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Water and Natural Resources

Water and Natural Resources

Congressional Update - Week of March 11, 2019

The House and Senate are in session this week. The House will consider 13 bills under suspension of the rules, including the Housing Choice Voucher Mobility Demonstration Act of 2019 (H.R. 1122), which would require the Department of Housing and Urban Development to create a demonstration program under the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program to encourage participants to move to areas with lower rates of poverty. The House will also vote on the nonbinding H. Con. Res. 24, which expresses the sense of Congress that the report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller should be made available to the public and to Congress.

The Senate will vote on three nominations this week: Paul Matey to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit; Neomi Rao to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit; and William Beach to be Commissioner of Labor Statistics for a term of four years. The Senate will also vote this week to terminate President Trump’s February 15 national emergency declaration to build more fencing along the southern border. Only a simple majority of 51 votes is required to pass the joint resolution. If the chamber passes the House-passed resolution (H.J. Res. 46) without amendment, it would be cleared for the President, who has said he would use his first veto on it. Senators do not expect to have a veto-proof majority of 67 votes behind the measure, but an eventual measure to curb the President’s powers may garner more support.

On Monday, the Trump Administration released its FY 2020 budget request to Congress, which would not balance for 15 years, calls for slashing funding for most federal government agencies, boosts defense spending, and sets aside $8.6 billion for a wall along the U.S.—Mexico border. The plan faces certain rejection by Democrats now in control of the House and will kick off a new political battle over spending priorities. Meanwhile, Cabinet officials and other Trump Administration officials will begin heading to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to defend the request, led by Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russell Vought. Additional details on the FY 2020 budget request for specific departments and agencies will be released on March 18.

On Tuesday, President Trump will receive the Boy Scouts’ report to the nation. On Thursday, Trump will meet with Ireland Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and attend the “Friends of Ireland” luncheon in the Capitol. He and First Lady Melania Trump will attend the Shamrock Bowl Presentation by Varadkar. Trump is also expected to sign the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act (S. 47) into law this week, which permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

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