October 7, 2013

THE WEEK AHEAD

Tomorrow, the federal government enters its second week in partial shutdown status. Capitol Hill observers are now eyeing the debt limit increase deadline – on or about October 17 – as the next pressure point for Congressional action.

The SENATE reconvened at 2:00 p.m. Monday and be in a period of morning business.

At 5:00 p.m., the Senate moved into executive session to consider two Illinois district judge nominations with confirmation votes starting at 5:30 p.m. Further votes are possible, as is the consideration of two more district judge nominations.  H.R. 3223, a bill to provide back pay for furloughed federal employees as soon as the shutdown ends, was passed by the House (407-0) on Saturday, but Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has not indicated how the Senate will address the bill.

The HOUSE reconvened at noon today to take up a narrow stopgap spending measure (H J Res 77) that would resume fiscal 2014 appropriations for the Food and Drug Administration.  Since last week, House Republicans have been considering a series of “mini-CRs” that would provide temporary funding to selected departments, agencies and activities.

 For the remainder of the week, House leaders have not announced a schedule or meeting times, however, consideration of other mini-CR bills is possible.  They include short-term funding bills for Energy Department nuclear weapons activities ( H J Res 76 ), national intelligence programs ( H J Res 78 ), U.S. border security activities ( H J Res 79 ), American Indian programs ( H J Res 80 ), the National  Weather Service ( H J Res 82 ), Impact Aid to school districts with a large federal presence ( H J Res 83 ) and the Head Start program ( H J Res 84 ).  All of the above measures (including H J Res 77) would be considered under a closed rule that prohibits amendments.


KEY HEARINGS & MARKUPS

Armed Services: The Readiness Subcommittee of The House Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing titled “The Interpretation of HR 3210: Pay Our Military Act;”
Thursday, October 10th at 11:30 a.m., 2118 Rayburn Building.

Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs: The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the multifamily housing finance system;
Wednesday, October 9th at 10:00 a.m.

The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will hold a hearing titled “Impact of a Default on Financial Stability and Economic Growth;”
Thursday, October 10th at 10:00 a.m., 538 Dirksen Building.

Commerce, Science and Transportation: The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing titled “The Impacts of the Government Shutdown on Our Economic Security;”
Friday, October 11th, time TBD, 253 Russell Building.

Education and the Workforce: The Higher Education and Workforce Training Subcommittee of the House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a series of hearings titled “Keeping College Within Reach;”
Wednesday, October 9th at 10:00 a.m., 2175 Rayburn Building.

The Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee of the House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a hearing titled “Strengthening the Multiemployer Pension System;”
Thursday, October 10th at 10:00 a.m., 2175 Rayburn Building.

Financial Services: The Housing and Insurance Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing on the status of the National Flood Insurance Program;
Wednesday, October 9th at 10:00 a.m., 2128 Rayburn Building.

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: The Efficiency and Effectiveness of Federal Programs and the Federal Workforce Subcommittee of The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the impact of the government shutdown on efficiency and the Federal workforce;
Thursday, October 10th at 10:00 a.m., 342 Dirksen Building.

The Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing titled “DHS [Department of Homeland Security]: Investigation DHS’s Stewardship of Taxpayer Dollars;”
Thursday, October 10th at 2:00 p.m., 311 Cannon Building.

Natural Resources: The Water and Power Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on legislation that would reauthorize the Reclamation States Emergency Drought Relief Act of 1991 and U.S. water rights protection legislation;
Thursday, October 10th at 2:00 p.m., 1334 Longworth Building.

Veterans Affairs: The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the Department of Veterans Affairs claims process;
Wednesday, October 9th at 2:00 p.m., 418 Russell Building.

The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee will hold a hearing titled “Effect of Government Shutdown on VA [Department of Veterans Affairs] Benefits and Services to Veterans;”
Wednesday, October 9th at 10:30 a.m., 334 Cannon Building.


HOUSE APPROVES NUTRITION PROGRAM FUNDING

On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 244-164 on a resolution, H.J. Res. 75, making fiscal year 2014 appropriations for the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). The WIC program provides breast-feeding support, nutrition counseling, infant formula and healthy foods to low-income mothers with children under age five. The WIC resolution is one in a series of narrow appropriations resolutions passed by the House since the start of the federal government shutdown last week. The Senate is not expected to take up the measure, which faces a veto threat from President Obama. 



DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE ISSUES GUIDANCE ON PAY OUR MILITARY ACT

Over the weekend the Department of Defense (DoD) issued guidance on implementation of the Pay our Military Act (POMA), which provided appropriations during the shutdown to pay active duty service members and other staff as determined by the Secretary of Defense. The guidance, announced by Secretary Hagel on Saturday, clarifies that the vast majority of DoD staff, including members of the National Guard and Reserves will be covered under POMA including a majority of National Guard technician positions. 

Per the announcement, POMA will also eliminate furloughs for a majority of the 400,000 civilian employees of the department, although the impact on contractors is still being determined. The National Guard Bureau is working with state Adjutants General to address the final list of personnel covered under the guidance. 




HOUSE PASSES BILLS TO PAY NATIONAL GUARD AND VETERANS 

On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed two narrowly targeted spending bills – one to fund veterans’ programs and the other to address National Guard and Reservists’ pay. The Pay Our Guard and Reserve Act, H.R. 3230, would provide pay and allowances to members of the National Guard and reserves who are performing training activities during the shutdown. The House also passed H.J.Res 72, the Honoring our Promise to America’s Veterans Act, which would provide funding to the Department of Veterans Affairs and related programs. 

The bills now move to the Senate where their consideration appears unlikely due to Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) recent statements that the Senate will not take up separate funding bills.