Weekly Legislative Update
 Week of December 9, 2019  
  
Congressional Outlook

The House and Senate are in session this week. The House will consider 17 bills under suspension of the rules, including the Inland Waters Security Review Act (H.R. 4402), which requires the Homeland Security Department to conduct a threat analysis of the country's inland waterways, such as navigable rivers and lakes. For the remainder of the week, the House will vote on the Coastal and Great Lakes Communities Enhancement Act (H.R. 729), a package of 10 bills passed by the House Natural Resources Committee in September which creates several new grant programs benefiting local governments in coastal areas and authorizes initiatives related to fish habitats, coastal science and data, and related fellowships; the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019 (H.R. 5038), which allows migrant farm workers to apply for temporary "certified agricultural worker" status and changes the H-2A temporary worker visa program; and the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019 (H.R. 3), which allows the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department to directly negotiate the prices of the most expensive drugs and requires HHS to negotiate prices of drugs and biological products that lack competition from generic drugs or biosimilars, as well as insulin. The House may also consider the conference agreement for the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (S. 1790), after lawmakers reached agreement on the measure last week.
 
The Senate will vote on five judicial and executive nominations: Patrick Bumatay and Lawrence VanDyke to be U.S. Circuit Judges for the Ninth Circuit; John Sullivan to be U.S. Ambassador to Russia; Stephen Hahn to be Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration; and Aurelia Skipwith to be Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  
 
House Intelligence and Judiciary Committee counsels are providing their closing summations on Monday in the Democrats' case against President Trump as they continue debating how far to go in drafting articles of impeachment later this week. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said on Dec. 8 that his panel is on track to decide what charges will be brought against the President, setting up a historic vote on impeachment in the full House before Congress leaves for a scheduled two-week holiday break beginning Dec. 20. Likely articles of impeachment are abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Nadler said, which the House Judiciary Committee could vote on as early as this Thursday or Friday.  
 
Appropriators have until midnight on Dec. 20 to decide on next steps for government funding. Lawmakers are currently working to strike a bicameral deal soon on FY 2020 spending, aiming to vote on two to four packages of appropriations bills in the next two weeks. Top appropriators continued to work on the most controversial issues over the weekend, but lawmakers have yet to announce an agreement. Three facets of the border wall debate are the toughest issues to work out, appropriators have said. This includes the $8.6 billion in proposed FY20 border spending by the Trump Administration; proposed language from Congressional Democrats barring the Administration from reprogramming any FY20 funds from military construction projects to pay for fencing on the southern border; and additional requested funds from the Administration for the FY19 military construction funds that were put off in order to pay for border fencing.
Week in Review