Today on the Hill: House Votes to Enhance Probation Officer Arrest Authority; Oversight Chair Chaffetz Announces Early Departure from Congress

The Senate finished its legislative business for the week yesterday – holding a successful confirmation vote on a Justice Department official and invoking cloture on the nomination for Ambassador to China – leaving the House to complete its work today on a police-related measure. House lawmakers will consider a bill (H.R. 1039) today that would allow probation officers to arrest individuals without a warrant if there is probable cause to believe that the individual forcibly assaulted or obstructed a probation officer in the performance of their duties. There has been some opposition to the bill from both ends of the political spectrum, with civil rights and libertarian groups taking issue with the expansion of arrest authority. The bill was advanced out of the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month on a 15-7 party-line vote.

Additional news from Capitol Hill includes the surprise announcement yesterday that current House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) will be stepping down from his seat in Congress on June 30. Rep. Chaffetz’s decision to leave office early will trigger a special election for Utah’s 3rd district, as well as a race to replace him as chair of the Oversight Committee. The latter race is expected to attract two stars from the Republican caucus, namely former House Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC). The next chair will likely immediately gain national attention due to the Oversight Committee’s role in investigating Russia’s interference in last year’s presidential election.