June 25, 2022

Volume XII, Number 176

Advertisement
Advertisement

June 24, 2022

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

June 23, 2022

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis
Advertisement

This Week in Congress — May 18, 2015

Both chambers are in session this week with the Memorial Day recess period staring them in the face.  But there will be a great deal of work to get done before senators and representatives can head home.

The Senate returns on Monday to resume consideration of the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill.  Last week, despite having failed in its first attempt to get on the bill, the Senate worked out an arrangement under which it was able to move forward.  As part of the deal, the Senate last week approved a bill to renew certain expiring trade preferences for certain developing countries and to reauthorize the Customs and Border Protection agency and make revisions to its enforcement authorities.

This week, the heavy lifting on TPA is on the agenda.  Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised an open amendment process, and amendments are already pending to the bill.  The Senate aims to pass the bill this week.  The legislation reflects bipartisan compromise of the kind that was in short supply recent years in the Senate.  There is broad Republican support for TPA and expanding U.S. trade with foreign nations.  Many Democrats are skeptical of expanding trade opportunities, but the bill also includes an extension of the Trade Adjustment Act, which provides assistance to U.S. workers displaced by the effects of imported goods and enjoys broad Democratic support.

With a large majority of Republicans, some Democrats, and the President supporting the bill, adoption is widely expected this week.  Challenges remain for the bill in the House of Representatives.  The bill is considered essential by proponents of expanded trade because its enactment is a prerequisite to the successful conclusion of the negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, a priority of the President’s.

Once the Senate completes action on the TPA, it must still act to extend two expiring laws.  Both the current federal highway-funding authorization and the bulk metadata-collection authority under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act expire at the end of the month.

Last week, Leader McConnell began the Rule 14 process, which enables the Senate to act on legislation that has not been considered by a committee, on a bill to extend the highway-funding authority for two months.  Congress has been struggling to find a means to pay for infrastructure financing for several years now and has been unable to come to a compromise resolution to permit the long-term extension of highway funding.  With a week to go before the current authority expires, Congress still has no long-term solution available for consideration.  A short-term fix is required, especially as the country enters prime road construction and maintenance time of summer.  Expect the House to act first on a short-term extension and for the Senate to clear it promptly once it receives the bill from the House.

The surveillance authority presents a more complicated picture.  Last week, the House passed by a 338-88 vote the USA Freedom Act, to renew certain national security surveillance programs, but to terminate bulk metadata collection and enhance transparency of various surveillance programs.  The Senate companion enjoys broad support among Democrats and a few Republicans, but the bill is unlikely to command 60 votes.  Most Republicans support a straight renewal of the existing surveillance authorities with no change.  That approach also cannot command 60 votes in the Senate.  Leader McConnell has started the Rule 14 process on the House-passed bill and on a two-month extension of the existing authorities.  Neither bill is likely to be able to overcome a 60-vote threshold.  Then, it becomes a bit of a game of chicken as to which side blinks first.  One thing to bear in mind is that the existing authority expires on June 1, the day the Senate returns.  It is possible the Senate will stall on moving forward and consideration of the issue resumes when the Senate returns from its Memorial Day break on June 1.  If it does that but does not pass the House-passed bill that day and instead passes a different bill, the current authorities will expire that same day.

 

 

The House also returns to work on Monday.  First up are a number of bills dealing with veterans issues.  Also on the suspension calendar for Monday is a Coast Guard authorization bill and the Justice for Victims of Trafficking bill that was stalled for so long in the Senate over an abortion-funding issue, before Democrats finally allowed the bill to move forward.

On Tuesday, the House will consider the FY16 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill and a short-term extension of the expiring highway-funding authorities noted above.

