Weekly Legislative Update
 Week of September 16, 2019  
Congressional Outlook

The House and Senate are in session this week. The House will consider 17 bills under suspension of the rules, including the Nicholas and Zachary Burt Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act of 2019 (H.R. 1618), which authorizes the Consumer Product Safety Commission to give grants to states to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning at $2 million annually for FYs 2020-2024. For the remainder of the week, the House will vote on a short-term spending bill making continued appropriations for the federal government from October 1-November 21, 2019 at enacted FY 2019 funding levels in order to avoid a government shutdown beginning Oct. 1; a motion to go to conference and a Republican motion to instruct conferees on the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (S. 1790)-the House and Senate have passed differing versions of the annual defense policy bill, but lawmakers have been negotiating a final version to send to President Trump; and the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal (FAIR) Act (H.R. 1423), which prohibits employment and consumer agreements that require arbitration to resolve legal disputes or that limit the ability to participate in class actions.
The Senate will vote on five executive nominations this week: John Rakolta, Jr. to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates; Kenneth Howery to be U.S. Ambassador to Sweden; Robert Destro to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor; Brent McIntosh to be an Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs; and Brian Callanan to be General Counsel for the Department of the Treasury. In addition, the Senate may consider this week the $694.9 billion Department of Defense appropriations bill (S. 2474) and the $48.86 billion Energy and Water Development bill (S. 2470) that were reported by the Senate Appropriations Committee last week. The vehicle for considering the measures could be the House-passed bill (H.R. 2740) that contains the House versions of the Defense, Energy and Water, Labor-HHS-Education, and State and Foreign Operations bills. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has not announced plans yet for considering the bills. McConnell said the Senate later will consider the new House-passed continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government after current funds run out on Sept. 30.
The Senate Appropriations Committee plans to mark up their FY 2020 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development; Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA; and Financial Services-General Government Appropriations bills on Thursday. Appropriators will not mark up their Military Construction-VA bill, which Subcommittee Chairman John Boozman (R-AR) said he expected this week, after delaying their Labor-HHS-Education and State-Foreign Operations markups last week. The MilCon-VA measure was likely to cause a controversy, Boozman said earlier this summer, because the president has requested $3.6 billion in border wall funds in the bill. Lawmakers would also have to decide whether to backfill FY 2019 military construction funds transferred to pay for fencing.
Additional Committee hearings of note this week include a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions nomination hearing on Wednesday for Labor Secretary nominee Eugene Scalia; and a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday on "presidential obstruction of justice and abuse of power" with a witness list that includes Corey Lewandowski (former campaign manager for President Trump), Rick Dearborn (former White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy), and Rob Porter (former White House Staff Secretary).
Week in Review