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Legislative / Policy Update

House Floor. The House will be in session, with the last votes of the week by 3 p.m. on Thursday. This is a change from the calendar that was released in late November indicating that the House Democratic Caucus retreat would be Wednesday and Thursday, with no votes scheduled for those days (or Friday). The calendar change was made Dec. 20, and the new dates for the Democratic retreat will be April 1-3, with no votes after 3 p.m. on April 1. The Republican retreat is set for April 22-24, with no votes after 3 p.m. on April 22. This week the House will consider proposals dealing with the use of military force against Iraq as well as legislation dealing with consumer credit reports.

Senate Floor. The impeachment trial continues in the Senate, with the White House team expected to conclude its opening arguments either tonight or tomorrow. Next will come a 16-hour period for questions from Senators to the House managers and the President’s team. The written questions will be read aloud by Chief Justice John Roberts, alternating between the two sides. Following the question period, there will be up to four hours of debate on whether to allow witnesses and additional documents to be subpoenaed.

Infrastructure. House Democrats on Wednesday plan to unveil a set of infrastructure principles that lay out priorities for highways, rail transportation, aviation, and mass transit as well as reducing carbon from the transportation sector and mitigating the effects of climate change. The framework is expected to call for an unspecified increase in the airport facility fees that commercial airline passengers pay as part of their airline tickets. On Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., the House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing to examine ways to pay for infrastructure investments.

Climate Change. A comprehensive climate change bill could be released this week by House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats. According to an overview unveiled earlier this month, the legislation would set up a clean energy credit trading system for power suppliers to limit emissions but does not call for carbon pricing. It is unlikely that the legislation will be marked up this year by the committee.

USMCA. The White House signing ceremony for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement will take place at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29.

Committee Action of Note:

January 28

  • Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety Hearing: “Building infrastructure in America, focusing on an overview of the Build America Bureau and the Department of Transportation Rural Transportation Initiatives.”
  • Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Hearing: “Examining the Root Causes of America’s Unsustainable Fiscal Path.”
  • House Energy and Commerce Hearing: “Out of Control: The Impact of Wildfires on our Power Sector and the Environment.”
  • House Agriculture Committee Hearing: “To Review Implementation of Farm Bill Conservation Programs.”
  • House Ways and Means Committee Hearing: “Legislative Proposals for Paid Family and Medical Leave.”

January 29

  • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health Hearing: “Improving Safety and Transparency in America’s Food and Drugs.”
  • House Ways and Means Committee Hearing: “Paving the Way for Funding and Financing Infrastructure Investments.”
  • House Budget Committee Hearing: “The Congressional Budget Office’s Budget and Economic Outlook.”
  • House Financial Services Committee Hearing: “The Community Reinvestment Act: Is the OCC Undermining the Law’s Purpose and Intent?”
  • House Financial Services Committee Hearing: “Examining the Availability of Insurance for Nonprofits.”

January 30

  • House Financial Services Committee Hearing: “Is Cash Still King? Reviewing the Rise of Mobile Payments.”

Political Update

State of the Union Response. On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Texas Congresswoman Veronica Escobar will give the Democratic response to the President’s State of the Union address on Feb. 4. Rep. Escobar’s Spanish-language remarks will follow Gov. Whitmer’s speech.

Iowa Caucuses. The Iowa caucuses take place next Monday, Feb. 3, and Senator Bernie Sanders is now leading in two of the three latest polls. The Emerson poll from January 23 to 26 shows Sanders with 30%, former Vice President Joe Biden at 21%, Senator Amy Klobuchar at 13%, Senator Elizabeth Warren at 11%, and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 10%. Another poll conducted January 23–26 by USA Today/Suffolk University shows Biden, 25%; Sanders, 19%; Buttigieg, 18%; Warren, 13%; and Klobuchar, 6%. A New York Times/Siena College poll from January 20 to 23 has Sanders leading with 25%, followed by Buttigieg, 18%; Biden, 17%; Warren, 15%; and Klobuchar, 8%. The Des Moines Register editorial board announced Saturday evening that it would endorse Senator Elizabeth Warren in the caucuses.

President Trump’s Schedule. President Trump will appear at two campaign rallies this week. The first is Jan. 28 in Wildwood, N.J., which is represented by Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who switched his party affiliation to Republican last month. The second is Jan. 30 in Des Moines, Iowa. Before the Des Moines rally, the President will visit Dana Manufacturing in Warren, Mich. to tout the Jan. 29 signing of the USMCA implementing legislation. The President is also expected to give an interview during the Super Bowl on Feb. 2 and will run a $10 million, 60-second ad during the game.

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