The main theme for legislative activity in the House this week is innovation and “building a 21st century economy.”  On Tuesday, a number of these bills will be considered under suspension of the rules.  These include H.R. 874, the American Super Computing Leadership Act, to authorize the Energy Department to develop the next generation of high-performance computing facilities; H.R. 1162, the Science Prize Competition Act, to promote partnerships between agencies and private organizations on scientific prize competitions; H.R. 1119, the Research and Development Efficiency Act to create a working group to streamline the regulatory burden on research; H.R. 1156, the International Science and Technology Cooperation Act to facilitate coordination of international science and technology partnerships; H.R. 1561, the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act, to improve weather forecasting; and H.R. 1158, the DOE Law Modernization and Technology Transfer Act, to foster better collaboration between the National Laboratories and the private sector.

On Wednesday, the House will consider, subject to a rule, H.R. 880, the American Research and Competitiveness Act, another of congressional Republicans’ proposals to make permanent existing tax deductions and credits, in this instance the popular research and development tax credit; and H.R. 1806, the America Competes Reauthorization Act, to reform federal science agencies and promote basic science research.  On Thursday, the House will consider, subject to a rule, H.R. 2262, the SPACE Act, sponsored by the Majority Leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, reported last week by the Science Committee, to update and reform the Commercial Space Launch Act and promote further commercial engagement in space.

And, if the Senate is able to pass a bill different than the USA Freedom Act and send it to the House next week, the House would need to try to consider that as well.

Committees in both chambers have an active hearing and markup schedule for this week as well.  On Tuesday, both chambers’ Judiciary Committees are looking at related issues, with the House looking generally at policing issues and the Senate looking more specifically at body cameras for law enforcement.  Also on Tuesday, a subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee is examining cybersecurity in the financial sector.  On Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on U.S.-Cuba relations.  It is the first congressional look at the President’s recent effort to engage with Cuba.  On Thursday, the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Vice Admiral Peter Neffenger to be the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration.

Among expected committee markups, the House Judiciary Committee is reportedly aiming to mark up H.R. 9, the Innovation Act, the patent-litigation reform bill, on Wednesday.  The bill is identical to legislation that the House passed last Congress by a very wide margin, but it then failed to advance in the Senate.  This year, senators have introduced a competing version of the legislation.  Committee staff is engaging in discussions about making modifications to the bill for a markup, which could be delayed if the discussions are fruitful.

The Senate Banking Committee intends to mark up the Financial Regulatory Improvement Act, a bill to revise portions of the Dodd-Frank law enacted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis by relieving some of the regulatory burden imposed by that law on smaller banks.  The Administration has expressed its opposition to the bill, and some Democratic members of the Banking Committee have noted concerns with some of its provisions.

A complete list of hearings and committee activities in both chambers follows.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 

House Committees 

Federal Child Nutrition Program Management
House Education and the Workforce – Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2175 Rayburn Bldg.

Electric Energy Measure
House Energy and Commerce – Subcommittee on Energy and Power
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Bldg.

CPSC Oversight
House Energy and Commerce – Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade
Subcommittee Hearing
10:15 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Bldg.

Rural Housing Oversight
House Financial Services – Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2200 Rayburn Bldg.

Trade Promotion Agencies
House Foreign Affairs – Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2172 Rayburn Bldg.

DHS Science and Technology Directorate
House Homeland Security – Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 311 Cannon Bldg.

Oversight: Monitoring the Activities of the Justice Department’s Civil, Tax and Environment and Natural Resources Divisions and the U.S. Trustee Program
House Judiciary
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., 2141 Rayburn Bldg.

Sage Grouse Management
House Natural Resources
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., 1324 Longworth Bldg.

Oversight Legislation
House Oversight and Government Reform
Full Committee Markup
10 a.m., 2154 Rayburn Bldg.

SBA Capital Access Programs
House Small Business – Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2360 Rayburn Bldg.

Pacific Northwest Earthquake Preparedness
House Transportation and Infrastructure – Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2167 Rayburn Bldg.

Medicare Competition and Access Issues
House Ways and Means – Subcommittee on Health
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 1100 Longworth Bldg.

Financial Sector Cybersecurity
House Financial Services – Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit
Subcommittee Hearing
1 p.m., 2175 Rayburn Bldg.

U.S.-Hungary Relations
House Foreign Affairs – Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats
Subcommittee Hearing
2 p.m., 2200 Rayburn Bldg.

