Tea Party Patriots Action Weekly Report from Washington for 9/10/19
The House and Senate will both return Monday, and stay in session through Thursday.
THIS WEEK ON THE HOUSE FLOOR:
The House will return Monday, with the first votes set for 6:30 PM. At that time, the House is scheduled to take up four bills under Suspension of the Rules.
On Tuesday, the House is scheduled to take up another five bills under Suspension of the Rules.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the House may consider H.R. 1941, the Coastal and Maritime Economies Protection Act; H.R. 205, the Protecting and Securing Florida’s Coastline Act of 2019; and H.R. 1146, the Artic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act.
THIS WEEK ON THE SENATE FLOOR:
The Senate will return Monday, and will resume consideration of the nomination of Ambassador Kelly Craft to be Representative of the United States of America to Sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations during her tenure of service as Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations.
At 5:30 PM Monday, there will be a roll call vote on the motion to invoke cloture on that nomination.
Following that cloture vote, based on the Majority Leader’s cloture filings before they broke for the August recess, I anticipate the Senate will move to consider the following nominations in the following order:
- Elizabeth Darling to be Commissioner on Children, Youth, and Families, Department of Health and Human Services
- Stephen Akard, to be Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, with the rank of Ambassador
- Dale Cabaniss, to be Director of the Office of Personnel Management
- James Byrne, to be Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs
- Michelle Bowman, to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
- Thomas Peter Feddo, to be Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Investment Security
- Jennifer D. Nordquist, to be United States Executive Director of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
So, let’s spend a few minutes talking Big Picture Agenda. What is Congress going to be working on between now and the end of the year?
First up in terms of must-do’s is government funding. We’re already into the second week of September, and Congress has yet to send a single appropriations bill to the White House for the president’s signature. You’ll remember that right before the House and Senate broke for the five-week-long August Recess, they voted into law a budget agreement that set topline spending levels for the next two fiscal years. Now they’ll have to turn those numbers into actual legislation.
The House has already passed 10 of the 12 annual spending bills, but the Senate decided not to waste time with floor votes on spending legislation until they knew first what the topline numbers would be. So the Senate Appropriations Committee is going to get to work first on a minibus appropriations bill combining the spending bills for the Department of Defense, the Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services, and possibly adding in energy and water development funding as well. That’s what they did last year, if you’ll recall, and it funded about 75 percent of government spending programs with that one piece of legislation.
They may or may not be able to put that bill together, vote it through the Senate, and then get it to the House in time for the House to either consider it or decide it’s time to go to conference with some of the bills that have already passed the House before the end of the current fiscal year at the end of September. What’s more likely is that while the Senate is getting its act together on the appropriations front, the House will be moving next week to take up a short-term Continuing Resolution to keep the government open and funded at current spending levels. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has suggested such a CR would last no more than 60 days, and he’s also suggested November 22 – the last Friday before Congress breaks for Thanksgiving – as an attractive target for an expiration date. Why? Because it’s close to a holiday, and that means it’s close to a holiday recess. Remember, congressional leadership in both parties in both houses loves to use hard holiday deadlines as inducements to action, so we’ll keep our eye on this.
Second up is guns, and, in the wake of three mass shootings in the last month, some kind of attempt to pass something related to some kind of gun control. I don’t think any smart person on Capitol Hill, whether Republican or Democrat, actually believes there’s any legislation they could pass that would significantly reduce the likelihood of future mass shootings. This is a political issue that Democrats love to use against Republicans, because on this issue, at least, it appears that most Republicans have an understanding of what the 2nd Amendment is all about, and they know where their bread is buttered, and they’re not going to pass something just for the sake of passing something, and the Democrats, who are perfectly happy to pass meaningless legislation that would have no effect on stopping mass shootings even as new laws further restrict our 2nd Amendment rights, will be perfectly happy to raise the issue again and again, because they think it’s a political winner for them in the suburbs.
Senate Majority Leader McConnell has made it clear he’s not going to put anything on the floor of the Senate until he has been assured that the president will sign it.
And we’ve still got to deal with trade. Even as the Trump Administration seems to be engaging in a trade war with China, it also wants very much to replace the 25-year-old NAFTA trade deal with its new USMCA deal. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley wants to move on this, but it’s being held up in the House by Speaker Pelosi, who wants stronger labor and environmental provisions added to the deal.
And we’ve also still got to come to agreement between the House and Senate over the National Defense Authorization Act. Both houses passed their versions of the bill before the August recess, but the two versions differ significantly, and the conference committee will be, shall we say, cantankerous. For instance, the House measure would block emergency arms sales to the Saudis, would repeal the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force in the Middle East, and would block the president from using military funding to build the border wall; the Senate version of the bill contains none of these measures.
The House Judiciary Committee will vote Thursday on a resolution defining the parameters of the impeachment inquiry they’ve now acknowledged they’ve begun. This would strengthen their hand, they believe, in their ongoing legal fights with the Trump Administration over subpoenas for witnesses and documents in their ongoing investigations.
But just because the Judiciary Committee votes for it does not mean it will be considered on the House floor. Speaker Pelosi is still opposed to moving forward on impeachment, worried that her majority-makers – that is, the freshmen House Democrats who flipped the 40 GOP seats to recapture the majority – are in a bind on impeachment, because more than three-quarters of them are representing districts that Trump won in 2016, and, presumably, would not want to be forced to vote on impeachment.
JENNY BETH MARTIN/TEA PARTY PATRIOTS:
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