PRO ACT SIGN ON OPPORTUNITY:
Republican Congressman from New York Pete King announced his decision to not seek reelection, leaving the open seat as likely competitive for Democrats in 2020. King has been the dean of the NY GOP delegation, serving in the House for 14 terms. King is the 19th Republican to announce retirement before the 2020 elections.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case challenging President Donald Trump's 2017 decision to end President Obama’ s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program, which granted qualified immigrants temporary residency and work privileges for more than 700,000 young undocumented immigrants. Approximately 84,000 DACA recipients work in the construction industry. A court opinion is expected in July.
With only 10 days left before a government shutdown, Congressional leaders and the White House agree they will need another three or four weeks to conclude negotiations on 12 annual spending bills and are likely to pass a stopgap funding bill that would last until Dec. 13 or Dec. 20. The House has passed 10 of the 12 annual spending bills that fund the federal government, while the Senate has passed only four, and the two chambers have not resolved differences over the defense and non-defense discretionary funding and funding for the president’s border wall.
ABC will be sending a support letter to members of the U.S. House and Senate in support of the USMCA tomorrow morning. The trade deal is estimated to add $68.2 billion to the U.S. economy and create approximately 176,000 new jobs. ABC believes the USMCA will help to ensure certainty in the supply chain and reduce volatility in pricing for building materials from Mexico and Canada to further lift the economy, support more projects and help address the much-needed modernization of our nation’s infrastructure
In comments to reporters, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated that “We’re on a path to yes, and I think every day brings us closer to an agreement,” but gave no certain timeline for a vote in the House. Trump administration officials have become increasingly concerned that time is running out for a vote on the agreement this year and that it won’t be possible to consider during the election year in 2020
House Retirements and Resignations:
Rep. Greg Walden (OR-2), the top Republican on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, announced that he will retire at the end of this Congress. The Oregon congressman is the 17th House Republican to announce retirement this cycle.
House Democrat Rep. Katie Hill (CA-25) also announced her decision to resign her seat following confirmed reports on her inappropriate relationship with a campaign staffer and a House Ethics investigation into allegations of another inappropriate relationship with a current employee of her congressional office. Hill defeated Republican Steve Knight in the 2018 election, flipping the seat blue for the first time in 26 years.
While the Senate continues to push forward with appropriations bills Congress is already publicly discussing needing another continuing resolution to prevent a shutdown next month. The options for a stopgap bill have ranged from lasting into December or even into the first quarter of 2020. The Senate has yet to pass any appropriations bills but is working on its first package that would include funding bills for agriculture; interior; transportation and housing and urban development; and commerce, science, and justice. Even if the Senate is able to advance its own spending bills by the Nov. 21 deadline, it would still have to reconcile them with the House. The Democratically-controlled lower chamber has approved 10 of the 12 annual appropriations measures, largely along party lines. House Democrats also oppose moving to an all-encompassing final appropriations bill until a deal has been worked out on each of the individual bills.
Higher Ed Markup:
On Tuesday, the House Education and Labor Committee will markup the Democrat's proposal for reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA). The $400 billion proposal would increase Pell Grants and seek to make community college tuition-free, though it doesn’t go as far some of the plans proposed by 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. Despite Tuesday's markup, a reauthorization of HEA is not expected this Congress. ABC will continue to work with the House and Senate to ensure any final product includes ABC-supported measures.
Today, the Trump administration extended Temporary Protected Status for thousands of Salvadorans in the United States, granting them reprieve from removal to El Salvador. An estimated 200,000 Salvadorans in the U.S. have TPS. There are approximately 45,000 TPS workers in construction and ABC has advocated for a common-sense approach to addressing these individuals and recognizing their contribution to the construction industry and economy. The Trump administration previously announced its intention to end TPS for El Salvador and several other countries. In the House, Democrats are also hoping to make a deal with Republicans that would grant legal status to farm workers currently in the country illegally but would require employers to verify the immigration status of all future hires through mandatory E-verify. ABC has been in contact with members of Congress to push for the inclusion of construction and other industries outside of Ag. in any deal.