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EYES ON WASHINGTON - January 2, 2019

Thursday, January 3, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: TCAA Staff
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In This Issue: 
 Government Shutdown Continues  116th Congress Convenes  New Committee Leadership   Important Dates for Congress in 2019   The Week Ahead 


Government Shutdown Continues 
Parts of the government remain shut down as the impasse over President Donald Trump's $5 billion border wall demand continues. Appropriations for some federal agencies and other programs lapsed on December 21, 2018, including the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Transportation, Commerce and Agriculture. Other programs no longer receiving funding are the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), immigration programs including  e-verify and EB-5 visas, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) authority to collect pesticide registration fees.  


Negotiations to end the partial shutdown will continue today at the White House, as President Trump has invited congressional leaders from both parties to a briefing on border security. The meeting will be the first  in-person session between the president and leadership since the shutdown began and the first potential opening to end it. Invitations for the meeting went to incoming House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), as well as House GOP leaders –  Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.); Senate Democratic leaders – Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.); and Senate Republican leaders – Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)  and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.). 


The president is determined to secure money for the border wall, even if funding is less than his request of $5 billion. In recent days, the president's advisors have demanded at least $2.1 billion, but Democrats have rejected the proposal. When the new Democratic majority takes control of the U.S. House of Representatives on January 3, 2019, they plan to bring a bill to  the floor to fund the government. The package is expected to include a continuing resolution (CR) for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through February 8, 2019, and full-year appropriations for remaining lapsed agencies, without additional funding for a border wall. The Republican Senate is not expected to accept the lack of border wall funding, as they  have said they will not bring a bill to a floor vote that the president would refuse to sign.  
116th Congress Convenes 
The 116th Congress will convene at noon on Thursday, January 3, 2018. In the House, Democrats will take the majority with 235 members while Republicans hold 199 seats. The session begins with a parliamentary ceremony where lawmakers swear their oath of office and ratify rules changes. The clerk of the House will call the chamber into session, lead a quorum call, and preside over the election of the speaker. Members are called upon to stand and cast their votes individually when their name is called in alphabetical order. Following her expected election as Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will preside over the opening of a new Congress and administer the oath of office – en masse – to all new and returning members.  


Simultaneously, in the Senate, where Republicans will maintain the majority holding 53 seats and Democrats hold 47, Vice President Mike Pence will swear in newly elected senators. The Senate will conduct a live quorum call in which all senators will be on the floor. Opening day usually includes remarks by party leaders. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will also ask senators to approve administrative resolutions and standing orders for the next Congress.  


Also this week, the House is expected to take legislative action on a new rules package, which organizes the  House for the new congress. The package, released by incoming Rules Committee Chairman Rep. Jim  McGovern (D-Mass.), establishes a Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, as well as a Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. The bill also includes a 72-hour rule to allow members of Congress time to review  bills before they are voted on; a "consensus calendar" to move quickly on legislation with bipartisan support; and  a ban on members of Congress and employees from sitting on corporate boards. Additionally, the rules change the process by which the House can remove the speaker (the motion to vacate) and allows Congress to suspend the debt limit by passing a budget. It is expected that the package will be approved.  


New Committee Leadership  
In winning control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrats take over the chairman's seat in the lower chamber's committees. Below are the new chairs and ranking members for the 116th Congress. Listed in order (Committee, Chairman, Ranking Member).

