Whats Up Washington

What’s Up Washington (Sept. 25, 2017)

House in at noon for morning hour and 2 PM for legislative business. Votes at 6:30 PM on suspension bills:

  • H.R. ____: Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2017 (DRAFT TEXT)
    The bill combines temporary tax relief to the victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria with a six-month extension of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization and taxes.
  • H.Res. 311: Recognizing that for 50 years the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has worked toward stability, prosperity, and peace in Southeast Asia
    Sponsor:  Rep. Joaquin Castro [D, TX-20]
  • S. 1141: Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017
    Sponsor: Sen. Jeanne Shaheen [D, NH]
    Requires the President to develop a strategy to promote the participation of women abroad in conflict prevention, management, resolution, and recovery. 
  • H.R. 2519: The American Legion 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act
    Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D, MN-1]
  • H.R.

Weekly Update

WEEKLY UPDATE: The Week Ahead in Congress (September 24-28, 2017)

The House was out this week.

All eyes were on inter-GOP negotiations in the Senate on the Graham-Cassidy amendment to the House health bill. With statements of opposition from two key GOP senators, the amendment appears on shaky ground; losing one more Republican vote would doom it.

This week: the Senate will take its last shot on health care before reconciliation authority (allowing a vote without the 60-vote filibuster) expires September 30. 

House will vote on bills to reauthorize the FAA, tax preferences for those in hurricane recovery zones, and reauthorize information and human rights program targeting North Korea.

Weekly Recap


Graham-Cassidy sputters; reconciliation window closes September 30

photo credit: The Atlantic

Last week, Republican leaders went all-in on the Graham-Cassidy amendment.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he plans to bring the bill up for a vote on the Senate floor Wednesday. Republicans dropped the bipartisan effort to shore up insurance markets that had been progressing in the Senate HELP Committee.

Whats Up Washington

What’s Up Washington (Sept. 20, 2017)

House and Senate are out today.



  • Not really breaking news: Graham-Cassidy health care bill is close (but not there yet); Sen. Graham [R, SC] says they have 50 Republican votes

  • Majority Leader McConnell [R, KY] not yet committed to a floor vote; Majority Whip Cornyn [R, TX] says still seeking consensus

  • Though CBO still scoring, report from independent group Avalere Health estimates the bill would cut funding from 35 states, pull $215 bilion out of the health system, and lead to a 2027 “fiscal cliff”

  • Jimmy Kimmel weighed in; Sen. Cassidy responded (sort of)

  • The Graham-Cassidy push officially killed the bipartisan HELP Committee effort yesterday after Speaker Ryan and the White House went all-in

  • HELP Chairman Alexander [R, TN] announced that committee reached “no consensus” though Democrats say they had made significant concessions and were willing to keep working

  • Swing vote Sen Collins [R,

Whats Up Washington

What’s Up Washington (Sept. 19, 2017)

House is out for district work period.

Senate is in at 10, with a vote at 11 on nomination of Noel J. Francisco to be Solicitor General of the United States.

Senators hold weekly caucus meetings at 2:15 PM.



  • President Trump will address the United Nations, expected to issue harsh warnings to Iran, North Korea; tweets that “some tricky things happening”

  • VP Pence is returning from UN festivities early so he can join the Senate GOP caucus meeting today to talk Graham-Cassidy

  • Reconciliation authority turns into a pumpkin countdown clock: 12 Days

  • Bare-bones” CBO assessment coming next week, full report will not be available before September 30 deadline

  • Democrats now mounting full court press against the bill, but the “Medicare for All” press conference on same day G-C release was probably not the best strategy

  • Even if G-C makes it through the Senate, House passage is not 100% assured

  • Meanwhile,

Whats Up Washington

What’s Up Washington (Sept. 18, 2017)

House is out for district work period.


Senate is in at 3 PM, with first votes at 5:30 PM on the McCain-Reed substitute amendment #1003 to the NDAA, cloture, and passage.




  • In the spotlight this week: Graham-Cassidy health bill, last attempt to “repeal and replace” Obamacare before FY2017 reconciliation process expires September 30

  • The bill reduces and redistributes federal health care money to the states

  • Majority Leader McConnell said he will bring it to the floor for a vote if it has support of 50 Republicans

  • Senate Democrats issued a “red alert” over the weekend

  • Senate HELP committee attempt to pass fix to stabilize insurance markets running into classic Senate roadblock: jurisdiction battles

  • Also up this week: the one bill that always finds a way to become a law

  • Budget hawks facing headwinds going into tax reform discussions

  • Overheard in DC: Of course NYTimes reporter was at the next table while Trump lawyers had revealing conversation about internal rifts,

Weekly Update

WEEKLY UPDATE: The Week Ahead in Congress (September 18-22, 2017)

It was another week of "dealing" between President Trump and Congressional Democrats, as they reached agreement on the outlines of a DACA deal.

