This Week In Congress: Trade And Transportation

The House and Senate are expected to send Trade Promotion Authority legislation to the president this week for signature. The trade legislation is a top priority for President Obama and his administration. Both chambers have a busy week scheduled before they adjourn for the Independence Day recess next week.

The Senate returns today with votes expected on the nominations of Peter Neffenger to be administrator of the Transportation Security Administration at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Daniel Elliott III to be a member of the Surface Transportation Board. Following these votes, the Senate will resume consideration of trade-related legislation, as passed by the House of Representatives last week. The Senate had previously voted to approve jointly Trade Promotion Authority, which grants expedited congressional consideration of trade agreements, and Trade Adjustment Assistance, a program to assist domestic workers whose employment is affected by trade, in May. The rule governing consideration of the bill in the House of Representatives allowed for separate votes on each portion of the bill, and the TAA provision was defeated. As a result, the House last week passed the legislation as individual measures, sending the bills back to the Senate for further consideration. Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., filed cloture on H. R. 2146, a bipartisan public-safety retirement bill with the House-passed TPA legislation attached. A cloture vote on the TPA bill is expected as early as Tuesday morning. If 60 votes are achieved on the cloture motion, up to 30 hours of post-cloture debate time would precede a simple majority vote on the “fast-track” trade legislation. Following that vote, the Senate will proceed to a cloture vote on H. R. 1295, the Trade Preferences Extension Act with an amendment adding TAA and the Leveling the Playing Field Act. A third bill, dealing with customs requirements, is also part of the trade package and will be considered by a Senate-House conference committee in order to resolve differences between the two versions of that bill.

Once the Senate has dispensed with the trade legislation, it is unclear what will be next on the agenda. Democrats and Republicans are still locked in a stalemate over the fiscal year 2016 budget framework. Last week, Senate Democrats successfully filibustered consideration of the FY 2016 defense appropriations bill and have pledged to block any other appropriations bills from floor consideration until the spending limits established by the 2011 sequester are raised. With the support of President Obama, Democrats are hoping that their obstruction of the entire appropriations process and threat of a government shutdown will bring Republican leaders to the negotiating table. So far, Republican leadership has not indicated a willingness to agree to a budget summit.

The House returns on Tuesday and tackles 14 suspensions. The bulk of the bills to be considered under suspension of the rules come from the Homeland Security Committee and touch on a variety of issues at the Department of Homeland Security. In addition, to the Homeland Security bills, the House will tackle a handful of other bills. Most prominent among these is the bipartisan revision to the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Following consideration of the suspension bill, the House will take up H.R. 1190, sponsored by Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., to repeal the controversial provision of the Affordable Care Act establishing the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a panel that makes recommendations on Medicare cuts. The legislation had been scheduled for last week but was displaced by reconsideration of the trade bills. The vote to repeal the IPAB comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling in the next two weeks in the King v. Burwell case, regarding subsidies for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. If the court strikes down the legality of subsidies for health insurance purchased through federal exchanges, Congress will have to deal with another highly contentious health care debate during July, when highway funding and the Export-Import Bank will also have to be addressed.

The House will then tackle H.R. 2042, the Ratepayer Protection Act, introduced by Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky. This bill would allow for judicial review of any final ruling by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on carbon dioxide regulations for existing power plants, a highly contentious issue focused on the administration’s effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

The House will complete the week and head into the Independence Day recess by considering the FY 2016 interior and environment appropriations bill, a $30 billion funding measure that would cut funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by 9 percent and include a number of policy riders aimed at preventing many of the agency’s policies from going into effect. Passed in the House Appropriations Committee on June 16 on a party-line vote, the interior and environment bill has become one of the most controversial of the 12 annual appropriations bills because of the policy riders. Among other things, this bill includes provisions that would bar EPA’s efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing power plants, amend the designation for automatic Clean Water Act protection, prevent the listing of certain animals under the Endangered Species Act, and block funding for rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal lands. These riders are all opposed by congressional Democrats and the administration.

