This Week on the Hill: Omnibus Deadline Friday; Terrorism Concerns Mount

December 7, 2015

With highway funding and reconciliation settled, Congress is geared to begin a busy legislative week. Lawmakers will only have five days to complete an omnibus package funding the government beyond current funding’s expiration on December 11. The text of a $1.1 trillion omnibus bill may be posted today, which would allow the House to take up a bill on Wednesday. Appropriators have been negotiating the policy riders for such a measure, with House Democrats having already rejected Republicans’ first offer due to its inclusion of “poison pill” riders. However, progress has been made on one Republican rider as Senate Democrats have reportedly set out their terms for allowing the 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports to be lifted. Congressional staffers are scrambling to meet the Friday deadline for a funding measure, but Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has already braced fellow Republicans to be flexible about working into the weekend to avoid a government shutdown. 

 After the President’s rare address to the nation last night, terrorism will likely be a popular topic of discussion in Congress this week. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter will testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, discussing the nation’s efforts to counter the terrorist organization known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Congress may also take legislative action on the issue by pushing through a bipartisan measure that would tighten visa procedures for foreigners entering the United States.

The Senate begins the week with consideration of the appointment of Travis Randall McDonough as US District Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee before moving to deliberation on the conference report to accompany the Senate’s education package (S. 1177) that will replace the George W. Bush-era No Child Left Behind law. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has filed for cloture on the measure and a roll call vote on advancing the bill is set to be held tomorrow. 

The House may consider Senate changes to the budget reconciliation bill (H.R. 3762) this week, but will begin its session today at noon begin by considering two bills under suspension of the rules, which limits debate 40 minutes and requires a two-thirds majority to pass. Those bills are:

  • S. 614 – The Federal Improper Payments Coordination Act of 2015 would extend the availability of the Do Not Pay Initiative to include states and contractors in order to deter improper payments on federal contracts.
  • H.R. 1321 – The Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 would ban cosmetics that contain synthetic plastic microbeads beginning on January 1, 2018.

‘This Week 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, and National Journal.