Weekly Legislative Update
 Week of February 26, 2018 
Congressional Outlook

The House and Senate are in session this week. The House will consider eight bills under suspension of the rules, including the SOAR to Health and Wellness Act of 2017 (H.R. 767), which directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a pilot program to combat human trafficking; and the Action for Dental Health Act of 2017 (H.R. 2422), which would reauthorize the oral health promotion and disease prevention programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for FYs 2018-2022. For the remainder of the week, the House will vote on a bill (H.R. 4296) which would set parameters for federal financial regulators when establishing operational risk capital requirements; and the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 (H.R. 1865), which would allow federal, state, and local prosecutors to use both state sex trafficking laws and promotion of prostitution laws to prosecute websites that sell victims of trafficking, in addition to providing a new federal crime that is specifically tailored to how bad actor websites are engaging in the online sex trade. 
The Senate will consider the following six nominations this week: Elizabeth Branch to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (Alabama, Florida, and Georgia); Russell Vought to be Deputy Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget; A. Marvin Quattlebaum Jr. to be U.S. District Judge for the District of South Carolina; Karen Scholer to be U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Texas; Tilman "Tripp" Self III to be U.S. District Judge for the Middle District of Georgia; and Terry Doughty to be U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Louisiana.
Congress will continue discussions this week on a FY 2018 spending package that now includes Democratic demands for extra money to counter Russian election meddling, tighter gun-sale controls, as well as protecting the "Dreamers" from deportation. The longer list of hot-button policy issues confronts appropriators as they try to craft a spending package for the balance of the current fiscal year in line with the budget agreement reached earlier this month. Stopgap funding runs only through Friday, March 23, so Democrats may have some leverage to push for inclusion of their policy goals in the final package. The House has shortened its work week to just two days following the death of 99-year old evangelist Billy Graham, whose body will lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday and Thursday; the Senate will remain in session through the week.
On Monday, President Trump is hosting a "business session" with governors; meeting with credit union representatives; and meeting with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX). On Tuesday, Trump is hosting meetings with House and Senate Republicans at the White House and has a meeting with Boy Scouts of America; on Thursday, Trump will host a opioids summit; on Friday, Trump is attending Billy Graham's funeral in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Week in Review

President Trump Signs Presidential Memorandum on Bump Stocks
On February 20, President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the Department of Justice to draft regulations that would ban "bump stocks," the devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire almost as fast as automatic weapons. A bump stock was used on October 1, 2017 by a gunman in Las Vegas, NV who killed 58 and injured 851 people in the span of ten minutes, the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in U.S. history. Read more...
FCC Publishes Net Neutrality Repeal in Federal Register
On February 22, t he Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) order repealing Obama-era net neutrality rules was published in the Federal Register, prompting several groups to refile legal challenges against the agency's decision, including a coalition of 23 state attorneys general, led by New York's Eric Schneiderman. The FCC's rule repealing the Obama-era net neutrality regulations is set to take effect starting on April 23, although the bulk of the new order still does not have a date for when it will become official. The order modifies data collection requirements that still have to be approved by the White House Office of Management and Budget, meaning that the FCC will have to publish another document in the Federal Register once that occurs. Additionally, net neutrality supporters in Congress, led by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), are now able to try to overturn the repeal through legislation within the next 60 legislative days under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Read more...
White House Council of Economic Advisers Releases Economic Report of the President
On February 21, White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) Chairman Kevin Hassett released the 568-page annual Economic Report of the President, along with the Annual Report of the CEA. The CEA "projects economic growth will increase to 3.1 percent in 2018, remaining above 3 percent through 2020 and adding a cumulative $1.1 trillion to the economy. " Read more...
Trump Announces New North Korea Sanctions
On February 23, Trump Administration announced what President Trump called the "heaviest sanctions ever imposed by our country before" against  North Korea, targeting the country's shipping and trading companies and vessels. Read more...
Trump Signs Gateway Arch National Park Designation Act Into Law
On February 22, President Trump signed the "Gateway Arch National Park Designation Act" ( Public Law 115-128) into law, which redesignates the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, Missouri as the "Gateway Arch National Park."  Read more...
Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Three Individuals to Key Administrative Posts
During the week of February 19, President Trump announced his intent to nominate three individuals to positions in the Trump Administration, including:
  • Paul Lawrence to be Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Benefits;
  • Amy Karpel to be a Member of the United States International Trade Commission for the remainder of a nine-year term expiring June 16, 2020; and
  • Theodore Garrish to be an Assistant Secretary of Energy for International Affairs.