The House schedule also allows for consideration of trade-related legislation that it might need to consider accompanying TPA to the president’s desk for signature.

House and Senate Appropriations Committees continue their work on reporting out FY 2016 spending bills. This week the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development and Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education will mark up their respective bills. The House Appropriations Committee will markup its FY 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education bill on Wednesday.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on evaluating the key components of an international nuclear agreement with Iran on Thursday. President Obama signed into law the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, which provides Congress the authority to review of any international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. The deadline for the international negotiations is the end of the month and Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., last week wrote a letter to President Obama expressing concerns over reports of concessions that the United States and its allies are making in those negotiations.

The recent data breach at the Office of Personnel and Management that exposed the personal information of millions of active and retired federal employees remains the subject of congressional scrutiny this week. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government will hold a hearing on OPM data security on Tuesday. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold its second hearing on the data breach on Wednesday.

Also on the hearing agenda this week will be proposals for federal transportation spending. The current short-term surface transportation authorization expires in July, and lawmakers continue to struggle with finding bipartisan agreement on a long-term solution for funding shortfalls for the Highway Trust Fund. Democrats are insisting on a long-term fix (though inclusion of the Export-Import Bank reauthorization may, as noted above, secure Democratic support for another short-term fix). Last week, House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., publicly ruled out any increase in the gas tax as a solution for HTF insolvency. The Senate Finance Committee meets on Thursday to discuss state innovations in funding transportation infrastructure, while the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures will hold a Wednesday hearing on the potential use of revenue from the repatriation of earnings as a source of highway funding.

A full schedule of congressional hearings for this week is included below.

By: Martin J. Milita, Jr. Esq., Sr. Director.

Please feel free to contact the author or your other Duane Morris Government Strategies LLC contact to learn more about this article and what it may mean to you.

About Duane Morris Government Strategies, LLC (DMGS):

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CALENDAR

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

House Committees

GSA Leasing in the Northeast

House Transportation and Infrastructure – Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management

Subcommittee Panel Discussion

June 23, 11 a.m., Conference Rooms A/B, Sixth Floor, Jacob K. Javits Federal Office Building, 26 Federal Plaza, New York, N.Y.

VA Small Business Goals Reporting

House Veterans’ Affairs – Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations; House Small Business – Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations

Committee Joint Hearing

4 p.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.

Senate Committees

OPM Data Security Review

Senate Appropriations – Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government

Subcommittee Hearing

10:30 a.m., 124 Dirksen Bldg.

Fiscal 2016 Appropriations: Transportation-HUD

Senate Appropriations – Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies

Subcommittee Markup

10 a.m., 138 Dirksen Bldg.

National Flood Insurance Program

Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs

Full Committee News Conference/Briefing

10 a.m., 538 Dirksen Bldg.

Regulatory Overhaul Costs

Senate Budget; Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

Committee Joint Hearing

10 a.m., G50 Dirksen Bldg.

Takata Air Bag Recall and Vehicle Safety Update

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation

Full Committee Hearing

10 a.m., 253 Russell Bldg.

Carbon Regulation Impact on Energy Costs

Senate Environment and Public Works – Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety

Subcommittee Hearing

2 p.m., 406 Dirksen Bldg.

Ambassador Nominations

Senate Foreign Relations

Full Committee Confirmation Hearing

11 a.m., 419 Dirksen Bldg.

Fiscal 2016 Appropriations: Labor-HHS-Education

Senate Appropriations – Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies

Subcommittee Markup

3 p.m., 138 Dirksen Bldg.

American Energy Export Opportunities

Senate Foreign Relations – Subcommittee on Multilateral International Development, Multilateral Institutions and International Economic, Energy and Environmental Policy

Subcommittee Hearing

2:45 p.m., 419 Dirksen Bldg.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

House Committees

U.S. International Food Aid

House Agriculture

Full Committee Hearing

10 a.m., 1300 Longworth Bldg.

Fiscal 2016 Appropriations: Labor-HHS-Education

House Appropriations

Full Committee Markup

10:15 a.m., 2359 Rayburn Bldg.

