WEEKLY UPDATE: The Week Ahead in Congress (Oct. 23-26, 2017)

5 min read

Senate takes up disaster relief.

House votes on the Senate-passed budget, setting up the process for tax reform.


This Week Ahead in Congress

In the Senate

The Senate will vote this week on the $36.5 billion House-passed disaster relief bill – H.R.2266, Emergency Supplemental – with a cloture vote on Monday and final passage on Tuesday or Wednesday.

The bill includes $18.7 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund, $16.0 billion for National Flood Insurance Program debt forgiveness, $1.2 billion for nutrition assistance and $576.5 million to address wildfires in the western United States. 



In the House:

This week the House will take up the Senate-passed FY19 budget deal, including language setting up the process for tax reform via reconciliation.

The Senate measure would allow debt to increase by $1.5 trillion, while an earlier House proposal required $200 billion in deficit reduction. However, President Trump is asking House members to accept the Senate plan without passing a different version that would force a conference. 

While the budget does technically lay out spending amounts, GOP leaders are using it primarily as a vehicle for setting up the "reconciliation" processfor tax reform, which allows a rax package to pass the Senate without the 60-vote cloture requirement. If the House moves quickly on the Senate bill this week, then Congress will move onto the tax reform effort, which they are aiming to complete by Thanksgiving.

  • H.Con.Res. 71: Establishing the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2018 and setting forth the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2019 through 2027.



  • H.R. 4038: DHS Accountability Enhancement Act
    Sponsor:  Rep. Michael McCaul [R, TX-10]
    The Homeland Security Act of 2002 created the Department of Homeland Security in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. The Act gave the Department the flexibility to restructure its organization to help the Department fulfill its mission. According to the Committee, “these authorities are no longer necessary” since the Department is roughly 15 years old and is well-established. H.R. 4038 amends the Homeland Security Act to repeal authorities given to the Department when it was created that are no longer necessary, which allow DHS to reorganize and restructure components without the approval of Congress. 



  • H.R. 4010: Congressional Subpoena Compliance and Enforcement Act 
    Sponsor: Rep. Darrell Issa [R, CA-49]
    Under current law, the Congress may file a civil action and seek judgment from a federal court that a recipient of a subpoena is legally obligated to comply with that subpoena. H.R. 4010 would modify those procedures with an aim to enhance compliance with and enforce Congressional subpoenas.


    H.R. 4010 would require recipients of subpoenas to provide information on the nature of withheld records. The bill also would require the courts to expedite civil actions related to compliance with Congressional subpoenas. 


  • H.R. 3328: Cuban Airport Security Act
    Sponsor: Rep. John Katko [R, NY-24]
    H.R. 3328 would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to report to the Congress on the status of security measures at international airports in Cuba. The bill also would direct DHS to establish an agreement with the Cuban government to permit U.S. federal air marshals to conduct missions on regularly scheduled passenger flights between the United States and Cuba and to allow inspectors from the Transportation Security Administration to access Cuban airports. Finally, the bill would prohibit U.S. air carriers from employing Cuban nationals unless those air carriers meet certain conditions.



  • H.R. 3551: C-TPAT Reauthorization Act
    Sponsor:  Rep. Martha McSally [R, AZ-2]
    Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in the Department of Homeland Security administers the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), a voluntary program that encourages entities involved in international trade to cooperate with CBP to strengthen international supply chains, improve border security, and facilitate the movement of secure cargo through the supply chain. 



  • S. 504: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel Cards Act
    Sponsor: Sen. Mazie Hirono [D, HI]
    The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Cards Act of 2011 (Public Law 112-54) authorized the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to issue special cards to eligible U.S. citizens to facilitate international travel to participating countries (mostly in Asia). Under the act, DHS may not issue the cards after September 30, 2018. S. 504 would extend this program permanently.



  • H.R. 2142: INTERDICT Act
    Sponsor:  Rep. Niki Tsongas [D, MA-3]
    H.R. 2142 would authorize the appropriation of $9 million for the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency in the Department of Homeland Security to help prevent the importation of certain illegal drugs including fentanyl. Those funds would be used to purchase and use chemical screening devices at points of entry into the United States, to support additional CBP personnel who operate such devices, and for staff to interpret the data collected.



  • H.R. 3101: Strengthening Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Coordination in Our Ports Act of 2017
    Sponsor: Rep. Norma Torres [D, CA-35]
    H.R. 3101 would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to expand efforts to enhance the cybersecurity of U.S. ports. The bill also would clarify that the Coast Guard, the agency within DHS primarily responsible for activities related to maritime security, is authorized to pursue efforts related to cybersecurity. 


  • H.R. 3898: Impeding North Korea's Access to Finance Act of 2017
    Sponsor: Rep. Garland Barr [R, KY-6]
    To require the Secretary of the Treasury to place conditions on certain accounts at United States financial institutions with respect to North Korea, and for other purposes.



  • H.R. 1698: Iran Ballistic Missiles and International Sanctions Enforcement Act
    Sponsor: Rep. Edward Royce [R, CA-39]
    To expand sanctions against Iran with respect to the ballistic missile program of Iran, and for other purposes.



  • H.Res. 359: Urging the European Union to designate Hizballah in its entirety as a terrorist organization and increase pressure on it and its members
    Sponsor: Rep. Theodore Deutch [D, FL-22]



  • H.R. 3342: Sanctioning Hizballah's Illicit Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act
    Sponsor: Rep. Mike Gallagher [R, WI-8]
    To impose sanctions on foreign persons that are responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights by reason of the use by Hizballah of civilians as human shields



  • H.R. 3329: Hizballah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act 
    Sponsor: Rep. Edward Royce [R, CA-39]
    To amend the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015 to impose additional sanctions with respect to Hizballah


  • H.R. 3972: Family Office Technical Correction Act of 2017
    Sponsor: Rep. Carolyn Maloney [D, NY-12]
    To clarify that family offices and family clients are accredited investors



  • H.R. 732: Stop Settlement Slush Funds Act of 2017
    Sponsor:  Rep. Bob Goodlatte [R, VA-6]
    H.R. 732 would prohibit government officials from entering into or enforcing any settlement agreement for civil actions on behalf of the United States if that agreement requires the other party to the settlement to make a donation to a third party. That prohibition would not include payments to provide restitution or another remedy that is associated with the basis for the settlement agreement. In recent settlements with the United States, large corporations have been required to donate funds to charitable institutions as a part of their restitution; such donations typically constitute a very small fraction of overall settlement amounts.



  • H.R. 469: Sunshine for Regulations and Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act
    Sponsor:  Rep. Doug Collins [R, GA-9]
    H.R. 469 would modify the process used to develop consent decrees and settlement agreements that require federal agencies to take specified regulatory actions. When citizens or organizations file a lawsuit against a government agency, both parties can negotiate a consent decree or settlement agreement as an alternative to a trial. In certain cases, the terms of the consent decree or settlement agreement may require an agency to undertake a regulatory action before a specified deadline. H.R. 469 would apply to such cases.



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