Today on the Hill: Energy-Water Bill Stalls Over Iran Amendment; House to Vote on Fiduciary Rule Disapproval

April 28, 2016

Senators today will try to break a partisan impasse that has held up the Energy and Water Development spending bill (H.R. 2028) before leaving for a week-long recess. The controversy comes over an amendment submitted by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) that would thwart a recently struck deal for the United States to purchase heavy water – a form of water used in the certain nuclear reactors – from Iran. While the purchase is unrelated to last year’s comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran, Democrats have labeled Cotton’s proposal as a “poison pill” and the White House has said it would veto the spending bill if the Iran language were included.

The chamber’s divide on the Water and Energy Development spending bill means it is unlikely that the Transportation-HUD spending bill (H.R. 2577) will reach the floor this week, with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) withdrawing a cloture motion for the second spending measure yesterday. However, Senate appropriators are reportedly considering combining the Transportation-HUD bill with the Military Construction-VA spending measure into an appropriations minibus that would be taken up after next week’s recess. Lawmakers may use that legislative package to serve as a vehicle for emergency funding sought by the White House to combat the Zika virus as mosquito season approaches in the United States.  
The House today will consider a resolution of disapproval that would nullify the Department of Labor’s recently finalized fiduciary rule legally requiring retirement advisers to put their clients’ interests first when providing investment advice. Republicans are leading the charge against the rule – arguing that the rule would limit access to advice for low-income savers – while the White House has issued a veto threat. Two votes delayed earlier in the week are also expected today under suspension of the rules, namely for measures that would direct the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to create a safe harbor for certain investment fund research reports (H.R. 5019) and to make technical amendments to requirements for flood insurance (H.R. 2901).  
‘Today on the Hill’ includes updates provided by the House and Senate majority leaders, as well information derived from publications including Bloomberg Government, The Hill, Politico, Roll Call, The New York Times, and Morning Consult.