Congress this week will continue to move forward on approving President Trump’s cabinet nominees and disapproving federal regulations issued in the final months of President Obama’s Administration in an effort to overturn them under the Congressional Review Act (CRA).

There will be an abbreviated week of legislative business in the House of Representatives, with the Democratic conference retreat scheduled to begin on Wednesday in Baltimore, MD.  House floor activity this week will continue to focus on passage of resolutions of disapproval under the CRA to overturn regulations issued by federal agencies in the final months of the Obama Administration.  Members will consider three such disapproval resolutions this week.

Before tackling the disapproval resolutions, on Monday members will take up seven bills under suspension of the rules, with six under the jurisdiction of the Natural Resources Committee and one under that of the Judiciary Committee.  As with the other suspensions that have been considered thus far this year, each of this week’s suspension bills had been passed by the House during the 114th Congress.

On Tuesday, the House will consider three disapproval resolutions under the CRA to block implementation of the previous administration’s regulations.  The first measure up for consideration is H.J. Res. 44, a resolution of disapproval of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) Resource Management Planning rule, finalized in December 2016.   The regulation establishes the procedures used to prepare, revise, or amend land use plans pursuant to the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, but a number of congressional Republicans, state and local governments, and stakeholders have complained the new process creates more confusion and greater uncertainty.  Consideration of H.J. Res. 44 will be subject to a rule.

Members will then consider two disapproval resolutions targeting rules issued by the Department of Education.  The first, H.J. Res. 57, would overturn a rule relating to the implementation of accountability standards and state plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act.  The second measure, H.J. Res. 58, would disapprove a rule finalized in October 2016 to expand the federal government’s involvement with teacher preparation.  Consideration of each of these disapproval resolutions will be subject to a rule.

Across the Capitol, the Senate is also scheduled to return to legislative business on Monday when it will resume consideration of the nomination of Betsy DeVos to serve as Secretary of Education.  Senate Democrats are expected to force the full 30 hours of post-cloture debate on the floor due to their opposition to the nominee, whom they largely oppose due to her lack of experience and her history of activism in support for school choice.  Teacher union opposition to the nomination is also likely a key factor in Democratic opposition.  Two Republican senators, Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have also announced they will vote against the nominee, setting up a likely 50-50 vote that will require Vice President Mike Pence to cast the tie-breaking vote in order to confirm Ms. DeVos. The confirmation vote on the DeVos nomination can be expected to occur on Tuesday, February 7.  Cloture has also been filed on the nominations of Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to be Attorney General, Representative Tom Price (R-GA) to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Steven Mnuchin to serve as Secretary of Treasury, and votes can be expected throughout the week.  Senators may also consider the CRA disapproval resolutions after they are approved by the House of Representatives.

Throughout the week, Senate committees will continue to review and report President Trump’s Cabinet appointees to the full Senate.  The Health Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hear from Andrew Puzder on Tuesday regarding his nomination to serve as Secretary of Labor.  Mr. Puzder nomination is fiercely contested, and the hearing has been postponed several times.  Later on Tuesday, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee will vote on the nomination of Dr. David Shulkin to serve as Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Several items on the new President’s policy agenda will also be the subject of congressional hearings this week.  Related to the President’s desire to rebuild the military and his recent executive order calling for Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to initiate a 30-day “readiness review,”  the House Armed Services Committee will meet on Tuesday to hear from officials of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force on the current readiness of U.S. forces.  The Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support will receive testimony from the same panel of witnesses on Wednesday.

The House Homeland Security Committee will meet on Tuesday regarding gaps in security along the southern border.  Newly installed Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is among the witnesses scheduled to provide testimony before the committee, and he is expected to discuss the Trump Administration’s plans to secure the southern border, including the President’s proposal for constructing a wall along the entire length of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Domestic infrastructure improvements and modernization, another promise of President Trump during the 2016 campaign, is the focus of a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on Wednesday morning.  Democrats have already announced their own infrastructure investment proposal.  Rebuilding and improving the country’s decaying infrastructure is an area of potential agreement between the new administration and congressional Democrats, with Republicans leery of the attendant spending.  This hearing could provide a window into how the debate will proceed during the early part of the Trump Administration.

