Weekly Legislative Update
 Week of September 23, 2019  
Congressional Outlook

The House and Senate are in session this week. The House will consider 18 bills under suspension of the rules, including the SAFE Banking Act of 2019 (H.R. 1595), which allows banks and credit unions to provide financial services to state-authorized cannabis businesses without federal penalties and the Joint Task Force to Combat Opioid Trafficking Act of 2019 (H.R. 3722), which establishes a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) joint task force to counter cross-border trafficking of fentanyl and other narcotics. For the remainder of the week, the House will vote on the Homeland Security Improvement Act (H.R. 2203), which limits the circumstances when DHS could separate migrant parents and children and would also increase oversight of border enforcement operations; and the U.S. Border Patrol Medical Screening Standards Act (H.R. 3525), which sets procedures for Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) medical screenings of migrants encountered between ports of entry.
The Senate will consider four nominations this week: Brian McGuire to be Deputy Under Secretary of the Treasury for Legislative Affairs; Joseph Cella to be U.S. Ambassador to Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu; Daniel Jorjani to be Solicitor of the Department of the Interior; and David Black to be Deputy Commissioner of Social Security for a term expiring January 19, 2025. The Senate will vote on the House-passed continuing resolution (H.R. 4378) which funds the federal government at enacted FY 2019 levels from October 1-November 21, 2019, in order to avoid a government shutdown, and reauthorizes several additional federal programs that are set to expire on Oct. 1, including the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The Senate may also hold votes on up to seven motions to instruct for the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act conference committee; a resolution (S.J. Res. 54) terminating the national emergency designated by President Trump on February 15, which has been used by the administration to take funds allocated for other purposes to instead build fencing on the U.S.-Mexico border; and the Ebola Eradication Act of 2019 (S. 1340), which provides U.S. relief for the Democratic Republic of Congo's ebola outbreak.
On the FY 2020 appropriations front, the Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to markup the FY 2020 Interior-Environment; Commerce-Justice-Science; Homeland Security; and Legislative Branch Appropriations bills on Thursday morning. However, lawmakers are still far away from agreements on key issues that it is possible they may eventually rely on a full-year continuing resolution to fund the federal government through September 30, 2020. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) has told reporters several times that a full-year stopgap is a possibility, noting that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin offered to accept that outcome during budget negotiations earlier this summer. Shelby said no one in Congress seems to want a full-year CR, but that it's an option. Lawmakers are nowhere near a deal because Senate Republicans need to release the text of all 12 of their own spending bills before House Democrats can determine how to compromise. Negotiators need to agree to a bicameral set of allocations for the 12 spending bills, but first the two chambers need to know how the other side plans to use their resources.
Week in Review