Today on the Hill: House to Consider WH Rescissions Bill; Senate Continues Work on NDAA

Lawmakers are preparing for an active day in Washington today, as both the House and Senate look to advance a pair of major legislative initiatives. In the lower chamber, House GOP leadership will move forward with a White House plan to cut roughly $15 billion in leftover spending from the massive $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill passed earlier this year. Prior to its submission, the rescissions package (H.R. 3) was revised by the administration to withdraw proposed cuts from Federal Highway Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), while maintaining a $7 billion cut to leftover funding from the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The measure is expected to clear the lower chamber today, however, the package faces long odds of approval in the Senate as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has signaled little interest in moving the Trump-backed proposal. Following a vote on rescissions bill, the House will move into consideration of an appropriations “minibus” (H.R. 5895) that would authorize FY 2019 funding for Energy and Water Development, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and Legislative Branch (MilCon-VA) appropriations.

Meanwhile, the Senate seeks to continue its work on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) amid pushback from two conservative lawmakers on issues related to financial services and trade. Yesterday, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) objected to starting debate on the bill (H.R. 5515) because he wants a vote on his amendment that would give the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) more power to clamp down on foreign investment in the U.S. by China and others that could pose national security risks. Further complicating matters in the upper chamber is a push from a bipartisan group of lawmakers — led by Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) — for a vote on an amendment to the massive defense authorization bill that would block President Trump’s tariffs on allies. The result of these schisms is likely to push final passage of the NDAA to next week as lawmakers look to reconcile these issues. Prior to its work on the NDAA, the Senate will hold a confirmation vote on Kenneth Marcus to be Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the Department of Education.