Today on the Hill: House Begins Floor Consideration of FY18 Budget; HHS Deputy Faces Confirmation Vote in Senate

The first legislative step on the long road to comprehensive tax reform starts today as House lawmakers begin consideration of the budget resolution for the 2018 fiscal year. The budget is behind schedule, but passage in both chambers will allow for Republicans to use the reconciliation process to push through tax reform on a simple majority and avoid a Democratic filibuster in the Senate. House passage of the budget resolution is expected by the end of the week, while the Senate Budget Committee will start a two-day markup of its version of the FY18 budget resolution this morning.

Senate floor action remains fixed on a block of presidential nominees, with roll call votes scheduled today to confirm Eric Hargan to be Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services and for cloture on the nomination of Randal Quarles to be a Member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Hargan advanced out of the Senate Finance Committee on a largely party-line vote of 17-9 in June and will likely face significant Democratic opposition in today’s votes, although his nomination is not considered to be in any danger of disapproval. Quarles, meanwhile, received the support of five Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee when his nomination was advanced to the Senate floor last month.

President Trump will be in Las Vegas today to visit with victims and families affected by the mass shooting at a country music concert on Sunday night. The White House is also reportedly set to release a $29 billion request to Congress for disaster aid to benefit the areas affected by natural disasters that have struck across the U.S. and its territories over the past few weeks. The package is said to include $13 billion in funding for recovery from hurricanes that struck Puerto Rico and other parts of the United States, $16 billion in flood insurance relief, and more than $500 million for damage inflicted by wildfires.