Monday, March 19, 2018

Committee Hearings – Week of 03-18-18

There are a significant number of hearings scheduled this week with both the House and Senate in session. Budget hearings predominate, but none that are of specific interest to readers of this blog. In fact, I do not see any hearings of specific interest here this week. There are, however, two bills that will make it to the floor of the House this week that I am watching and, of course, there is a spending bill deadline approaching at the end of the week.

On the Floor of the House

There are a number of bills that are scheduled to come to the floor on Monday under the suspension of the rules provisions of the House. These provisions limit debate, prohibit floor amendments, and require a super-majority to pass. Bills of potential interest include:

HR 5074, the DHS Cyber Incident Response Teams Act of 2018;
HR 5089, Strengthening Local Transportation Security Capabilities Act of 2018;

Interestingly, both of these bills are listed in the Majority Leader’s schedule as being considered “as amended”. The Homeland Security Committee mark-up hearing for both of these bill resulted in an order for each bill that the bill be “reported to the House with a favorable recommendation, without amendment”. No report has been published for either bill (will probably be submitted today and published later this week), so I cannot tell if Chairman McCaul (R,TX) subsequently ordered some revisions be made to the bill. It would not be too unusual for minor technical revisions to be made after mark-up, but substantial revisions are seldom made.

FY 2018 Spending Bill

The current continuing resolution (CR, HR 1892) will expire on Friday night. The hope has been that the House and Senate will consider and pass an omnibus spending bill this week that would include all of the non-DOD operations of the government (DOD spending was included in the last CR). News reports (see here for example) would seem to indicate that there is still some hard negotiating to be done on this bill.

Is there a chance that there will be another CR? It increasingly seems that there is always a chance. One remote possibility is that a CR for the rest of the fiscal year could be passed, keeping the current funding levels. While the inclusion of DOD spending in HR 1892 would seem to make that possibility easier, it would violate the agreement to increase spending levels in non-DOD areas that allowed HR 1892 to eventually be passed.

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