Weekly Legislative Update
 Week of August 6, 2018 
  
Congressional Outlook

The House and Senate are both in recess this week. The House returns to DC on September 4 and the Senate returns on August 15. When the Senate returns, it will consider the nominations of A. Marvin Quattlebaum, Jr. and Julius Richardson to be U.S. Circuit Judges for the Fourth Circuit and will begin consideration of the FY 2019 Defense-Labor/HHS/Education Appropriations bill.
 
On Tuesday, voters in Ohio's 12th congressional district head to the polls to vote in a special House election to fill the vacancy created when former Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH) resigned on January 15, 2018 to lead the Ohio Business Roundtable; Democratic candidate Danny O'Connor is running against Republican Troy Balderson in a district that President Trump won by 11.3 percentage points in 2016. Voters in Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Washington, and Hawaii also head to the polls this week to vote in Democratic and Republican primary races.
Week in Review

Senate P asses FY 2019 Minibus Spending Bill
 
On August 1, the Senate passed, by a vote of 92-6, a $154.2 billion four-bill appropriations package ( H.R. 6147) containing FY 2019 funding for the Interior-Environment, Financial Services-General Government, Agriculture-FDA, and Transportation-HUD measures. Leading up to the final vote, the Senate adopted, by voice vote, a bipartisan manager's package of 46 amendments; the Senate also considered 12 stand-alone amendments to the bill by recorded vote, adopting eight and rejecting four. The Senate minibus will now be conferenced with the House-passed minibus. The Trump Administration stated that " The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress as the FY 2019 appropriations process moves forward." The Senate has now passed seven of the 12 annual appropriations bills for FY 2019 and will likely consider the FY19 Defense-Labor/HHS/Education minibus bill in mid-late August. Read more. 
Trump Signs 4-Month NFIP Extension Into Law
 
On July 31, President Trump signed the "National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2018" ( Public Law 115-225) into law, which extends the NFIP's authorization through November 30, 2018. The House passed the bill on July 25 by a vote of 366-52 and the Senate passed it on July 31 by a vote of 86-12. The passage and signing of the bill prevented a lapse in the NFIP's authorization which was set to expire at midnight on July 31. Since the NFIP's multi-year authorization expiration on Sept. 30, 2017, Congress has passed seven short-term NFIP extensions with little bipartisan agreement over moves to reform the program. Last November, the House passed the 21st Century Flood Reform Act ( H.R. 2874), a package of seven bills approved last summer by the House Financial Services Committee to reform and reauthorize the NFIP. However, the Senate has yet to move seriously on any bill related to NFIP reauthorization. While several bills have been introduced in the Senate, none have received consideration. Congress will need to reach an agreement on NFIP reform and reauthorization issues prior to Nov. 30, 2018 or another short-term extension will be needed to keep the program from lapsing. Read more. 
Senate Passes FY 2019 NDAA, Sending Bill to Trump's Desk
 
On August 1, the Senate passed, by a vote of 87-10, the Conference Report for the $717 billion FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act ( H.R. 5515), which authorizes funding for the Department of Defense and the national security programs of the Department of Energy. The House previously passed the Conference Report on July 26 by a vote of 359-54, sending the bill to President Trump's desk to be signed into law. A summary of the bill is available here . Read more.
Senate Votes to go to Conference on 2018 Farm Bill, Announces Conferees
 
On July 31, the Senate agreed, by voice vote, to go to conference with the House on the 2018 Farm Bill (H.R. 2). On August 1, it was announced that the nine Senate conferees will be: Sens. Pat Roberts (R-KS), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), John Boozman (R-AR), John Hoeven (R-ND), Joni Ernst (R-IA) , Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND). These conferees will formally meet with the House's 47 conferees (see lists here and here) in September to consider a final compromise 2018 Farm Bill. During August, the House and Senate Agriculture Committee leadership will likely be meeting extensively to make progress on a final bill prior to consideration in Sept. Senate Majority Leader McConnell said last week that he'd like to see the conference report ready after Labor Day. Read more.
Trump Signs Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act Into Law
 
On July 31, President Trump signed the "Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act" ( Public Law 115-224) into law, which reauthorizes and modifies existing programs for career and technical education. The bill overhauls the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, a $1.2 billion program last overhauled by Congress in 2006. The new law allows states to set their own goals for career and technical education programs without the U.S. Secretary of Education's approval, requires them to make progress toward those goals, and makes other changes to federal CTE law. The House and Senate passed the bill by voice vote on July 23 and 25, respectively. Read more. 
Trump Announces Nominee to Head White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
 
On July 31, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier to be Director of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP); the position has been vacant for more than 560 days, since the end of the Obama Administration. The OSTP Director has a broad mandate to advise the President on the effects of science and technology on domestic and international affairs. Droegemeier currently serves as Vice President for Research and Regents' Professor of Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma and as Oklahoma Cabinet Secretary of Science and Technology. Read more.