Weekly Legislative Update
 Week of February 13, 2017
Congressional Outlook

Week of February 13

The House and Senate are both in session this week. On Monday, the House considered 4 bills under suspension of the rules. For the remainder of the week, the House will vote on five separate disapproval resolutions under the 1996 Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows Congress, with a simple majority in the House and Senate, to nullify rules finalized by the Obama Administration in the last 60 legislative days of the 114th Congress, including: (1) a Labor Department rule which limits drug testing of certain unemployment compensation applicants; (2) a Labor Department rule related to auto-enrolling employees in state-run retirement plans; (3) a Labor Department rule allowing large cities and counties to set up auto-enrollment retirement savings programs; (4) an Interior Department rule barring any predator population-control hunting on national wildlife refuges in Alaska unless it's in response to a conservation concern; and (5) a Health and Human Services Department rule that allows grantees of Title X funds, which cover family planning services, to choose sub-recipients of the funds only on the basis of their ability to provide Title X services.   
On Monday and Tuesday, the Senate will vote on three Cabinet nominations: Steve Mnuchin for Secretary of the Treasury, David Shulkin for Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and Linda McMahon for Administrator of the Small Business Administration. Other potential Cabinet nominee votes this week may include: Rick Perry for Secretary of Energy, Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) for Secretary of the Interior, Wilbur Ross for Secretary of Commerce, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) for Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. The Senate HELP and Finance Committees will be holding confirmation hearings on Thursday for Andrew Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants Inc., the parent company of Hardee's and Carl's Jr., to be Secretary of Labor, and health policy consultant Seema Verma to be Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, respectively.
On Monday, President Trump met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House and on Wednesday Trump will be meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch plans to continue visiting with Senators in preparation for his confirmation battle to take the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia almost one year ago. Gorsuch, a federal appellate court judge from Denver, CO, plans to meet with all 100 Senators.
Week in Review

President Trump Signs Four Executive Orders
Last Thursday, President Trump signed four Executive Orders, including: instructing Attorney General Jeff Sessions to develop strategies for the Department of Justice to use existing federal laws or recommend new legislation to prosecute individuals who commit crimes against law enforcement officials; instructing AG Sessions to establish a task force to discuss crime reduction ideas, identify "deficiencies" in current laws and evaluate the availability of crime-related data; increasing communication and coordination among different agencies relating to international criminal organization and creating a strategy to disrupt these organizations; and changing the order of succession at the Justice Department As of February 12, Trump has signed 24 Executive Orders and presidential memoranda. Read more...
Senate Votes to Confirm Education Secretary, Attorney General, and HHS Secretary
On Feb. 7, the Senate voted 51-50, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie, to confirm Betsy DeVos as the 11th U.S. Secretary of Education. On Feb. 8, the Senate voted 52-47-1 to confirm Jeff Sessions as the 84th U.S. Attorney General. On Feb. 10, the Senate voted 52-47 to confirm Tom Price as the 23rd U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. Also, on Feb. 7, the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee voted 15-0 to advance the nomination of David Shulkin to be U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs.   Read more...    
House Passes CRA Resolution Disapproving of BLM's Planning 2.0 Rule
On Feb. 7, the House passed, by a vote of 234-186, a disapproval resolution ( H. J. Res. 44), under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) which nullifies an updated land-use "Planning 2.0" process rule from the Obama Administration's Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which created additional opportunities for public input at earlier planning stages and shifted responsibility for drafting land use plans from BLM field offices to officials in Washington. The National Association of Counties (NACo) praised the passage of the Disapproval Resolution, stating that it "is a win for counties."  The White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy for the Resolution, stating that " If th[is] bill were presented to the President in [its] current form, his advisors would recommend that he sign [it] into law." Read more...
House Democrats Hold Legislative Retreat
From February 8-10, the House Democratic conference held a legislative retreat in Baltimore, MD. At the retreat, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-MD) vowed to aggressively fight President Trump, slamming his first weeks in the   White House   and suggesting there would be little room for compromise. Read more...