Weekly Legislative Update
 Week of October 28, 2019  
Congressional Outlook

The House and Senate are in session this week. The House will consider 21 bills under suspension of the rules, including the Dignity in Aging Act of 2019 (H.R. 4334), which reauthorizes the Older Americans Act for FYs 2020-2024, a law authorizing funds to state and local programs to ensure aging seniors have access to food, transportation, and other basic services they need to live independently and with dignity; and the Veteran Treatment Court Coordination Act of 2019 (H.R. 886), which directs the Attorney General to permanently establish a Veteran Treatment Court Program to coordinate grants, training, and technical assistance for states and municipalities to set up and operate special courts for veterans accused of nonviolent crimes. For the remainder of the week, the House will vote on the Protect Against Conflict by Turkey (PACT) Act (H.R. 4695), which imposes sanctions on Turkish officials for their involvement in military operations against Syrian Kurdish forces and other affected communities in northern Syria; a resolution (H. Res. 296) recognizing the Armenian genocide that took place from 1915-1923; the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act (H.R. 1373), which permanently withdraws more than one million acres of federal land adjacent to Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona from mineral and geothermal leasing; the Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act of 2019 (H.R. 2181), which prohibits new mining and energy leasing on federally owned land in and around Chaco Culture National Historic Park in New Mexico; and the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act (H.R. 823), which designates hundreds of thousands of acres of federal land in Colorado as wilderness, recreation areas, or for other uses.
The Senate will resume consideration of its first FY 2020 minibus appropriations package (H.R. 3055), totaling $214.4 billion in discretionary spending, which includes the Commerce-Justice-Science; Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA; Interior-Environment; and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bills. On Monday, the Senate will vote on three amendments to the package: a measure by Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) that would require a Department of Agriculture report on challenges facing food distribution programs in underserved areas; a budget-cutting measure by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) that would cut spending by 2%, compared to FY 2019 levels, for all accounts under the four bills; and an amendment by Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) which would provide $5 million for a USDA loan relending program to resolve ownership and succession on farmland. Once the Senate approves this minibus package, the chamber will then move on to consideration of a second minibus package likely consisting of the chamber's FY 2020 Defense; Labor-Health and Human Services-Education; State-Foreign Operations; and Energy-Water Development Appropriations bills. Senate Democrats will also force a vote this week on a resolution (S.J. Res. 52) to nullify an October 2018 Trump Administration rule, under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which would roll back the "State Relief and Empowerment Waivers" rule which gives states more flexibility to approve cheaper health insurance plans that do not meet the Affordable Care Act standards for coverage.
Week in Review