Becker & Poliakoff

Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of October 14, 2019

Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of October 14, 2019

The House

The House returns from a two-week break today with a number of bills under consideration for this week. Amid the ongoing trade dispute with China and the recent controversy that has directed public scrutiny towards the National Basketball Association’s relationship with the Chinese government, the House will take up a package of China-related measures including:

  • HR 3289, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act
  • HR 4270, Hong Kong Crowd Control Exports Act
  • H.Res 543, Recognizing Hong Kong’s bilateral relationship with the U.S., condemning Beijing’s interference in Hong Kong’s affairs, and supporting Hong Kong’s right to protest
  • HR 4331, the Tibetan Policy and Support Act

The House’s main focus, however, will be HR 3289, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which would require annual reports on whether Hong Kong’s semi-autonomous status is being recognized appropriately enough by China’s government to justify the city’s special trading status. Other measures that may be brought up in the House this week include HR 3624, the Report Overseas Employees to SEC Act, introduced by Congresswoman Cindy Axne (D-IA). This bill would require publicly traded companies to disclose the states and countries where jobs are located in an attempt to monitor outsourcing of U.S. jobs. Another bill, the Information Transparency and Personal Data Control Act, is gaining momentum this week as over 100 centrist House Democrats are expected to announce their support of the bill early this week.

The Senate

The Senate also returned this week and is expected to resume consideration of Barbara Barrett’s nomination to serve as Secretary of the Air Force. Legislatively, Senate Democrats are likely to try to force a vote on a measure that would revive programs intended to help taxpayers circumvent the $10,000 limit on deductions for state and local taxes, commonly referred to as the SALT Cap.

In response to Turkey’s continued incursion into Syria, Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are set to push bipartisan legislation to sanction Turkey in the Senate. This follows a statement from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi this weekend indicating that she spoke with Senator Graham and intends to work with him on strong, bipartisan sanctions legislation.

The Administration

President Trump spoke with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey, by phone on Monday and called on his Turkish counterpart to institute an immediate cease-fire in Northern Syria. Following the call, Vice President Pence announced that he and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien would lead a delegation to Turkey in the “immediate future” in hopes of ending violence in the region.

This afternoon, the President will host the National Hockey League’s St. Louis Blues at a White House ceremony celebrating their championship. On Thursday, the President will travel to Dallas for a campaign rally.

President Trump’s cabinet also has a busy week ahead. Tuesday morning, Vice President Pence met with Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly.

On Wednesday, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Kathleen Kraninger is expected to testify before the House Financial Services Committee. Also on Wednesday, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission will hold an open meeting to consider proposed rules, including amendments to margin rules for uncleared swaps.

On Thursday, Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky will testify at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on implementing the 2018 Farm Bill. Additionally, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondlan will appear before the House Committees investigating all things Ukraine as its impeachment inquiry continues.

Lastly, on Friday, tariffs on European Union products including Scotch whiskey, French wine, and cheese will take effect.

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