The House passed its spending bills, notably before the end of the fiscal year. Senate wrapped up its work on the Defense policy bill (NDAA), with vote coming next week.

With the House out this week, all focus will be on the Senate and its multiple tracks on health care, including a last-ditch effort to repeal and replace Obamacare (Graham-Cassidy), a bipartisan attempt to shore up insurance markets before plans are announced for 2018. Senate Democrats introduced a "Medicare for All" bill.

Weekly Recap


DACA Deal   ◆   Approps   ◆   NDAA  ◆   Graham-Cassidy ◆   Senate HELP bill  ◆   Medicare for All

photo credit: ABC News

President reached DACA agreement with Democrats

Catching both parties off-guard late Wednesday night,

Whats Up Washington

What’s Up Washington (Sept. 15, 2017)

Today in Congress


House and Senate are out.



  • Play-by-play on yesterday’s DACA deal-or-no-deal between President Trump and Democrats, and reactions from Hill Republicans and conservative media

  • Path to citizenship” (included in DREAM Act) is most controversial

  • Personal chemistry and desire to “put some runs on the board” factors in Trump’s “bipartisan kick

  • Hill Democrats mostly ok with “Schulosi”-Trump dynamic, for now

  • Sens. Alexander [R, TN] and Kaine [D, VA] take their bipartisan duet on the road this weekend, performing on the TN-VA line

  • Graham-Cassidy health bill got a boost with Majority Leader McConnell asking CBO to prioritize scoring

  • Sen. Cassidy [R, LA] says he has 48-49 Republican votes locked in

  • What the bill does

  • President's tweets on morning attack in London “

Whats Up Washington

What’s Up Washington (Sept. 14, 2017)

Today in Congress


House in at 9 AM for morning hour and noon for legislative business. First votes expected 10:30 – 11:30 PM, Last votes at 5 – 6 PM. Votes continue on nine amendments to the "minibus" multi-agency spending bill (H.R. 3284). House wilk also vote on the rule for Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act (H.R. 3697).

Senate in at 10 AM with continued consideration of FY18NDAA. Cloture does not "ripen" until Friday, but the Senate can agree to proceed to the NDAA today (if no senator ojects).






  • "Chuck and Nancy" reached agreement on DACA framework with the President (just don’t call it a deal!)

  • Details  on the non-deal: DACA fix (Dems say it must be DREAM Act) with enforcement measures, but not tied specifically to a border wall

  • Obligatory reminder that Mitch and Paul still “

Whats Up Washington

What’s Up Washington (Sept. 13, 2017)

Today in Congress


House in at 10 AM  for morning hour and noon for legislative business. First votes expected 1:30 -2:30 PM, Last votes at 5 – 6 PM. Votes continue on 224 amendments to the "minibus" multi-agency spending bill.

Senate in at 10 AM with continued consideration of the motion to proceed to the FY18NDAA. Vote expected today on a motion to table the Paul amendment to sunset the current AUMF.






  • It’s health care day on the Hill with the introduction of the Graham-Cassidy bipartisan plan (release|text|SxS) and Sanders’ “Medicare for All” (Summary|SxS)

  • More Dem senators signed onto the Sanders plan (& leadership kept distance)

  • Senate Finance leaders Hatch [R, UT] and Wyden [D, OR] announce 5-year CHIP deal (State Children's’ Health Insurance Program)

  • Sen.

Whats Up Washington

What’s Up Washington (Sept. 12, 2017)

Today in Congress


House in at 10 AM  for morning hour and noon for legislative business. Votes at 6:30 PM on a series of suspension bills. 

Senate in at 10 AM to resume consideration of the FY18 NDAA. Weekly caucus meetings from 12:30 – 2:15 PM.






  • Yesterday the U.S. national debt hit $20 trillion for first time ever – made possible by debt ceiling deal reached last week

  • Majority Leader McConnell points out that “extraordinary measures” mean next debt ceiling coming well into 2018 (giving Democrats less December leverage than some predicted)

  • “One of the advantages of being the majority leader is you control the paper” [the bill text] – McConnell

  • Last night Sen. Paul [R, KY] held up Senate’s motion to proceed to NDAA as protest calling for vote to end current authorization for use of military force AUMF

  • In deal reached with McConnell,