This Week on the Hill: Trump-Kim Singapore Summit Tomorrow; House to Consider Opioids Bills as Immigration Debate Looms

The biggest headlines this week are likely to come out of the Asian city-state of Singapore, where President Trump is due to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in an historic summit between the two adversaries. President Trump will be hoping to convince Kim to move forward with his nation’s proposed denuclearization, although this meeting is expected to focus more on exploring whether such a deal will be possible rather than on any technical details around a possible agreement. Nevertheless, Tuesday’s scheduled summit represents the most significant diplomatic opening that North Korea has shown in a decade and will be closely-watched both in Washington and around the world.  

Both chambers are in session today, but only the Senate has a vote scheduled. That vote will be to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the upper chamber’s version of the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), kicking off debate on the bill that is expected to consume most of the Senate’s time this week. 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.

Despite the lack of votes today, the House is set up for a significant legislative week. On the official docket are three opioid-related measures, namely: (1) a bill (H.R. 2851) that would amend the Controlled Substances Act to clarify how controlled substance analogues are regulated; (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; and, (3) a bill that would target the international shipment of opioids by requiring the provision of advance electronic information on international mail.

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 last week in a closed-door meeting with members to put forward 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, which would likely then trigger votes on Speaker Ryan’s proposal and three other immigration-related measures.