Becker & Poliakoff

Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of September 16, 2019

Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of September 16, 2019

The House

The House is back in session this week beginning on Tuesday as Congress continues work to avoid another government shutdown. The House is expected to begin work on a stopgap funding bill that would extend current government funding past the October 1st deadline in order to give lawmakers more time to work through the appropriations process. As part of this stopgap measure, the House is expected to include language that safeguards the Administration’s farmer bailout program used to mitigate the impact on American farmers due to the ongoing trade dispute with China. There are also a number of important hearings scheduled for this week including:

  • On Tuesday, the Veterans Affairs Committee will hold a hearing titled “Critical Impact: How Barriers to Hiring at VA Affect Patient Care and Access.”
  • On Tuesday, the Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing titled “Presidential Obstruction of Justice and Abuse of Power,” with testimony from former Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski.
  • On Wednesday, the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee of the Veterans Affairs Committee will hold an oversight hearing titled “Update on VA Contracted Exams, Quality Review Process, and Service to Rural Veterans.
  • On Wednesday, the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing on “The Administration’s Priorities and Policy Initiatives Under the Clean Water Act.”
  • On Wednesday the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the Veterans Affairs Committee will hold a hearing examining VA’s overpayments and debt collection practices.
  • On Wednesday, the Financial Services Committee will hold a markup of pending legislation.

The Senate

The Senate was back to work on Monday this week and began by continuing consideration of John Rakolta’s nomination to serve as the United States Ambassador to the UAE. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee Republicans are expected to meet this week to iron out differences in surprise billing legislation being pushed by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA). The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to hold an oversight hearing on Tuesday on the enforcement of antitrust laws with Administration officials testifying. There are also a number of key Appropriations Committee mark ups scheduled for this week, including:

  • Tuesday morning there will be a Subcommittee markup of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) funding bill.
  • Tuesday afternoon there will be a Subcommittee markup of the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) funding bill.
  • Also on Tuesday afternoon, there will be a Subcommittee markup of the Agriculture appropriations bill.
  • Thursday morning, the full committee is expected to markup the T-HUD, FSGG, and Agriculture funding bills.

The Administration

The U.S. and China will meet in Washington this week to continue trade negotiations. This is amid reports that the Trump Administration is considering a limited trade agreement that would delay and even rollback previously announced tariffs on Chinese imports in exchange for commitments from China on intellectual property and agricultural purchases.

President Donald Trump had a busy day on Monday, meeting with Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa and presenting the Medal of Freedom to retired New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera at the White House before departing for a campaign rally in New Mexico in the evening.

On Tuesday, the President will be in California for a series of fundraisers for his campaign. Also on Tuesday, FTC Chairman Joseph Simons and the head of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division Makan Delrahim are set to testify at the aforementioned Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the enforcement of antitrust law.

Later this week, Vice President Mike Pence and SEC Chairman Jay Clayton are each scheduled to deliver remarks on the U.S. economy at the Delivering Alpha conference in New York City. On Friday, President Trump will host Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the White House for meetings and a State Dinner. On Sunday, President Trump will accompany the Prime Minister on a tour of an Australian-owned manufacturing plant in Wapakoneta, Ohio before heading to Houston, Texas for an event with Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi to tout a planned trade agreement between the U.S. and India.

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