element of the measure is that it will repeal agency guidance, as opposed to a rule, which sets a new precedent for congressional oversight of regulations. Only one Democrat voted in favor of the resolution in the upper chamber and it is expected to be considered on partisan lines in the House as well.

Other items on the House docket include a bill that would require the Department of Justice to release information on their grant programs for state and local governments on pretrial release programs (H.R. 2152), a measure to change the way the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) considers mergers (H.R. 5645), and a bill that would set policy for used nuclear fuel, including at the controversial Yucca Mountain site in Nevada (H.R. 3053). The nuclear waste measure has broad support after being approved by the Energy and Commerce on a 49-4 vote last June, but has faced vocal opposition from Nevada lawmakers who argue that the Silver State is bearing too heavy of a burden for the nation’s nuclear energy production.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has teed up another judicial confirmation blitz, with six high-level federal judges expected to be voted on next week. The process starts Monday with a cloture vote due on the nomination of Kurt Engelhardt to join the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Much to the chagrin of Democrats, the rate of federal judicial confirmations during the Trump Administration has far outpaced that of recent presidents, partly due to the abandonment of the 60-vote threshold for judicial nominees in 2013.