DOJ Program Oversight
House Judiciary – Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law
Subcommittee Hearing
1 p.m., 2141 Rayburn Bldg.

Senate Committees

Fiscal 2016 Appropriations: Military Construction-VA
Senate Appropriations – Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies
Subcommittee Markup
10:30 a.m., 124 Dirksen Bldg.

Congressional Budget Office Oversight
Senate Budget
Full Committee Hearing
10:30 a.m., 608 Dirksen Bldg.

FAA Reauthorization: Air Traffic Control
Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., 253 Russell Bldg.

Energy Supply Measures
Senate Energy and Natural Resources
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., 366 Dirksen Bldg.

Federal Water Quality
Senate Environment and Public Works – Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Water
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 406 Dirksen Bldg.

Foster Care Group Homes
Senate Finance
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., 215 Dirksen Bldg.

Extremism in the Middle East
Senate Foreign Relations
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., 419 Dirksen Bldg.

Fiscal 2016 Appropriations: Energy-Water
Senate Appropriations – Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
Subcommittee Markup
2:30 p.m., 138 Dirksen Bldg.

Foreign Relations Nominations
Senate Foreign Relations
Full Committee Confirmation Hearing
2:45 p.m., 419 Dirksen Bldg.

EEOC Oversight
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., 430 Dirksen Bldg.

Body Cameras for Law Enforcement
Senate Judiciary – Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism
Subcommittee Hearing
2:30 p.m., 226 Dirksen Bldg.

Intelligence Issues
Senate Select Intelligence
Full Committee Other Event
2:30 p.m., 219 Hart Bldg.

Impact of Environmental Regulations
Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Full Committee Hearing
2 p.m., 428A Russell Bldg.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

House Committees

Fiscal 2016 Appropriations: Defense
House Appropriations – Subcommittee on Defense
Subcommittee Markup
9:30 a.m., H-140 Capitol Bldg.

Fiscal 2016 Appropriations: Commerce-Justice-Science
House Appropriations
Full Committee Markup
10:30 a.m., 2359 Rayburn Bldg.

Committee Measures and Nominations
Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation
Full Committee Markup
10:30 a.m., 253 Russell Bldg.

Workers’ Compensation and Federal Employees
House Education and the Workforce – Subcommittee on Workforce Protections
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2175 Rayburn Bldg.

U.S.-Egypt Relations
House Foreign Affairs – Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2172 Rayburn Bldg.

Recreational Outdoor Sports Regulations
House Natural Resources – Subcommittee on Federal Lands; House Natural Resources – Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans
Committee Joint Hearing
9:30 a.m., 1324 Longworth Bldg.

National Energy Security Corridors Act
House Natural Resources – Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 1334 Longworth Bldg.

Commercial Weather Data
House Science, Space and Technology – Subcommittee on Environment
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2318 Rayburn Bldg.

Small Business and Global Commerce
House Small Business
Full Committee Hearing
11 a.m., 2360 Rayburn Bldg.

Veterans Service Organizations Legislative Issues
Senate Veterans’ Affairs; House Veterans’ Affairs
Committee Joint Hearing
10 a.m., 216 Hart Bldg.

Health Care Law Implementation Issues
House Ways and Means – Subcommittee on Oversight
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 1100 Longworth Bldg.

Capitol Police Issues
House Administration
Full Committee Hearing
2 p.m., 1310 Longworth Bldg.

SNAP Assessment
House Agriculture – Subcommittee on Nutrition
Subcommittee Hearing
1:30 p.m., 1300 Longworth Bldg.

Rwanda Update
House Foreign Affairs – Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations
Subcommittee Hearing
2 p.m., 2200 Rayburn Bldg.

Nepal Solidarity Resolution
House Foreign Affairs – Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific
Subcommittee Markup
2 p.m., 2172 Rayburn Bldg.

Nepal Earthquake Response
House Foreign Affairs – Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific
Subcommittee Hearing
2:15 p.m., 2172 Rayburn Bldg.

