Weekly Legislative Update
 Week of February 12, 2018 
  
Congressional Outlook

The House and Senate are both in session this week. The House will consider nine bills under suspension of the rules. For the remainder of the week, the House will vote on the TRID Improvement Act of 2017 (H.R. 3978), which would provide non-bank financial companies labeled as systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs) more opportunities to challenge their designation; the Protecting Consumers' Access to Credit Act of 2017 (H.R. 3299), which would preserve the maximum interest rate for a bank loan if it's sold to a third party -- such as a nonbank online marketplace lender -- in a state with stricter usury limits; and the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 620), which would provide businesses an opportunity to fix architectural barriers that prevent disability access before they could be sued.
 
On Monday, the Senate plans to open debate on protecting as many as 1.8 million undocumented young immigrants from deportation, border security, and other immigration proposals with a cloture vote on the motion to proceed to H.R. 2579, an unrelated House-passed tax bill that will serve as the vehicle for the legislation. Congress has until March 5, 2018 to pass legislation protecting the Dreamers, otherwise, they may be subject to deportation from the U.S. beginning on that date. The debate, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), will be structured so as to be "fair to everyone." Supporters of the various immigration proposals will need to get 60 votes to quash a filibuster.

On Monday, President Trump sent his proposed FY 2019 budget request to Congress and top Administration officials are scheduled to testify before various congressional committees to make their requests. In a break from a longstanding Republican goal, the plan will not balance the budget in 10 years. The Administration's request had to be adjusted to reflect the recently enacted agreement to raise defense and non-defense discretionary spending caps, which was included in a Continuing Resolution extending government funding through March 23. The bipartisan budget agreement, covering two years, would provide almost $300 billion in additional funding and suspend the federal debt ceiling until March 2019. Appropriators are now awaiting their subcommittee's 302(b) allocations so they can hammer out details of an omnibus spending package for the remainder of FY 2018.
 
The Trump Administration also released its long-awaited 55-page infrastructure plan on Monday. The plan is structured around six principles, including: generating $1.5 trillion for an infrastructure proposal; streamlining the permitting process down to two years; investing in rural infrastructure projects; and advancing workforce training. The Administration is proposing a $200 billion direct federal investment for the package, which will be included in the White House's FY 2019 budget request. Half of the federal seed money would go toward an incentive program to match financing from state and local governments investing in rebuilding projects, while a quarter of the appropriations would be used for rural projects in the form of block grants to states so governors may decide where to invest. The block grants would allot $20 billion for "transformative programs" meant for new projects rather than rehabilitation of old infrastructure. Another $20 billion is meant to expand the use of loans and private activity bonds, while the last $10 billion would go into a "capital financing fund." The allotted $200 billion comes from cuts within the impending White House budget.
 
On Monday, President Trump is holding an infrastructure meeting with state and local officials. On Tuesday, Trump will meet with members of Congress to discuss trade issues; he will also hold a roundtable with the National Sheriffs' Association and local law enforcement. On Wednesday, Trump will host a signing ceremony for the DHS Blue Campaign Authorization Act and the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act.
Week in Review

President Trump Signs Two-Year Bipartisan Budget Deal Into Law
 
On February 9, President Trump signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 ( Public Law 115-123) into law, which will boost both domestic and military spending for FYs 2018 and 2019. After the federal government briefly shut down for several hours early Friday morning, the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 71-28, while the House passed it by a vote of 240-186. The budget deal allows for a total of $579 billion for non-defense discretionary spending and $629 billion for defense spending for FY 2018, and $597 billion for non-defense discretionary spending and $647 billion for defense spending for FY 2019. The deal also includes $89.3 billion in immediate disaster funding  for areas of the country hard-hit by hurricanes, floods and wildfires, in addition to the promise of an additional $10 billion for infrastructure for FY 2018 and FY 2019. The deal includes another Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government through Friday, March 23 to allow for enough time for the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to work through their individual appropriations bills that will likely flow into an omnibus spending bill for the remainder of FY 2018. Finally, the deal suspends the debt ceiling until March 2019; temporarily reauthorizes the National Flood Insurance Program through March 23; reauthorizes and fund the Children's Health Insurance Program through 2027; and provides a one-year extension of more than 30 expired tax breaks. Read more... 
Trump Signs Presidential Memorandum Creating National Vetting Center
 
On February 6, President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum establishing a " National Vetting Center" aimed at improving vetting of those looking to enter the U.S. The memorandum gives the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other agencies six months to establish the center, which Trump Administration officials said is intended to streamline vetting and improve the flow of information between various federal agencies. The memorandum does not establish any new authorities or call for any new funding to establish the vetting center, which will be an effort between DHS, the State Department, Justice Department and intelligence agencies. Read more... 
House Passes Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act
 
On February 6, the House passed, by a vote of   266-157-1, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2017 ( H.R. 772). The bill would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to revise its rule regarding the nutritional information that chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments must disclose to their consumers. Read more...  
House Passes Mortgage Choice Act
 
On February 8, the House passed, by a vote of 280-131, the Mortgage Choice Act of 2017 (H.R. 1153). The bill excludes insurance held in escrow and, under certain circumstances, fees paid to companies affiliated with the creditor from the costs that would be considered in calculating the three percent "points and fees" limitation for purposes of determine whether a mortgage can be considered a "Qualified Mortgage." The legislation directs the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to amend its regulations to reflect the new exclusions. Read more...  
House Passes Small Bank Holding Company Relief Act
 
On February 8, the House passed, by a vote of 280-139, the Small Bank Holding Company Relief Act of 2018 ( H.R. 4771). The bill requires the Federal Reserve Board to apply its Small Bank Holding Company Policy Statement to banks and savings and loan holding companies with pro forma consolidated assets of less than $3 billion. The Small Bank Holding Company Policy Statement currently applies to bank holding companies with assets less than $1 billion . Read more... 
Senate Confirms Andrei Iancu to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
 
On February 5, the Senate confirmed, by a vote of 94-0 , Andrei Iancu to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Iancu previously served as the Managing Partner of Irell & Manella LLP, where his practice focused on intellectual property law. Read more... 
Senate Confirms Two Trump Administration Nominees by Voice Vote
 
On February 7, the Senate confirmed, by voice vote, Barbara Stewart to be Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service, and Brett Giroir to be Medical Director in the Regular Corps of the Public Health Service, and to be an Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services. Read more here and here.
Senate and House Pass Kari's Law, Sending Bill to President Trump
 
On February 5, the Senate passed, by Unanimous Consent, the Kari's Law Act of 2017 ( H.R. 582), which will ensure that anyone who dials 911 can reach emergency personnel even if the phone typically requires that user to dial a prefix such as "9" or "7" to get an outside line. The House passed the bill on Feb. 9 by voice vote, sending the bill to President Trump to be signed into law. Read more... 
Trump Sends 12 Nominations to Senate for Consideration, Withdraws Two Others
 
On February 5, President Trump officially sent 12 nominations to the Senate for consideration, including Seth Appleton to be an Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for Policy Development and Research, and John Whitley to be an Assistant Secretary of the Army for Financial Management and Comptroller. Trump also officially withdrew two nominations, including Kathleen Hartnett White to be Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Lastly, Trump announced his intent to nominate eight individuals to the Trump Administration during the week of Feb. 8, including Kenneth Johnson to be the Rural Utility Service Administrator at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Charles Rettig to be Commissioner of Internal Revenue for the remainder of a term of five years beginning November 13, 2017. Trump also announced 32 appointments for the Executive Office of the President.