Child Nutrition Assistance Compliance

House Education and the Workforce – Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education

Subcommittee Hearing

10 a.m., 2175 Rayburn Bldg.

Medicaid Demonstration Project Approval

House Energy and Commerce – Subcommittee on Health

Subcommittee Hearing

10 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Bldg.

Syrian Refugee Admission

House Homeland Security – Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence

Subcommittee Hearing

10 a.m., 311 Cannon Bldg.

BLM Wind and Solar Reclamation Bonds

House Natural Resources – Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations

Subcommittee Oversight Hearing

10:30 a.m., 1324 Longworth Bldg.

OPM Data Breach

House Oversight and Government Reform

Full Committee Hearing

10 a.m., 2154 Rayburn Bldg.

EPA Clean-Power Plan Analysis

House Science, Space and Technology – Subcommittee on Energy; House Science, Space and Technology – Subcommittee on Environment

Committee Joint Hearing

10 a.m., 2318 Rayburn Bldg.

U.S. Train Control Implementation

House Transportation and Infrastructure – Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials

Subcommittee Hearing

10 a.m., 2167 Rayburn Bldg.

Veterans Affairs Legislation

House Veterans’ Affairs – Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs

Subcommittee Hearing

2 p.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.

Health Law and Insurance Premiums

House Ways and Means – Subcommittee on Oversight

Subcommittee Hearing

10 a.m., 1100 Longworth Bldg.

Islamic State Assessment

House Armed Services – Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities

Subcommittee Hearing

2 p.m., 2118 Rayburn Bldg.

U.S. Financial Sector Security

House Financial Services

Full Committee Hearing

2 p.m., 2128 Rayburn Bldg.

Colombia and the FARC

House Foreign Affairs – Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere

Subcommittee Hearing

3 p.m., 2172 Rayburn Bldg.

DHS Federal Cybersecurity Efforts

House Homeland Security – Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies

Subcommittee Hearing

2 p.m., 311 Cannon Bldg.

Puerto Rico Political and Economic Assessment

House Natural Resources – Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs

Subcommittee Oversight Hearing

2 p.m., 1324 Longworth Bldg.

Rural Transportation Issues

House Transportation and Infrastructure – Subcommittee on Highways and Transit

Subcommittee Hearing

2 p.m., 2167 Rayburn Bldg.

Repatriation Tax and Highway Funding

House Ways and Means – Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures

Subcommittee Hearing

2 p.m., 1100 Longworth Bldg.

Senate Committees

Flood Insurance Management

Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs

Full Committee Hearing

10 a.m., 538 Dirksen Bldg.

Governmental Affairs Measures and Nominations

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

Full Committee Markup

10 a.m., 342 Dirksen Bldg.

Native American Youth Suicide Prevention

Senate Indian Affairs

Full Committee Oversight Hearing

2:15 p.m., 628 Dirksen Bldg.

Work in Retirement

Senate Special Aging

Full Committee Hearing

2:15 p.m., 562 Dirksen Bldg.

Veterans Health Care and Benefits Legislation

Senate Veterans’ Affairs

Full Committee Markup

2:30 p.m., 418 Russell Bldg.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

House Committees

Welfare and Work Issues

House Agriculture – Subcommittee on Nutrition; House Ways and Means – Subcommittee on Human Resources

Committee Joint Hearing

10 a.m., 1100 Longworth Bldg.

Nuclear Deterrence Policy

House Armed Services

Full Committee Hearing

10 a.m., 2118 Rayburn Bldg.

Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications

House Energy and Commerce – Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade

Subcommittee Hearing

10 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Bldg.

Public Health Bills

House Energy and Commerce – Subcommittee on Health

Subcommittee Hearing

10:15 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Bldg.

CFPB Misconduct Allegations

House Financial Services – Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

Subcommittee Hearing

10 a.m., 2128 Rayburn Bldg.

State Department and Religious Freedom Bills

House Foreign Affairs

Full Committee Markup

10 a.m., 2172 Rayburn Bldg.

