WEEKLY UPDATE: The Week Ahead in Congress (Jul 17-21, 2017)

3 min read

House and Senate are in. While the voting schedule looks light, a lot of work is going on under the surface.

The House will attempt to pass all twelve appropriations bills out of committee this week, for a possible omnibus funding bill vote before the August recess. (While the Senate has postponed its recess for two weeks, the House has not yet made an announcement.)

The Senate planned for this week to focus on the health bill but that has been delayed after Senator McCain underwent surgery. Negotiations on the health package will continue, while committees will work on appropriations bills, vote on the FBI director nomination, and examine the road ahead for tax reform.


In the House



H.R. 2910 – Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act
Sponsor: Rep. Bill Flores [R, TX-17]

H.R. 2883 – Promoting Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act
Sponsor: Rep. Markwayne Mullin [R, OK-2]

H.R. 806 – Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017
Sponsor: Rep. Pete Olson [R, TX-22]

H.R. 2786 – To amend the Federal Power Act with respect to the criteria and process to qualify as a qualifying conduit hydropower facility
Sponsor: Rep. Richard Hudson [R, NC-8]

H.R. 2828 – To extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project
Sponsor: Rep. Dan Newhouse [R, WA-4]

H.R. 3050 – Enhancing State Energy Security Planning and Emergency Preparedness Act of 2017
Sponsor: Rep. Fred Upton [R, MI-6]


H.R. 2210 – To designate the community living center of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Butler Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania, as the Sergeant Joseph George Kusick VA Community Living Center
Sponsor:  Rep. Mike Kelly [R, PA-3]

H.J.Res. 92 – Granting the consent and approval of Congress for the Commonwealth of Virginia, the State of Maryland, and the District of Columbia to amend the Washington Area Transit Regulation Compact
Sponsor: Rep. Barbara Comstock [R, VA-10]

H.J.Res. 76 – Granting the consent and approval of Congress for the Commonwealth of Virginia, the State of Maryland, and the District of Columbia to enter into a compact relating to the establishment of the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission
Sponsor: Rep. Steny Hoyer [D, MD-5]

H.R. 218 – King Cove Road Land Exchange Act
Sponsor:  Rep. Don Young [R, AK-0]


In the Senate

The Senate was scheduled to begin consideration of the health care bill this week, which is now delayed while Senator John McCain recovers from surgery. The Senate will turn to other priorities, including presidential nominations. 

Hearings of note:

  • The Judiciary Committee will vote on the nomination of Christopher Wray to be director of the FBI.
  • The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on the prospects and challenges of comprehensive tax reform.



  • Senate health vote delayed because Sen. McCain recovering from surgery in Arizona

  • May provide enough time for Congressional Budget Office to score Cruz amendment

  • Also, gives opponents more time to organize

  • White House preemptively characterizing nonpartisan CBO report on Senate health bill “fake news”

  • Health care legislation is hard (Part 874)

  • Senate will turn focus to other legislative priorities and nominations while awaiting Sen. McCain’s return

  • OK what’s all this talk about blue slips in the Senate?

    • For judicial nominations, the Judiciary Committee traditionally sends a blue piece of paper to home state senators asking if they approve; an unreturned blue slip kills the nomination

    • Senate strictly enforced this since 2009 (some exceptions before then)

    • President Obama was unable to fill 17 district and circuit court seats due to blue slip issues

    • This year, Democratic senators have not returned any blue slips for Trump nominees

    • Senators now considering killing the blue slip tradition altogether

  • Not to be confused with “blue slipping” in the House

  • All 12 appropriations bills will clear committee by end of this week; could be combined into $1 trillion omnibus that would get vote before August recess

  • House may move its own sanctions bill that would include North Korea, along with Iran and Russia (which were included Senate-passed legislation)

  • Yes, Congress can actually be bipartisan when it wants to be

  • What Kushner’s Office of American Innovation actually does

  • Some Dem lawmakers asking what Ivanka knew about Trump campaign’s Russia interactions

  • White House announces “Made in America Week”; prompting questions about Trump family manufacturing overseas (including recent deep dive into Ivanka Trump’s supply chain)

  • USPS released epic stamp to mark the August 21st total solar eclipse

  • Decorum update: judge tossed out disorderly conduct conviction of woman who laughed loudly at AG Sessions’ confirmation hearing

  • In first speech, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton committed to carrying out DoL fiduciary rule

  • Last week, House subcommittee held hearing on Rep. Wagner draft to gut the rule

  • DoD Algorithmic Warfare Cross Function Team prepping plan to incorporate artificial intelligence into military operations

  • Elon Musk warns that it’s time to regulate A.I.

  • Are short-term rentals turning “God’s country” into “renter’s hell”?

  • Mike Flynn is surfing

  • James Comey is writing a book

  • Why Star Wars fans will be going to Disneyland next year

  • Today is World Emoji Day, set at July 17 because that was the original date on the “calendar” emoji

  • And the top most used emoji worldwide is…..


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.