Electricity Reliability and Forest Protection
House Natural Resources – Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans
Subcommittee Hearing
1:30 p.m., 1324 Longworth Bldg.

Stream Protection Rule and States
House Natural Resources – Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations
Subcommittee Oversight Hearing
2 p.m., 1334 Longworth Bldg.

Senate Committees

EPA Advisory Panel Oversight
Senate Environment and Public Works – Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management and Regulatory Oversight
Subcommittee Oversight Hearing
9:30 a.m., 406 Dirksen Bldg.

U.S.-Cuba Relations
Senate Foreign Relations
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., 419 Dirksen Bldg.

Higher Education Act Reauthorization: Institutional Risk-Sharing
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., 430 Dirksen Bldg.

Federal Civil Service Revisions
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., 342 Dirksen Bldg.

Veterans Service Organizations Legislative Issues
Senate Veterans’ Affairs; House Veterans’ Affairs
Committee Joint Hearing
10 a.m., 216 Hart Bldg.

Fishery Management and Data Collection
Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation – Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard
Subcommittee Hearing
2:30 p.m., 253 Russell Bldg.

Foreign Relations Nominations
Senate Foreign Relations
Full Committee Confirmation Hearing
2:30 p.m., 419 Dirksen Bldg.

Native American Water Rights Settlements
Senate Indian Affairs
Full Committee Oversight Hearing
2:15 p.m., 628 Dirksen Bldg.

Sexual Assault and Human Rights
Senate Judiciary – Subcommittee on the Constitution
Subcommittee Hearing
2:30 p.m., 226 Dirksen Bldg.

Hospital Observation Stay Issues
Senate Special Aging
Full Committee Hearing
2:15 p.m., 562 Dirksen Bldg.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

House Committees

Quadrennial Energy Review and Legislation
House Energy and Commerce – Subcommittee on Energy and Power
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Bldg.

Opioid Abuse Issues
House Energy and Commerce – Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
Subcommittee Hearing
10:15 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Bldg.

Terrorism, Crime and Corruption
House Financial Services
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., 2128 Rayburn Bldg.

Women’s Rights and International Communications Bills
House Foreign Affairs
Full Committee Markup
9:30 a.m., 2172 Rayburn Bldg.

Syrian Refugee Issues
House Homeland Security – Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence
Subcommittee Hearing
9 a.m., 311 Cannon Bldg.

Vehicle Fleet Procurement Issues
House Oversight and Government Reform – Subcommittee on Government Operations
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2247 Rayburn Bldg.

Veterans Affairs Measures
House Veterans’ Affairs
Full Committee Markup
9 a.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.

Senate Committees

Agriculture Measures and Nomination
Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
Full Committee Markup
10 a.m., 328A Russell Bldg.

Regulatory Legislation
Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs
Full Committee Markup
10 a.m., 538 Dirksen Bldg.

TSA Nomination
Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation
Full Committee Confirmation Hearing
10 a.m., 253 Russell Bldg.

U.S. Fiscal Policies
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Full Committee Hearing
9:30 a.m., 342 Dirksen Bldg.

Judiciary Issues
Senate Judiciary
Full Committee Business Meeting
10 a.m., 226 Dirksen Bldg.

Public Lands, Forests and Mining Bills
Senate Energy and Natural Resources – Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests and Mining
Subcommittee Hearing
2:30 p.m., TBA

Intelligence Issues
Senate Select Intelligence
Full Committee Other Event
May 21, 2:30 p.m., 219 Hart Bldg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2022 Covington & Burling LLPNational Law Review, Volume V, Number 138
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

About this Author

Richard Hertling, Covington, public policy lawyer
Of Counsel

Richard Hertling provides regulatory and legislative advice and guidance and lobbying to a diverse set of clients in a range of industries. He joined the firm after more than 27 years of federal government service that included senior positions in both Houses of Congress and the Justice Department, during which he was respected for developing strategic and tactical approaches to advance legislation. He brings those same skills to bear for clients with complex policy challenges.

While holding senior positions on Capitol Hill and at the Department of Justice, Mr....

202-662-5669
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement