WEEKLY UPDATE: The Week Ahead in Congress (Jul 10-14, 2017)

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Welcome back! We hope you had a wonderful 4th of July week and are enjoying your summer.

Congress is back after a week-long recess with a lot to get done before August recess: pass a budget (or not?), pass 12 spending bills (or a continuing resolution), raise the debt ceiling. And all of that was supposed to come after the health care bill that appears stalled in the Senate. Several members are calling for canceling the annual break altogether.

Here's what's up on Capitol Hill this week:


In the House

BUDGET: The House Budget Committee may hold a markup this week, according to Chairwoman Diane Black [R, TN].  FY18 Budget Year starts October 1, 2017. 

  • Chairwoman Black is pushing for a 1% spending cut ($339 billion from mandatory programs over ten years)
  • There is disagreement among Republicans about where cuts should be made and also about increasing funds for the military
  • Budget normally sets spending levels for appropriations bills; but this year, without a budget, appropriators are having to craft bills with no spending levels.
  • Speaker Ryan previously said that appropriations bills would not be considered before a budget was approved.
  • Republicans are looking to pass a budget that sets up a "reconciliation" process for tax reform (which would only need 50 votes in the Senate.)

APPROPRIATIONS: In the absence of a Budget, appropriators are moving ahead with their work. This week in the House:

  • Defense Appropriations (passed by committee June 29 – House vote THIS WEEK)
  • Legislative Branch Appropriations SUMMARY  (passed by committee June 29)
  • Energy and Water Development Appropriations SUMMARY (full committee markup Wednesday)
  • Agriculture Appropriations SUMMARY (full committee markup Wednesday)
  • Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations (subcommittee markup Tuesday)
  • Interior Appropriations (subcommittee markup Wednesday)
  • Financial Services and General Government Appropriations SUMMARY
  • Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations SUMMARY

House Votes this Week:

Defense Appropriations Bill
H.R. 2810 – National Defense Authorization Act (#FY18NDAA)

H.R. 23 – Gaining Responsibility on Water Act
Sponsor: Rep. David Valadao [R, CA-21]
requiring regulators to comply with the bipartisan Bay-Delta Accord

Bills to Address Human Trafficking

H.R. 2664 – Enhancing Detection of Human Trafficking Act
Sponsor: Rep. Tim Walberg [R, MI-7]
To direct the Secretary of Labor to train certain Department of Labor personnel how to effectively detect and assist law enforcement in preventing human trafficking during the course of their primary roles and responsibilities

H.R. 2480 – Empowering Law Enforcement to Fight Sex Trafficking Demand Act
Sponsor: Rep. Vicky Hartzler [R, MO-4]
expanding grant availability to include "programs to reduce the demand for trafficked persons"

H.R. 2200 – Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act
Sponsor: Rep. Christopher Smith [R, NJ-4 
reauthorizing several programs within the Departments of Justice (DOJ), Health and Human Services (HHS), Homeland Security (DHS), Labor, and State, and the U.S Agency for International Development that combat trafficking in persons.

Public Lands Bills

H.R. 1988 – To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1730 18th Street in Bakersfield, California, as the Merle Haggard Post Office Building

H.R. 954 – To remove the use restrictions on certain land transferred to Rockingham County, Virginia

H.R. 1397 – To authorize, direct, facilitate, and expedite the transfer of administrative jurisdiction of certain Federal land

H.R. 1404 – Pascua Yaqui Tribe Land Conveyance Act

H.R. 1541 – To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to acquire certain property related to the Fort Scott National Historic Site in Fort Scott, Kansas

H.R. 1719 – John Muir National Historic Site Expansion Act

H.R. 1913 – Clear Creek National Recreation Area and Conservation Act

H.R. 1306 – Western Oregon Tribal Fairness Act

H.R. 2156 – Saint Francis Dam Disaster National Memorial Act

H.R. 597 – Lytton Rancheria Homelands Act of 2017



In the Senate

The big question of the week is whether the Senate will release a new version of the Republican health care bill and how soon it will come up for a vote.

The Senate will start the week voting on presidential nominations:

  • Neomi Rao to be Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
  • David C. Nye to be United States District Judge for the District of Idaho
  • William ("Bill") Hagerty IV to be Ambassador to Japan

President Trump's FBI Director nominee, Christopher Wray, will have his confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee this Wednesday.



Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill 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.