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.
PRO Act Action Alert:
Union organizations will be making a huge push in support of the PRO Act (H.R. 2474) this Wednesday with a day of action on the Hill. The bill currently has 214 cosponsors, only 4 away from a majority in the House. It is critical that ABC members reach out to their members of Congress in opposition to this dangerous legislation. ABC’s PRO Act action alert is available here, and we will be sending out an updated alert on Wednesday morning urging members to call their representatives and voice their concerns about the bill.
While the House continues with its impeachment probe, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is looking to move several spending bills this week before the November 21 deadline to avoid a government shutdown. Last week McConnell filed cloture on the motion to proceed on two spending packages passed by the House earlier this year. The move would allow Republicans to include their own text to the bills and begin floor debate on some of the Senate's least controversial bills, which are included in the first package, H.R. 3055 for Interior-Environment appropriations. If that package can win bipartisan support, the Senate could then take up a more difficult second package, H.R. 2740, which includes the Energy-Water appropriations.
Corporate Transparency Act:
PRO Act Update:
Over the weekend, two Republican Representatives, Reps. Chris Smith (NJ-04) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) joined on as cosponsors to the controversial PRO Act that ABC has been working to oppose. The bill now has 215 cosponsors, one away from majority support in the House due to the departure of Republicans Chris Collins and Sean Duffy and the death of Dem. Rep. Elijah Cummings.
It is critical that ABC members continue to reach out to their members of Congress and urge them to oppose this dangerous legislation. Please view the ABC Action Center for additional information.
PRO Act Update