Weekly Legislative Update
 Week of July 22, 2019  
  
Congressional Outlook

The House and Senate are both in session this week. The House will consider 34 bills under suspension of the rules, including the Energy and Water Research Integration Act of 2019 (H.R. 34), which requires the Energy Department to integrate water issues in its research and development programs and establish a committee to improve data collection and reporting on the energy-water nexus; and the American Manufacturing Leadership Act (H.R. 2397), which authorizes $503 million over five years for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Energy Department to expand the Manufacturing USA grant program. For the remainder of the week, the House will vote on the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act of 2019 (H.R. 397), which creates a new Pension Rehabilitation Administration at the Treasury Department to make loans to underfunded multiemployer pension plans; the Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection Custody Act (H.R. 3239), which requires U.S. Customs and Border Protection to provide detainees with minimum standards of health care, hygiene, food, and shelter; and possible consideration of the Homeland Security Improvement Act (H.R. 2203), which prohibits family separations at the border and blocks recent asylum rules from the Trump Administration.
 
The Senate will vote on four executive and judicial nominations: Mark Esper to be the 27th Secretary of Defense; Stephen Dickson to be Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration; Wendy Williams Berger to be U.S. District Judge for the Middle District of Florida; and Brian Buescher to be U.S. Judge of Nebraska. The Senate will also vote on the House-passed Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act (H.R. 1327), which extends the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001, used to pay claims by those harmed by the attack and the subsequent cleanup effort, to FY 2092. Senators reached an agreement allowing Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT) to offer budget/pay-for-related amendments after they objected to the bill; both amendments will need to clear a 60-vote threshold.
 
Congress and the White House are on the brink  of an agreement that would raise the U.S. debt limit until July 31, 2021 and increase government spending for Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021. The deal that is in the final stages of negotiation would offset about $75 billion of the spending increase, giving the Trump Administration and Republicans about half of the savings they sought. The question remains whether President Trump will support it. Time is running short for the House to vote on the package, which is being negotiated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. The spending increase that Pelosi and Mnuchin have tentatively agreed to is estimated to cost $350 billion. While the budget deal does not have to be included with a measure to raise the debt limit, lawmakers want it to be addressed soon so Congress can pass appropriations bills before the new fiscal year begins October 1, 2019. Otherwise, they will have to pass a stopgap spending measure to prevent a government shutdown. Speaker Pelosi has said that she is aiming to have the House vote on the deal this week, followed by the Senate next week, before each chamber recesses for its summer break through September 9.
 
On Wednesday, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller is set to appear before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees for five hours to discuss his 448-page report, publicly released on April 18, 2019, documenting his findings and conclusions into Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, allegations of conspiracy or coordination between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Russia, and allegations of obstruction of justice. The House Judiciary Committee plans to focus on Volume II of the Mueller Report, which lays out the evidence for alleged obstruction of justice by President Trump while the House Intelligence Committee will focus on Volume I, which lays out Russian interference and the Russian government's links to the Trump campaign.
Week in Review