Today, Next Week on the Hill: Opioids Focus Continues in the House, Followed by Immigration Votes; Senate to Move to Approps Work

The Senate has elected to break for the week, leaving their work on the FY19 National Defense Authorization to be wrapped up early next week. Meanwhile, the House will meet today to consider yet another opioids-related bill designed to stem the flow of drugs from abroad. The measure specifically clarifies how controlled substance analogues are regulated, with the goal of stopping certain synthetic analogues from being trafficked across the U.S. border. The bill passed the House Judiciary by voice vote in a markup late last week.

Next week, the House will continue its opioids charge with consideration of a major package that combines many of the bills considered at the committee-level over the past few weeks. The new vehicle — dubbed the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6) — is set for a hearing in the House Rules Committee on Monday, with floor consideration to follow later in the week. Two other opioids bills are also set for floor time, namely a bill that allows states to provide Medicaid services for individuals with opioid use disorders in institutions for mental diseases (H.R. 5797) and another measure aimed at protecting the confidentiality of substance use disorder patient records (H.R. 6082).

Following weeks of dramatic negotiations and speculation, the House is also set to vote on two immigration bills next Thursday. House Republicans yesterday released a draft immigration bill that is being pitched as a compromise between the conservative and moderate sects of the party and is expected to come up for a floor vote along with a conservative proposal authored by Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).  The compromise legislation would establish a special visa program that would protect young undocumented immigrants from deportation, provide billions of dollars for a wall along the U.S-Mexico border, and impose new limits on legal immigration. However, neither measure is expected to pass as President Trump said he would refuse to sign the compromise immigration bill due to a lack of adequate border wall funding, and Democrats are opposed to both bills.

While the Senate pushed their work on the NDAA to next week, it aims to finish consideration of the mammoth Pentagon funding bill with a final roll call vote scheduled Monday evening. The upper chamber will then move to begin its appropriations work on the floor as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has filed cloture on the motion to proceed on a “minibus” that combines the Energy/Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs appropriations bills. A cloture vote on the motion to proceed to that measure could come as early as Monday night.