The Republican race to finish tax reform legislation before the end of the calendar year enters another critical week as the House takes up its legislation (H.R. 1) on the chamber floor and the Senate Finance Committee begins a markup of the upper chamber’s version of the package. While some defections are likely inevitable, House Republican leadership has voiced confidence that they will have the votes to advance the package before the end of the week and they intend to make few changes to the package passed out of committee last week. The House Rules Committee has teed up a hearing for the bill on Wednesday, likely setting up an up-or-down vote on Thursday.
The Senate's markup starts at 3:00 p.m. today, with hundreds of amendments submitted for consideration. The House markup process saw Democrats submit a considerable number of amendments, but none were included in the version that was advanced to the House floor. In addition to watching for Republican schisms, observers will be looking for any signals from moderate Democrats that they may be able to support a tax reform package if given some concessions.
Other significant floor action in the House this week includes the House moving to approve the conference report to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (H.R. 2810) for the 2018 fiscal year and consideration of a recently-struck deal (H.R. 2874) to reform the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Both items had been subject to significant intraparty negotiation and are due to receive votes tomorrow. Today, the chamber has four bills teed up to be considered under the rules, including a bill (H.R. 3973) to require certain entities to mitigate internal risk and safeguard financial market data.
The Senate has teed up additional confirmation votes for its floor schedule this week. Today, the chamber will vote to confirm Derek Kan as Under Secretary of Transportation and to invoke cloture on the nomination of Stephen Bradbury to be General Counsel at the Department of Transportation. Joseph Otting’s nomination to be Comptroller of the Currency is officially in the Senate queue after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) filed for cloture on the nomination on Friday.