NATaT Weekly Legislative Report

Week of September 3, 2019

Congressional Outlook

After a six-week summer recess, the House and Senate are back in session this week. The House will vote on  nine bills under suspension of the rules, including the Strategy and Investment in Rural Housing Preservation Act of 2019 (H.R. 3620), which makes permanent a pilot program to preserve affordable rural housing and authorizes $200 million annually for FYs 2020-2024 for the Multifamily Housing Preservation and Revitalization (MPR) program, which lets the Agriculture Department restructure and preserve loans it has financed for low-income families and farm workers; and the Safe Housing for Families Act of 2019 (H.R. 1690), which requires carbon monoxide detectors to be present in federally assisted rental housing and authorizes $100 million annually in grants for FYs 2020-2022 for property owners to install them. The House will then vote on the Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act (H.R. 1941), which permanently blocks federal offshore oil and gas leasing in the Atlantic and Pacific regions of the outer continental shelf; the Protecting and Securing Florida's Coastline Act of 2019 (H.R. 205), which makes permanent a moratorium on energy leasing in the Gulf of Mexico near the Florida coast; and the Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act (H.R. 1146), which effectively bans oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, repealing provisions from the 2017 Republican tax overhaul that require the Interior Department to conduct two lease sales in the refuge's coastal plain area.

The Senate will vote on eight executive nominations: Kelly Craft to be Representative of the United States to the UN General Assembly; Elizabeth Darling to be the Department of Health and Human Services' Commissioner on Children, Youth, and Families; Stephen Akard to be Director of the Office of Foreign Missions; 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 for a 14-year term; Thomas Feddo to be Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Investment Security; Jennifer Nordquist to be U.S. Executive Director of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The Senate will also vote on the Ebola Eradication Act of 2019 (S. 1340), which requires the U.S. Agency for International Development to provide foreign assistance to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to address the recent Ebola outbreak.

Lawmakers face a fast-approaching September 30 deadline for FY 2020 appropriations at the top of the to-do list. On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee will mark up its FY 2020 Defense; Energy-Water Development; State-Foreign Operations; and Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bills, in addition to updating its 302(b) Subcommittee allocations which outline how much money each of the 12 appropriations bills will receive for FY 2020 based on the enacted Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019. A short-term continuing resolution (CR), lasting through at least late November, almost certainly will be required for some or most agencies when the new fiscal year begins October 1, and the House is likely to take it up the week of September 16. Whether the Trump Administration will insist on funding for a wall on the southern border as part of the larger package remains to be seen - attempts to do so in the FY 2019 bills led to the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history earlier this year.

Other Committee actions of note this week include a House Judiciary Committee markup on Tuesday of three gun control bills covering a "red flag" measure (H.R. 1236) that allows firearms to be removed from those considered a potential threat to themselves or others; a ban on high capacity magazines (H.R. 1186); and limits on the purchase of firearms by those convicted of hate crimes (H.R. 2708). Additionally, the House Judiciary Committee plans to formalize procedures into an impeachment investigation of President Trump on Thursday, raising the stakes for the White House to comply with the committee's investigation into Trump. The vote on the "Resolution for Investigative Procedures" will establish some basic parameters of the hearings, including who can question the witnesses, what the president's rights are, and what parts of the investigation will be made public.

On Tuesday, there will be two special House elections taking place in North Carolina: the 3rd congressional district race between former Democratic Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas and Republican state House member Greg Murphy and the 9th congressional district race between Democratic businessman and Marine Corps veteran Dan McCready and Republican state Senator Dan Bishop. President Trump is holding a political rally for senator Bishop in Fayetteville, NC on Monday night.

NATaT Weekly Legislative Report