It's the 114th Congress's second week in session -- but it's going to be a short one. Both the House and Senate will be in session only Monday through Wednesday. The Republicans will be holding their joint retreat at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, Pennsylvania, the rest of the week. Here's the scoop on what Congress will be working on during the week ahead:
Dept. of Homeland Security Appropriations
This week, the House may begin considering a bill that would fund the the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) from February through the end of the fiscal year, September. Last month, the 113th Congress passed a short-term funding bill that only funded DHS through February.
- Dept. of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2015 (HR 240)
This week, the House will take a second look at reforms to the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial system overhaul. The proposed changes were considered by the House last week under "suspension of the rules," which would have fast-tracked the bill, bypassing the Financial Services Committee and amendments -- but requires a two-thirds majority to pass. As a result, the bill did not pass, and may be considered again this week under simple-majority rules:
- Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act (HR 37)
- Business Risk Mitigation and Price Stabilization Act (HR 634 in the 113th Congress) --Passed the House on 6/12/13 --
- Inter-Affiliate Swap Clarification Act (HR 677 in the 113th Congress)
- Holding Company Registration Threshold Equalization Act (HR 801 in the 113th Congress) -- Passed the House on 1/14/14 --
- Small Business Mergers, Acquisitions, Sales, and Brokerage Simplification Act (HR 2274 in the 113th Congress) -- Passed the House on 1/14/14 --
- Small Cap Liquidity Reform Act (HR 3448 in the 113th Congress) -- Passed the House on 2/11/14 --
- Improving Access to Capital for Emerging Growth Companies Act (HR 3623 in the 113th Congress)
- Small Company Disclosure Simplification Act (HR 4164 in the 113th Congress)
- Restoring Proven Financing for American Employers Act (HR 4167 in the 113th Congress) -- Passed the House on 4/29/14 --
- SBIC Advisers Relief Act (HR 4200 in the 113th Congress)
- Disclosure Modernization and Simplification Act (HR 4569 in the 113th Congress)
- Directing the SEC to revise its rules so as to increase the threshold amount for requiring issuers to provide certain disclosures relating to compensatory benefit plans (HR 4571 in the 113th Congress)
The Scoop: Some Democrats in Congress have argued that the bill should not be considered under suspension of the rules because of its wide-ranging complexity. As Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), a member of the House Financial Services Committee, explained: "This is not an emergency. We have a new Congress. This bill should go through the regular order. It is absolutely inappropriate for the suspension calendar."
Keystone XL Pipeline
On Monday, the Senate will resume consideration of a bill to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said that the bill will go through "regular order," which would allow Republicans and Democrats to offer amendments -- and lengthen debate for potentially weeks.
- Hoeven-Manchin Keystone XL Pipeline Act (S 1)
The Scoop: The House passed its version of the Keystone approval (HR 3) by a 266 to 153 vote, with 28 Democrats and all but one Republican supporting the bill. Meanwhile, the White House has indicated the president would veto the Keystone bill because it "conflicts with longstanding Executive branch procedures regarding the authority of the president and prevents the thorough consideration of complex issues that could bear on US national interests (including serious security, safety, environmental, and other ramifications). (Read the White House statement.) Given the veto threat, the amendment process may provide an opportunity for the Senate leadership to secure the 67 Senate votes needed to override a veto.
Also in the House...
The House will also vote on these bills during the week:
- Clay Hunt SAV Act (HR 203): -- Bipartisan -- Requires the VA to create a one-stop, interactive website to serve as a centralized source of information regarding all VA mental health services for veterans. Addresses the shortage of mental health care professionals by authorizing the VA to conduct a student loan repayment pilot program aimed at recruiting and retaining psychiatrists. Requires evaluations of all mental health care and suicide prevention practices and programs at the VA to find out what's working and what's not working and make recommendations to improve care. Establishes a peer support and community outreach pilot program to assist transitioning Servicemembers with accessing VA mental health care services. (Source: Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN).)
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