POPVOX helps you stay informed and share your input with lawmakers. We provide a "Week Ahead" look at the bills up for a vote and a weekly wrap-up of what happened 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,...
The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expired on Saturday. Congress will act this week to reauthorize the program that provides health care for 9 million children.
This week: Congress will start work on the FY2018 Budget resolution, setting up the process for tax reform via reconciliation.
In the Senate
The Senate will vote Monday on the confirmation of FCC chairman Ajit Pai.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the Senate Budget Committee will mark up the FY18 Budget resolution
In the House:
The House will vote Tuesday on a bill to prohibit abortion after 20 weeks:
H.R. 36 Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
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.
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.
It was another week of "dealing" between President Trump and Congressional Democrats, as they reached agreement on the outlines of a DACA deal.
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.
photo credit: ABC News
Catching both parties off-guard late Wednesday night,...
This week, President Trump took control of the policy agenda in a series of moves that surprised both parties on Capitol Hill.
A deal reached with Congressional Democrats avoided a government shutdown, temporarily raised the debt ceiling, and provided funding for the federal response to Hurricane Harvey. The administration announced a six-month end to DACA – the Obama-era program for "DREAMers" brought to the U.S. as children with no path to legal citizenship within six months – putting pressure on Congress to act. The president made clear that he expects the focus of the next three months to turn to tax reform, though the Senate appears to be close on an agreement for a modest and bipartisan health care fix.
Though the threats of default and shutdown are now postponed until December, large challenges still loom – including North Korea's nuclear saber-rattling, epic wildfires raging on the west coast, large areas of Texas and Louisiana still under water, and Hurricane Irma on a path to Florida, with Hurricane Jose in her wake.
photo credit: Quartz
On Tuesday Attorney General Sessions announced that the administration will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program protecting “DREAMers”...
Congress returns Tuesday and with it, your POPVOX updates. We’ve missed you!
It’s been an August Recess for the history books. We’ve pulled together our notes on the big events that impact the tone and agenda of the coming weeks and months. Because Congress was away, much of the focus in August was on the actions of the president and Congressional reactions. So here, as briefly as possible, in chronological order, is what you need to know as Congress heads into the Fall.
Failed health vote
In the final days of July, the Senate failed to pass a “skinny repeal” of Obamacare, with Sens. John McCain [R, AZ], Susan Collins [R, ME] and Sen. Lisa Murkowski [R, AK] casting the deciding votes. Sen. McCain delivered a fiery speech after the vote, calling for a return to “regular order.” He reminded senators that they “do not answer to the president [but to] the American people, a sentiment he reiterated in an op-ed last week.
Tense relations between Capitol Hill and the White House
Senators lamenting zero-sum partisanship and increasingly strained relations with President Trump were early themes for August: Senator Jeff Flake released a book that was both a call to principles and a stinging rebuke of the president....
Buckle up for one of THOSE weeks in Washington.
The Senate will vote on its version of the health care bill and let the chips fall where they may. The House has reached agreement on a sanctions bill that will include sanctions on Russia, with a vote on Tuesday. The House will also take up a series of veterans bills and a spending "mini-bus" package of national security-related appropriations bills.
Much of the attention this week will be on a series of meetings between Trump administration officials and Congress regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election, starting with testimony closed-door by Trump son-in-law, Jared Kushner, on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee holds its postponed hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 election. Donald Trump, Jr. and Paul Manafort were originally scheduled to testify, before reaching a deal with the committee to do so at a later date.
Russian Election Interference
KUSHNER TESTIMONY (Senate Intel & House Intel Committees)
In a prepared statement,...
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
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
- 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,
Negotiations continue on the Senate health bill. The tone of the week will largely be determined by the CBO Score for the Senate Health — expected “early” this week.
The House will vote on a variety of topics, including increased penalties for convicted felons who return after deportation, a bill capping noneconomic losses in medical malpractice suits to $250,000, and a resolution reaffirming the U.S. commitment to Article V of NATO, among others.
In the Senate: Health Care Bill
The "score" from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is expected Monday or Tuesday, with estimates on total costs and coverage impacts of the bill.
Negotiations over the Senate health bill were in full swing this weekend. Potential swing votes were the center of attention – none more so that Sen. Heller [R, NV], who wound up the subject of a Twitter hashtag war after announcing opposition to the bill. The bill was written specifically with room to negotiate – a bit like leaving "room for cream" in your coffee order. This week we will find out if there is enough room to get the 51 votes needed to pass the bill....
The focus of the week will be health care, as the Senate works toward an agreement on a bill that GOP leadership hopes can get a vote before July 4. Senate Democrats plan to make speeches and hold the Senate Floor until midnight on Tuesday to protest the closed process for crafting the bill.
The House will vote on several workforce development bills, including a renewal of the Perkins Act, which provides financial assistance for technical education.
The House will also take up a series of bills that impact families in the foster care system and bills concerning the Department of Homeland Security.
In the Senate: Health Care Bill
No language has yet been released for the Senate version of the health care bill, which will eventually be an amendment to the House-passed "American Health Care Act."
Timing is critical for the health bill this week because, unlike the House, the Senate cannot vote on a bill without a score from the Congressional Budget Office (under requirements for the bill to follow the "reconciliation" procedure). If the Senate indeed wants to vote on the bill by July 4,...
The big action this week will be on the appropriations process, which kicks off Monday, and again on Russia hearings in the Senate (AG Sessions set to testify on Tuesday).
The House will vote on several bills to accelerate permitting for energy projects, a bill to standardize medical malpractice statutes of limitation for services or procedures financed by federal funds.
The Senate will continue work on the Iran sanctions bill.
