The House and Senate are in session this week. The House will vote on 5 bills under suspension of the rules, including a bill (H.R. 1064) that would entitle federal employees to anti-retaliation protections if they blow the whistle to any supervisor in their direct chain of command and the Settlement Agreement Information Database Act of 2019 (H.R. 995), which would require the text of settlement agreements involving federal agencies to be posted online, including any agency settlements (i.e., consent decrees), that relate to alleged violations of federal law. The House will also vote on a joint resolution (H.J. Res. 37) that would direct President Trump to withdraw U.S. armed forces from the conflict in Yemen, under the War Powers Resolution of 1973.
The Senate will complete its consideration of the Natural Resources Management Act (S. 47), which would combine a long-sought permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)-which expired September 30, 2018-with 600-pages-plus of authorizations that include various public lands measures. The Senate will also likely consider several additional amendments to the bill before final passage. The House is expected to take up the measure once it passes the Senate, as long as major changes are not made to the previously agreed to legislation. The Senate will also vote on the nomination of William Barr to serve as the 85th United States Attorney General, a position he previously served in from 1991-1993.
Lawmakers could act this week on legislation to keep large swaths of the federal government open past Friday, February 15, including a conference report on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding measure if House and Senate negotiators reach a compromise. House Democrats have begun preparing a stopgap spending bill for DHS that could last all the way until September 30, 2019. Democrats discussed the idea on a conference call on Sunday afternoon, though no final decisions have been made, according to two aides briefed on the discussion. The sticking point among the 17 House-Senate conferees is over the number and purpose of immigration detention beds. Democrats are seeking a cap to force U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain criminals rather than undocumented immigrants with no criminal history. Republicans are resisting a limit on grounds that criminals should not count toward it and ICE should have discretion.