Weekly Legislative Update
 Week of August 12, 2019  
  
Congressional Outlook

The House and Senate are in recess for the next four weeks, returning to Washington, DC on September 9; there will be pro forma sessions on Tuesday and Friday, where members of Congress are allowed to formally introduce new legislation, however, no votes are held and no formal business is conducted.
 
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said that he will not bring the Senate back into session in August to take up gun control legislation. However, talks between the White House and party leaders could make the issue a priority in September. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are pushing for a Senate vote on two gun control bills (the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 [H.R. 8] and the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019 [H.R. 1112]) that were passed by the House in late February. While there are not any Republican calls to return to the Capitol in August, President Trump has suggested the party will get behind background check legislation. Several House committees are starting up their own work. The House Judiciary Committee is considering an early return to markup gun safety legislation, and the House Homeland Security Committee is planning field hearings during recess where attacks have occurred. And the House Oversight and Reform Committee opened an investigation into gun violence last week, requesting information from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives about the sales of guns linked to crimes in the last five years.
 
Appropriations leaders are still mulling over how to tackle FY 2020 spending bills when Congress returns, with Senate Republicans setting up a plan for southern border wall funding. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) is looking to pay for President Trump's border barriers by putting $5 billion less in the Labor-HHS-Education measure, according to several people familiar with the process. The House, on the other hand, did not include any money for a wall in its Homeland Security measure and included language to prevent Trump from transferring military funding to the project. It sets up a likely fight over Homeland Security funding, already potentially the most divisive bill. Chairman Shelby distributed allocations for each subcommittee, known as 302(b)s, to panel clerks last week, but they have not been made public yet. Senate Appropriations markups are still expected to begin the week of September 9, at a rate of four each week.
 
This week, President Trump will continue his vacation at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, however, he still has a few events scheduled. On Tuesday, he will tour and speak at the Shell Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex in Monaca, Pennsylvania. On Thursday evening, Trump will speak at a political rally in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Week in Review