Mineral Production Legislation

House Natural Resources – Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources

Subcommittee Hearing

10:30 a.m., 1334 Longworth Bldg.

Water Use and Infrastructure Bills

House Natural Resources – Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans

Subcommittee Hearing

10 a.m., 1324 Longworth Bldg.

IRS Inspector General Update

House Oversight and Government Reform

Full Committee Hearing

9 a.m., 2154 Rayburn Bldg.

National Science Foundation Employee Ethics Issues

House Science, Space and Technology – Subcommittee on Oversight; House Science, Space and Technology – Subcommittee on Research and Technology

Committee Joint Hearing

10 a.m., 2318 Rayburn Bldg.

GSA Proposed Transactional Data Rule

House Small Business – Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce

Subcommittee Hearing

10 a.m., 2360 Rayburn Bldg.

VA Fiscal 2015 Budget Assessment

House Veterans’ Affairs

Full Committee Hearing

10:30 a.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.

Food Labeling Bills

House Agriculture – Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research

Subcommittee Hearing

1:30 p.m., 1300 Longworth Bldg.

Defense Department Nuclear Enterprise Review

House Armed Services – Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

Subcommittee Hearing

2 p.m., 2212 Rayburn Bldg.

China and U.S. Universities

House Foreign Affairs – Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations

Subcommittee Hearing

2 p.m., 2172 Rayburn Bldg.

Criminal Justice Proposals

House Judiciary

Full Committee Panel Discussion

June 25 TBA, TBA

VA Major Lease Procurement

House Oversight and Government Reform – Subcommittee on National Security

Subcommittee Hearing

2 p.m., 2154 Rayburn Bldg.

Veterans Affairs Measures

House Veterans’ Affairs – Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity

Subcommittee Markup

2 p.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.

Senate Committees

COOL and Trade Retaliation

Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry

Full Committee Hearing

10 a.m., G50 Dirksen Bldg.

Transportation Infrastructure Financing

Senate Finance

Full Committee Hearing

10 a.m., 215 Dirksen Bldg.

Iran Nuclear Agreement

Senate Foreign Relations

Full Committee Hearing

10 a.m., 419 Dirksen Bldg.

Cybersecurity and OPM Data Breach

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

Full Committee Hearing

9:30 a.m., 342 Dirksen Bldg.

Veterans and Economic Opportunity Policy

Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Full Committee Hearing

9:30 a.m., 428A Russell Bldg.

Impact of a Greek Default

Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs – Subcommittee on National Security and International Trade and Finance

Subcommittee Hearing

1:30 p.m., 538 Dirksen Bldg.

Friday, June 26, 2015

House Committees

Public Shipyards and Navy Operations

House Armed Services – Subcommittee on Readiness

Subcommittee Hearing

8 a.m., 2212 Rayburn Bldg.

U.S. Space Security

House Armed Services – Subcommittee on Strategic Forces

Subcommittee Hearing

10:30 a.m., 2212 Rayburn Bldg.

Eminent Domain and Property Rights

House Judiciary – Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice

Subcommittee Hearing

9 a.m., 2141 Rayburn Bldg.

Astrobiology Outlook

House Science, Space and Technology

Full Committee Hearing

9 a.m., 2318 Rayburn Bldg.

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Martin Milita

Martin Milita is a Senior Director at Duane Morris Government Strategies, LLC. Duane Morris Government Strategies (DMGS) supports the growth of organizations, companies, communities and economies through a suite of government and business consulting services. The firm offers a range of government relations and public affairs services, including lobbying, grant writing; development finance consulting, media relations management, grassroots campaigning and community outreach. Milita works at the firm’s Trenton and Newark New Jersey offices. Visit his blog at: https://martinmilita1.wordpress.com Follow him on twitter: @MartinMilita1 https://www.facebook.com/martin.milita http://www.dmgs.com/ BLOGROLL Martin Milita – About.me Martin Milita :: Pinterest Martin Milita @ Twitter Martin Milita at Slideshare Martin Milita on Google+ Martin Milita Yola Site Martin Milita | Xing

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