Today on the Hill: DC Reacts to Vegas Shooting; House Considers Abortion Bill; Trump to Visit Puerto Rico

As details from Sunday night’s mass shooting in Las Vegas continue to emerge, the gun control debate has reignited in Washington along predictable lines. A bipartisan pair of legislators — Rep. Pete King (R-NY) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) — are reportedly preparing to reintroduce legislation to require background checks on all commercial firearm sales, while many Democrats have called for further measures such as preventing the sale of high-capacity magazines and certain types of military-style rifles. With Republicans controlling all three major levers of power, it is unlikely that any of those efforts will ultimately be enacted into law, but some proponents of stricter gun laws are hoping that the unconventional President Trump may be willing to listen on the issue. Speaking to reporters at the White House earlier today, the President sidestepped questions on specific proposals to restrict gun sales, only saying, “we’ll be talking about gun laws as time goes on.”

Immediate floor action today will see the House consider a bill that would restrict abortions and the Senate consider a block of four presidential nominees. The House bill (H.R. 36) would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy with exceptions for when the life of the mother is at risk and in cases involving rape or incest. The legislation is similar to previous efforts passed by the House in 2013 and 2015, but is unexpected to gain much steam in the Senate, where Democrats will be able to filibuster the bill. House lawmakers will consider an additional six bills under suspension of the rules, a list of which can be found here.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has filed cloture on four nominations, namely: (1) Lee Cissna to be Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS); (2) Eric Hargan to be Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services; (3) Randal Quarles to be a Member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors; and (4) Callista Gingrich to be Ambassador to the Holy See. Floor debate will begin on the nominations today with votes expected later this week.

President Trump will be visiting Puerto Rico today to survey the damage and recovery efforts after Hurricane Maria devastated the island two weeks ago. Both Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp will meet with the President as local officials struggle to restore basic services such as water and electricity to the hardest-hit areas of the island territories. The Trump Administration is reportedly preparing to ask Congress for a $13 billion aid package to help the American outposts in the Caribbean begin their long-term economic recovery.