A busy week in Washington comes to a close as the House seeks to wrap up its work today on 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. When the lower chamber returns to work on Monday, the focus will shift toward legislation aimed at combating the opioid epidemic. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) indicated that the chamber is set to vote on a series of bills over the course of two weeks that seek to fight the epidemic in a variety of ways. The House currently has two opioid-focused bills listed for consideration next week, including: (1) a bill (H.R. 2851) that would amend the Controlled Substances Act to clarify how controlled substance analogues are regulated; and (2) a bill (H.R. 5735) that would facilitate more section 8 housing vouchers for supportive and transitional housing for individuals recovering from opioid use disorders.
The House is also poised to contend with a contentious immigration debate after Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) was able to temporarily quell an intraparty insurrection on the issue. Speaker Ryan vowed yesterday in a closed-door meeting with members to put pen to paper on a compromise bill that would seek to appease centrists pushing for a solution to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and conservative hardliners — who want increased funding for border security and reforms to existing statutes on family migration and the visa lottery. Under the obscure rules of the immigration discharge petition, the centrist group has until June 12 to gather the 218 signatures needed to force the issue to the floor. Leadership is currently operating under the petition’s June 12 deadline to present a deal to members.
Meanwhile, the Senate stands adjourned until 3:00 pm on Monday. When it returns, the upper chamber will look to move to full consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (H.R. 5515) by voting on a procedural motion that would end debate on the motion to proceed. The Senate is expected to spend the lion’s share of its work week ironing out the details of the massive defense authorization bill, including possible consideration of amendments that would: (1) 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; (2) restore the Commerce Department’s penalties on the Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran and North Korea; and (3) reign in tariffs implemented by President Trump on U.S. allies.