This week in the U.S. House of Representatives, Senate: Mar. 14 – Mar. 18, 2016

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United States Capitol_ U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate

It’s going to be a busy week on Capitol Hill as the U.S. House of Representatives returns from a week-long district work session, and the U.S. Senate endeavors tackle its workload in order to adjourn for spring recess by week’s end.

On Monday, the House is in session and will consider several bills under Suspension of the Rules.A full list of bills can be found here. Most notably, two concurrent resolutions regarding atrocities in the middle east:

H. Con. Res. 121, which condemns the Syrian government for war crimes against its civilian population.

  • Alabama co-sponsor(s): None.

H. Con. Res. 75, which expresses the sense of Congress that Islamic State atrocities against religious and ethnic minorities constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

Additional items on the floor this week:

H.R. 3797: the Satisfying Energy Needs and Saving the Environment Act (SENSE) Act. The bill establishes separate standards under which electricity-generating power plants that primarily use waste coal as a fuel source could comply with EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) Rule, by blocking reductions in emissions allowances for sulfur dioxide for purposes of the cross-state rule and by setting an alternative standard for sulfur dioxide under the MATS rule.

  • Alabama co-sponsor(s): None.

H.R. 4596: the Small Business Broadband Deployment Act. The bipartisan bill exempts, for five years after enactment, small-business broadband Internet service providers that have 250,000 or fewer subscribers from the enhanced disclosure requirements of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) 2015 net neutrality rule.

  • Alabama co-sponsor(s): None.

A resolution authorizing Amicus Curiae in United States v. Texas. The measure authorizes the House of Representatives to file a friend of the court brief (an amicus curiae) against the administration’s position in United States, et al. v. Texas, et al., the Supreme Court case involving the president’s executive actions on immigration.

  • Background: In November 2014, the Obama administration announced executive actions on immigration intended to prevent nearly 5 million illegal immigrants from being deported, including illegal immigrants who have been in the country for more than five years and are parents of children who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. Texas led nearly two dozen states in suing the Obama administration over that initiative, and the case is expected to be argued before the Supreme Court in April.

On Friday, the House is not in session.

Highlights of what is happening in House Committees this week:

  • Budget Season: Budget season continues with the House Armed Services Committee, House Homeland Security Committee, House Education and Workforce Committee, and House Foreign Affairs Committee all holding related hearings. The House Appropriations committee also continues its FY17 hearing slate, a full list of those hearings can be found here.
  • Possible Budget Markup: Though not confirmed as of the time of this writing, it is possible the House Budget Committee could hold a markup of the House FY17 Budget Resolution this week.
  • Concussions: On Monday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a panel discussion titled “Broad Review on Concussions: Initial Roundtable” focusing on the causes, effects and treatments of concussions and head trauma. More information here.
  • Flint, MI Water Crisis (two hearings): On Tuesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing titled “Examining Federal Administration of the Safe Drinking Water Act in Flint, Michigan, Part 2.” (Part one of the hearing took place on February 3.). Tuesday’s hearing will feature the testimony of Susan Hedman, former EPA Region 5 administrator, Darnell Earley, former emergency manager of Flint, Dayne Walling, former mayor of Flint, and Marc Edwards, professor of environmental and water engineering at Virginia Tech.  Then, on Thursday, the committee will hold a hearing titled “Examining Federal Administration of the Safe Drinking Water Act in Flint, Michigan, Part 3.” Thursday’s hearing will feature EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. More information about these hearings can be found here and here.
  • E&C Markup:  On Monday and Tuesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a markup of H.R.2666, the No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act and H.R.4725, the Common Sense Savings Act. More information here.
  • Women and Terrorism:  On Tuesday, the House Homeland Security Committee will hold a roundtable discussion titled “Women and Terrorism”. The panel features Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY).  More information here.
  • Resources Markup:  On Tuesday, the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a markup of more than a dozen bills. More information here.
  • Afghanistan: On Wednesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing titled “Rebuilding Afghanistan: Oversight of Defense Department Infrastructure Projects.”  More information here.
  • Veterans: On Wednesday, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee will continue their series of joint hearings on the legislative priorities of veterans service organizations. This hearing will be on the legislative priorities of the Fleet Reserve Association, the Retired Enlisted Association, the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs, the Military Officers Association of America, the Air Force Sergeants Association, the American Ex-Prisoners of War Organization, the Non-Commissioned Officers Association, Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. More information here.
  • Foreign Affairs Markup: On Wednesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will markup H.R. 4678, the United States Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Preservation Act, which would prohibit modification, abrogation, abandonment, or other related actions with respect to United States jurisdiction and control over United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, without congressional action.  More information here.
  • SBA Oversight: On Wednesday, the House Small Business Committee will hold a hearing titled “Small Business Administration Management and Performance Challenges: The Inspector General’s Perspective.”  More information here.
  • USDA: On Thursday and Friday, the House Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing titled “Examining USDA organization and program administration.” More information here.

Senate Schedule

The Senate will resume legislative business on Monday. Up for consideration this week is the nomination of John King to be Education secretary.

Highlights of what is happening in Senate Committees this week:

  • Library of Congress funding: On Tuesday, the Senate Appropriations Committee Legislative Branch Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the FY 2017 budget request and funding justification for the Library of Congress and the Architect of the Capitol.
  • National Guard, Reserve funding: On Wednesday, the Senate Appropriations Committee Defense Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the FY 2017 budget request and funding justification for the National Guard and Reserve.
  • Department of Energy funding: On Wednesday, the Senate Appropriations Committee Energy and Water Development Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the FY 2017 budget request and funding justification for the Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration
  • Department of Transportation funding: On Wednesday, the Senate Appropriations Committee Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the FY 2017 budget request and funding justification for the Transportation Department.
  • Department of Labor funding: On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the FY 2017 budget request and funding justification for the Labor Department.

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