Legislative / Policy Update
Senate Floor. The Senate is continuing consideration of a public lands package that includes permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. If Senators agree this afternoon to limit debate, a final vote on passage could be held Tuesday afternoon. Next up will be the nomination of William Barr to be Attorney General, with the Senate expected to confirm Barr on Wednesday or Thursday. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Barr’s nomination last week on a straight party-line vote of 12-10.
House Floor. The House will consider a number of non-controversial bills this week and is expected to pass a resolution on Wednesday directing the removal of U.S. forces from Yemen. Votes have been canceled on Tuesday to allow members to attend funeral services in Dearborn, Mich. for former Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), who served in the House from 1955 to 2014. On Thursday, there will also be a service in Washington, D.C., where former President Clinton, former Speaker Boehner, and Majority Leader Hoyer will speak.
Committee Action of Note:
Government Funding. Democratic and Republican negotiators trying to resolve the Homeland Security funding impasse are at odds over the number and purpose of immigration detention beds. The leaders of the Senate and House appropriations committees – Chairman Shelby, Ranking Member Leahy, Chairman Lowey, and Ranking Member Granger – are meeting this afternoon in an attempt to move the talks forward. The continuing resolution that is keeping the government open expires this Friday at 11:59 p.m.
China Trade. Negotiations are continuing between the U.S. and China, with the goal of reaching a deal before March 1, when the U.S. plans to raise tariffs from 10% to 25% on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. This week the talks are in Beijing, with U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin joining the negotiations on Thursday. According to a report in Axios, President Trump’s advisers have discussed holding a summit at Mar-a-Lago in mid-March with the Chinese President. Administration officials tell Axios that President Trump plans to speak to President Xi by phone before March 1, but a long-term deal won’t be finalized before the two leaders meet.
Congress is back in session this week, giving lawmakers an opportunity to weigh in on the developments in Iraq and Iran. Tuesday the Senate Finance Committee will take action on the USMCA, but floor consideration is yet to be decided. On the political front, year-end fundraising totals have been tabulated for the presidential candidates.Read More