WEEKLY UPDATE: The Week Ahead in Congress (Apr 3-7, 2017)
All eyes on the Senate this week for the vote on Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.
The House will vote on a bill to add North Korea to the list of state sponsors of terror. North Korea is on the agenda for the first meeting between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday.
THIS WEEK'S HEARINGS
In the Senate: Votes on Gorsuch nomination
After 20 hours of hearings, the Senate will vote this week on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
1. Committee vote
The Judiciary Committee votes on Monday to advance the nomination to the Senate Floor.
2. Floor vote to end debate (60 votes required)
The Senate Floor vote, expected Friday, will start with the motion to end debate, requiring 60 votes to proceed. A large number of Democrats have indicated that they will not vote to proceed. If that number reaches forty-one senators who do not vote to proceed, the nomination will be "filibustered."
3. Possible vote to change Senate precedent (majority vote required)
At that point, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could allow the Senate to vote on changing the Senate precedent requiring sixty votes to proceed in the case of a Supreme Court nomination. Changing the precedent would only require a majority vote and has been referred to as the "nuclear option."
4. Possible re-vote to end debate with revised precedent (51 votes required)
If the precedent is changed, the Senate would vote again on a motion to end debate and proceed to the vote on the nomination.
5. Final vote on the nomination (51 votes required)
If the Senate reaches agreement to end debate, the final vote on the nomination will require a simple majority to pass.
In the House: North Korea
The House will vote on a bill to add North Korea to the list of state sponsors of terror, subject to sanctions.
The "State Sponsors of Terrorism" is a designation the U.S. applies for countries that "repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism." Countries on the list are subject to strict U.S. sanctions. Currently, three countries are on the list: Iran, Sudan, and Syria.
North Korea was previously listed in 1988, following the 1987 bombing of a South Korean air flight. It was removed in 2008 by President George W. Bush, after meeting nuclear inspection requirements.
The North Korea State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act cites the recent assassination of Kim Jong-nam in calling on the US State Department to redesignate North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism.
H.R. 479: North Korea State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act
Sponsor: Rep. Ted Poe [R, TX-2]
H.Res. 92 Condemning North Korea's development of multiple intercontinental ballistic missiles
Sponsor: Rep. Joe Wilson [R, SC-2]
Also in the Senate: the Delta Queen
Senate Preparing to Revive the Delta Queen – Roll Call
The Senate is expected to vote Monday on a bill to exempt old vessels that only operate within inland waterways from certain fire-retardant materials requirements. This change would allow the Mississippi River's "Delta Queen" to operate again.
Also in the House
H.R. 1343: Encouraging Employee Ownership Act
Sponsor: Rep. Randy Hultgren [R, IL-14]
Under current law, private companies must disclose certain information to some employees and investors who purchase securities issued by the company prior to their sale if the value of securities issued by the company exceeds $5 million over a twelve-month period. H.R. 1343 would direct the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to raise that amount to $10 million and to adjust the threshold every five years for inflation.
H.R. 369: To eliminate the sunset of the Veterans Choice Program
Sponsor: Rep. David Roe [R, TN-1]
The Veterans Choice Program (VCP), enacted on August 7, 2014, provided $10 billion to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to pay for certain veterans to receive health care from participating providers in the private sector through the earlier of August 7, 2017, or the date when funds are exhausted. H.R. 369 would eliminate the sunset date of August 7, 2017, and allow VA to operate VCP until the $10 billion in funding is exhausted.
H.R. 1304: Self-Insurance Protection Act
Sponsor: Rep. David Roe [R, TN-1]
Stating that “stop-loss” insurance (which self-insured group health plans purchase to insure against claims over a certain amount) cannot be regulated under the ERISA and IRS definitions of "health insurance coverage"
H.R. 1219: Supporting America’s Innovators Act
Sponsor: Rep. Patrick McHenry [R, NC-10]
Raises the limit on the number of individuals (500)who can invest in certain venture capital funds before those funds must register as “investment companies” under the Investment Company Act of 1940.
Concurring in the Senate Amendment to H.R. 353: Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act
Sponsor: Rep. Frank Lucas [R, OK-3]
This bill authorizes a number of programs to enhance weather forecasting and alerts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
H.Res. 54: Reaffirming the United States-Argentina partnership and recognizing Argentina’s economic reforms
Sponsor: Rep. Albio Sires [D, NJ-8]
Please keep in mind that highlighting specific legislation does not imply POPVOX endorsement in any way. As always, our goal is to offer one more way to help you stay informed about the complex U.S. legislative system.