This Week on the Hill: Senate Queues Up WRDA Reauthorization, Presidential Nominations

The Senate is due back in Washington today for legislative business. When the chamber reconvenes later this afternoon, Senators are expected resume consideration of the legislative vehicle (S. 3021) for reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). The Senate is also expected to chip away at the presidential nominations queue, as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has filed cloture on three nominations including: (1) Jeffrey Bossert Clark to be an Assistant Attorney General; (2) Eric S. Dreiband to be an Assistant Attorney General; and (3) James N. Stewart to be an Assistant Secretary of Defense.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are planning to force a vote Wednesday on a Resolution of Disapproval that would override the Trump administration’s expansion of short-term health insurance plans. Democrats have decried the plans as “junk” health insurance, arguing that the plans do not have to conform to certain guidelines — such as coverage of pre-existing conditions — mandated under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The resolution currently has support from all 49 Senate Democrats, however, it is not expected to pass unless two Senate Republicans break with the GOP. Congressional observers will be watching to see whether Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME) join the minority’s effort given the fact they broke with their party on health care last year. The outcome of the vote, regardless of whether it passes or fails, will likely be used as a political rallying call by Democrats ahead of next month’s midterm elections. 

With respect to the lower chamber, House members have left Washington to hit the campaign trail and are not scheduled to be in session until after the November midterm elections.