  • Agriculture Collin Peterson (Minn.) Mike Conaway (Texas) 
  • Appropriations Nita Lowey (N.Y.) Kay Granger (Texas) 
  • Armed Services Adam Smith (Wash.) Mac Thornberry (Texas) 
  • Budget John Yarmuth (Ky.) Steve Womack (Ark.) 
  • Climate Crisis  Kathy Castor (Fla.) TBD 
  • Education and Labor Bobby Scott (Va.) Virginia Foxx (N.C.) 
  • Energy and Commerce Frank Pallone (N.J.) Greg Walden (Ore.) 
  • Ethics Ted Deutch (Fla.) Kenny Marchant (Texas) 
  • Financial Services Maxine Waters (Calif.) Patrick McHenry (N.C.) 
  • Foreign Affairs Eliot Engel (N.Y.) Mike McCaul (Texas) 
  • Homeland Security Bennie Thompson (Miss.) Mike Rogers (Ala.) 
  • House Administration Zoe Lofgren (Calif.)* Rodney Davis (Ill.) 
  • Intelligence Adam Schiff (Calif.)* Devin Nunes (Calif.) 
  • Judiciary Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) Doug Collins (Ga.) 
  • Natural Resources Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.) Rob Bishop (Utah) 
  • Oversight and Government Reform Elijah Cummings (Md.) Jim Jordan (Ohio) 
  • Rules Jim McGovern (Mass.) Tom Cole (Okla.) 
  • Science, Space  & Technology Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas) Frank Lucas (Okla.) 
  • Small Business Nydia Velázquez (N.Y.) Steve Chabot (Ohio) 
  • Transportation  & Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (Ore.) Sam Graves (Mo.) 
  • Veterans' Affairs Mark Takano (Calif.) Phil Roe (Tenn.) 
  • Ways and Means Richard Neal (Mass.) Kevin Brady (Texas) 
    Senate Committee leadership maintains Republican control, with a few new faces as chairs and ranking members.  Listed in order (Committee, Chairman, Ranking Member).
  • Aging, TBD, Bob Casey (Pa.) 
  • Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry, Pat Roberts (Kan.)*, Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) 
  • Appropriations, Richard Shelby (Ala.)*, Patrick Leahy (Vt.) 
  • Armed Services, Jim Inhofe (Okla.)*, Jack Reed (R.I.) 
  • Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs, Mike Crapo (Idaho)*, Sherrod Brown (Ohio) 
  • Budget, Mike Enzi (Wyo.)*, Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) 
  • Commerce, Science & Transportation, Roger Wicker (Miss.)*, Maria Cantwell (Wash.) 
  • Energy & Natural Resources, Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)*, Joe Manchin (W.Va.) 
  • Environment & Public Works, John Barrasso (Wyo.)*, Tom Carper (Del.)  
  • Ethics, TBD, Chris Coons (Del.) 
  • Finance, Charles Grassley (Iowa)*, Ron Wyden (Ore.) 
  • Foreign Relations, James Risch (Idaho)*, Bob Menendez (N.J.) 
  • Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, Lamar Alexander (Tenn.)*, Patty Murray (Wash.) 
  • Homeland Security  & Governmental Affairs, Ron Johnson (Wis.)*, Gary Peters (Mich.) 
  • Indian Affairs, John Hoeven (N.D.)*, Tom Udall (N.M.) 
  • Intelligence, Richard Burr (N.C.)*, Mark Warner (Va.) 
  • Judiciary, Lindsey Graham (S.C.)*, Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) 
  • Rules & Administration, Roy Blunt (Mo.)*, Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) 
  • Small Business & Entrepreneurship, TBD, Ben Cardin (Md.) 
  • Veterans' Affairs, Johnny Isakson (Ga.)*, Jon Tester (Mont.) 

                              *asterisks are based on reporting   

Important Dates for Congress in 2019 

  • January 3  Start of 116th Congress
  • February 4 President's budget request due
  • March 1 Debt limit suspension ends
  • May 31 National Flood Insurance Program expires
  • September 30 - Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) cut delay ends - Community health center funding and other health programs expire - Federal programs for older Americans expire (Public Law 114-144) - Public land programs expire (Public Law 111-11)
  • October 1 - Fiscal 2020 begins with lower spending caps under Budget Control Act
  • December 31 Medical device tax, health insurer fee suspensions end 


The Week Ahead 
There are no Senate or House hearings this week. 
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