March 27, 2017

Legislative Focus: ACA Repeal and Replace Efforts Come to a Halt
Congress will continue their work after the stunning defeat of the Republican health care bill last Friday. It is unclear when or if Congress will take up another comprehensive health care reform bill. Efforts will now turn to tax reform and funding the government, but that won’t begin right away. The House will take up some non-controversial bills, and the Senate takes up a treaty on Montenegro and NATO.

Senate Floor:
Convened at 3 p.m. ET for consideration of the protocol for Montenegro to be added to the 28-member NATO alliance (TD 114-12). Senators will hold the procedural vote on the treaty at 5:30 p.m.

House Floor:
Convened at 2 p.m. for consideration of three bills (HR 1117HR 1214HR 654), including a measure on earthquake preparedness in the Pacific Northwest.

On Tuesday, the House meets at noon for consideration of a resolution (S J Res 34) that would nullify and disapprove of a Federal Communications Commission rule that requires broadband internet service providers to obtain customer approval in order to share their information, including browsing history.

Key Hearings and Markups

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

  • Energy Subcommittee hearing on the cybersecurity threats to the U.S. electric grid and technology advancements to maximize such threats, including S.79, the “Securing Energy Infrastructure Act.” Tuesday, March 28 at 2:15 p.m., 366 Dirksen Bldg.
  • Full committee hearing on the potential for infrastructure improvements to create jobs and reduce the cost of living through all-of-the-above energy and mineral production in Alaska. Thursday, March 30 at 2:30 p.m., 366 Dirksen Bldg.

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

  • Fisheries, Water and Wildlife Subcommittee hearing on S.518, the “Small and Rural Community Clean Water Technical Assistance Act”; S.675, to amend and reauthorize certain provisions relating to Long Island Sound restoration and stewardship; and the “Water Infrastructure Flexibility Act of 2017.” Tuesday, March 28 at 2:30 p.m., 406 Dirksen Bldg.

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee

  • Full committee markup vote on the nomination of Alexander Acosta to be Labor Secretary. Thursday, March 30 at time TBA, 430 Dirksen Bldg.

Senate Judiciary Committee

  • Full committee markup to vote on the nomination Neil Gorsuch to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court; Rod Rosenstein to be deputy attorney general; and Rachel Brand to be associate attorney general. Monday, March 27 at 12 p.m., 226 Dirksen Bldg.

House Agriculture Committee

  • General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee hearing on “The Next Farm Bill: Commodity Policy Part I.” Tuesday, March 28, 10 a.m., 1300 Longworth Bldg.
  • Nutrition Subcommittee hearing on “The Next Farm Bill: The Future of SNAP Policy.” Tuesday, March 28, 2 p.m., 1300 Longworth Bldg.

House Energy and Commerce Committee

  • Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee hearing on “Self-Driving Cars: Levels of Automation.” Tuesday, March 28, 10 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Bldg.
  • Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing on “Realizing Nationwide Next-Generation 911.” Wednesday, March 29, 10 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Bldg.
  • Energy Subcommittee hearing on “Federal Energy Related Tax Policy and its Effects on Markets, Prices, and Consumers.” Wednesday, March 29, 10:15 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Bldg.

House Natural Resources Committee

  • Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing on “ESA (Endangered Species Act) Consultation Impediments to Economic and Infrastructure Development.” Tuesday, March 28, 10 a.m., 1324 Longworth Bldg.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

  • Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee hearing on “Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America: Revitalizing American Communities through the Brownfields Program.” Tuesday, March 28, 10 a.m., 2167 Rayburn Bldg.

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee

  • Health Subcommittee hearing on various pending legislation, including H.R.1545, a bill to clarify VA’s authority to disclose certain patient information to State controlled substance monitoring programs. Wednesday, March 29 at 8 a.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.

The Week in Review

Advanced Nuclear Bill Passes EPW Committee 
The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee voted 18-3 to pass S. 512, the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act. The bill would overhaul the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s licensing process for advanced reactors and modernize the budget and fee programs. Among other things the bill would require consultation with state emergency planning officials to create an evacuation report for natural disasters or spontaneous evacuations in densely populated urban and suburban areas. A manager’s amendment was adopted which strengthens incentives for private investments in research and development. A Senate vote is expected in the upcoming months.

NCSL and ICSC Report Shows States Lost $26B in Uncollected Sales Taxes in 2015
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) released a report which found that states and localities lost about $26 billion of sales tax not collected from remote sales in 2015. This is an increase from the estimated $23 billion loss in 2012, which NCSL and ICSC attribute to increases in online shopping.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Holds Hearing on Broadband Infrastructure
The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing titled “Broadband: Deploying America’s 21st Century Infrastructure.” The hearing focused on the importance of making broadband accessible to all Americans and included discussion of two draft bills that would expedite the broadband deployment process. As part of the discussion, both committee members and witnesses spoke of the need to include state and local interests as partners in the expansion of broadband infrastructure.