In the Senate: Iran Sanctions
Last week, the Senate voted 92-7 to end debate on a bill to impose new sanctions on Iran. It will continue working on the bill this week.
Some Senators continue to work on a possible amendment that would include sanctions on Russia in the bill.
Sen Bob Corker [R, TN]
In the House: Health Care changes
This week the House will vote on "part of the third phase of [the GOP's] overhaul strategy."
The American Health Care Act (AHCA) that the House passed in May was meant to be one of three phases of the effort because of limitations Republicans face in moving the measure through the budget reconciliation process.
Congress returns from recess (Senate in today, House back on Tuesday). All eyes will be on Senate Intelligence with a series of hearings culminating in the testimony of fired FBI Director James Comey on Thursday. The House will vote on a bill to unwind the Dodd-Frank financial regulations.
Former FBI Director Jame Comey to testify in Senate Intelligence Committee
In the House: Financial CHOICE Act
The House votes this week on a major financial and regulatory reform bill that would roll back many of the Dodd-Frank provisions put in place after the 2008 financial crisis and change the regulatory system overall.
- Leverage Ratio: allows banks to be subject to a 10% leverage ratio in exchange for exemption from risk-weighted capital ratios, liquidity requirements, and other regulations.
- Repeals the Volcker Rule,
This week the House votes on bills related to protecting children and improving access to benefits for veterans. The Senate will vote on nominations for the ambassador to China and the deputy secretary of State. Senators may also vote on the first Trump appeals court nomination.
Look for two significant developments this week: the president’s budget will be formally transmitted to Congress on Tuesday and the “score” of the House health bill is expected from the Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday.
In the Senate: Nominations
The Senate will vote Monday on the nomination of Iowa governor Gov. Terry Branstad to be the ambassador to China. While he is expected to be confirmed by a large margin, the majority was forced to file cloture on the vote, rather than just proceeding through unanimous consent.
The Senate will also vote on the nomination of former Bush official John Sullivan to be deputy secretary of State.
In the House: Eliminating permitting requirements for certain pesticides
The House will vote on a bill that would eliminate the permit requirement under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) for certain discharges of pesticides if their use is authorized under the Federal Insecticide,
House members return to Washington in the wake of the FBI Director firing that rocked Washington last week. For Police Week, the House will take on several related bills, including a bill making it easier to apply the death penalty in federal cases that involve the killing of a law enforcement officer.
The House will also take up a bipartisan Syria sanctions bill that would target the Assad regime and its supporters. Also in the House, a bill to update federal information technology.
The Senate is scheduled to vote on several nominations, including the Deputy Secretary of Transportation and the Associate Attorney General.
The House will vote this week on a bipartisan bill to impose new sanctions on Syria and supporters of the Assad regime, begin investigations into war crimes, and encourage a negotiated solution.
The bill was scheduled for a vote in 2016 but the Obama White House leaned on Democrats to withdraw support to allow then-Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to negotiate a ceasefire continue.
The bill is named after Syrian defector,
Things may sound a little familiar…
This week, Congress must vote on a spending deal to avoid a government shut-down (after they passed a one-week extension last Friday) and the House may take a vote on a revised Republican health care plan.
The Senate will vote on the confirmation of Jay Clayton to the SEC and the House will consider several financial services bills.
Government funding deal coming
Late Sunday evening, reports of a $1 trillion deal began to emerge that would fund the government through October 1:
- $2 billion for NIH and the "cancer moonshot" begun under President Obama
- Long-term extension of miner's health benefits
- $15 billion in new defense spending to combat terrorism
- $1.5 billion for border security (though not for the construction of a border wall)
- $2 billion in disaster funding for California, West Virginia, Louisiana and North Carolina
As noted by U.S. News, the bill would be "the first major piece of bipartisan legislation to advance during President Donald Trump's short tenure in the White House."...
Congress returns from recess with an April 28th deadline looming. To avoid a government shutdown, lawmakers will either have to reach agreement on a spending bill or pass a short-term extension to allow negotiations to continue.
While the White House has implied that Congress would vote this week on a new bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, no text is yet available and the vote does not appear Congressional schedules.
So far, the docket for this week in the House includes extending FOIA to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac while they are under federal receivership; making the Register of Copyrights a position that requires a presidential appointment and Senate confirmation; and increasing the security screening process for TSA agents.
This week the Senate will consider the nomination of Sonny Perdue to be Secretary of Agriculture.
THIS WEEK'S HEARINGS
The Big Issue: Government funding authority expires midnight April 28.
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.
House votes on a significant change to requirements for science supporting EPA regulations and a Senate-passed resolution to overturn the FCC’s broadband privacy rule. The Senate will vote on ratification of Montenegro as the newest member of NATO. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence holds its first hearing into Russian Activities in the 2016 election.
THIS WEEK'S HEARINGS
On Thursday, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence holds an open hearing on "A Primer in Russian Active Measures and Influence Campaigns."
Additional hearings this week:
In the House: "HONEST" bill requiring science supporting EPA regulations to be publicly available online
This week the House votes on a bill requiring that would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating a rule unless all scientific and technical information relied on to support the action is: 1) the best available science; 2) specifically identified; and 3) publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results....
It feels like we say this every week… but this is really going to be a big one.
The Senate Judiciary Committee begins hearings on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court. And on Thursday, the House is expected to vote on the House Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace the ACA (“Obamacare”).
House vote on the American Health Care Act
On Thursday, the House is expected to vote on the bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (AKA "Obamacare").
In the Senate: Confirmation Hearings
Confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch, Nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court
The nomination hearing for Judge Neil Gorsuch begins in the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday at 11:00 AM ET....