Matters of foreign affairs also dominate the hearing schedule.  The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a Tuesday hearing regarding the current status of North Korea’s nuclear program and its ability to deliver its nuclear weapons and how best to counter the emerging threat.  The Senate Armed Services Committee is scheduled for a closed session on Tuesday to receive a briefing from Admiral Michael Rogers, Commander of U.S. Cyber Command and Director of the National Security Agency, on cyber threats to the United States, and will meet again on Thursday to receive testimony on the situation in Afghanistan from General John Nicholson, Jr., Resolute Support Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan.  Also on Thursday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on the U.S. relationship with the Russian Federation and the challenges ahead.

The full details for these events and other congressional hearings scheduled throughout the week ahead are included below:
Monday, February 6, 2017

House Committees

Priorities of the House Officers and Legislative Branch Entities for FY2018 and Beyond
House Administration
Full Committee Hearing
5 p.m., 1310 LHOB

Senate Committees

Committee Organization
Senate Finance Committee
Full Committee Business Meeting
6 p.m., S-216

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

House Committees

State of the Military
House Armed Services
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., RHOB-2118

Challenges and Opportunities in Higher Education
House Education and the Workforce
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., RHOB-2175

Committee Organization
House Financial Services
Full Committee Business Meeting
10 a.m., RHOB-2128

Countering the North Korean Threat: New Steps in U.S. Policy
House Foreign Affairs
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., RHOB-2172

Ending the Crisis: America’s Borders and the Path to Security
House Homeland Security – Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., CVC-210

H.R.732, the “Stop Settlement Slush Funds Act of 2017
House Judiciary
Full Committee Markup
10 a.m., RHOB-2141

Committee Organization
House Natural Resources
Full Committee Business Meeting
11 a.m., LHOB-1324

Accomplishing Postal Reform in the 115th Congress – H.R.756, the ‘Postal Service Reform Act of 2017
House Oversight and Government Reform
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., RHOB-2154

Committee Organization
House Science, Space and Technology
Full Committee Business Meeting
10 a.m., RHOB-2318

Making EPA Great Again
House Science, Space and Technology
Full Committee Hearing
11 a.m., RHOB-2318

Reimagining the Health Care Marketplace for America’s Small Businesses
House Small Business
Full Committee Hearing
11 a.m., RHOB-2360

Assessing the VA IT Landscape: Progress and Challenges
House Veterans’ Affairs
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., CHOB-334

Subcommittee Organization
House Ways and Means – Subcommittee on Social Security
Subcommittee Business Meeting
10 a.m.

Subcommittee Organization/Social Security’s Representative Payee Program
House Ways and Means – Subcommittee on Social Security; House Ways and Means – Subcommittee on Oversight
Subcommittees Joint Hearing
10 a.m., LHOB-1100

Senate Committees

Cyber Threats
Senate Armed Services
Full Committee Briefing (CLOSED)
9:30 a.m.

Secretary of Labor Nomination
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Full Committee Meeting
10 a.m., SD-430

The Plan to Defeat ISIS: Key Decisions and Considerations
Senate Foreign Relations
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., SD-419

Intelligence Matters
Senate Select Intelligence
Full Committee Briefing (CLOSED)
2:30 p.m., SH-219

Veterans Affairs Secretary Nomination
Senate Veterans’ Affairs
Full Committee Markup
TBA

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Senate Committees

A Look Ahead: Inspector General Recommendations for Improving Federal Agencies
Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., SR-253

Infrastructure Modernization
Senate Environment and Public Works
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., SD-406

Current Readiness of U.S. Forces
Senate Armed Services – Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support
Subcommittee Hearing
2:30 p.m., SR-232A

Emergency Management in Indian Country: Improving FEMA’s Federal-Tribal Relationship with Indian Tribes
Senate Indian Affairs
Full Committee Hearing
2:30 p.m., SD-628

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Senate Committees

Situation in Afghanistan
Senate Armed Services
Full Committee Hearing
9:30 a.m., SDG-50

The United States, The Russian Federation and the Challenges Ahead
Senate Foreign Relations
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., SD-419

Empowering Managers: Ideas for a More Effective Federal Workforce
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs – Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., SD-342

Committee Organization/S.178, the “Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act”
Senate Judiciary
Full Committee Markup
10 a.m., SD-226

Intelligence Matters
Senate Select Intelligence
Full Committee Briefing (CLOSED)
2 p.m., SH-219