The House and Senate are both in session this week. The House will consider
under suspension of the rules, including the Senate-passed
Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018
(S. 140), which reauthorizes the
Coast Guard and Federal Maritime Commission through FY 2019 and modifies the regulation of vessel discharge and ballast water. The Senate will vote on the nominations of Stephen Vaden to be General Counsel of the Department of Agriculture; Karen Kelley to be Deputy Secretary of Commerce; Thomas Farr to be U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina; Jonathan Kobes to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Eighth Circuit; and Kathleen Kraninger to be Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Congressional leaders this week will also be working to beat several deadlines, including Friday's expiration of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the December 7 expiration of a continuing resolution (CR) covering seven of the 12 regular FY 2019 appropriations bills. Talks are also continuing on the 2018 Farm Bill after no agreement was reached last week. Additionally, on Tuesday, the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform will continue its markup and consideration of the committee's report, recommendations, and legislative language, which must be approved by Friday, Nov. 30. If a majority of the committee can agree on a consensus package, it would be automatically placed on the Senate calendar for consideration in December.
On Wednesday, the 238 members of the new House Democratic Caucus for the 116th Congress (including four non-voting delegates from DC and three U.S. territories) will vote in their internal, behind-closed-door party leadership elections for Speaker, Majority Leader, Majority Whip, Assistant Democratic Leader, Caucus Chair, Caucus Vice Chair, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chair and five Regional Vice Chairs, three Co-Chairs of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC), a Caucus Leadership Representative of five terms or less, and a Caucus Leadership Representative from the incoming freshman class. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is expected to easily win the support of the vast majority of the Caucus to be the next Speaker of the House, however, her bigger challenge will be to gain nearly universal Democratic support when the full House votes on the first day of session for the 116th Congress on January 3, 2019, when she will need 218 votes to win.
On Tuesday, voters in Mississippi head to the polls to vote in a special runoff election for U.S. Senate for the remaining two years of former Sen. Thad Cochran's (R-MS) six-year term. Incumbent Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) is running against Democrat Mike Espy, who previously served in the House from 1987-1993 and as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture in 1993-94. If Hyde-Smith retains her seat, the Senate GOP will control 53 seats in the 116th Congress, a net gain of two seats.
On Monday, President Trump
will hold political rallies in Tupelo and Biloxi, Mississippi for Sen. Hyde-Smith. On Wednesday, Trump will participate in the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony. On Thursday Trump will travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina to attend the annual Group of Twenty (G20) summit for meetings with leaders of the world's 20 largest economies; he will be in Argentina through Saturday.
Among the world leaders expected there are Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.