Following their one-week recess, members of the House of Representatives will join their Senate colleagues back in Washington, D.C. this week, where the news of FBI Director James Comey’s sudden dismissal continues to reverberate.  President Trump’s unexpected decision to fire Director Comey dominated the news cycle last week and commanded the attention of the Senate, slowing legislative business in the chamber.  Both Democratic and Republican Members of Congress have expressed concerns about the timing of President Trump’s termination of Director Comey, and any possible relation to the FBI’s investigation of the Trump 2016 presidential campaign and possible collusion with Russia to influence the election outcome. The fallout is likely to continue to distract Capitol Hill, even as former Director Comey declined an invitation from the Senate Intelligence Committee to testify in a closed session on Tuesday afternoon.  While Director Comey declined to testify this week in closed session, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, whom President Trump and senior administration officials said had been the source of the initial recommendation to dismiss Director Comey, has reportedly accepted an invitation to brief senators in closed session on his recommendation.

The GOP majority is undoubtedly hoping that the political storm surrounding Director Comey’s dismissal does not derail its agenda for the 115th Congress.  Prior to the news of Director Comey’s dismissal, Senate Majority Leader McConnell had announced the formation of a 13-member Special Working Group on Healthcare Reform, charged with developing new Senate legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.  That act was an admission that the version of the bill that narrowly passed the House earlier this month cannot garner enough votes to pass the Senate, even using the reconciliation process that allows the majority to avoid a filibuster.

While the Comey saga and the Republicans’ effort to craft their own healthcare reform bill continue to play out, the Senate is expected to remain focused on consideration of the President’s nominees.  The Senate is scheduled to return to legislative business on Monday, when it will resume consideration of the nomination of Jeffrey Rosen to be Deputy Secretary of Transportation.  A cloture vote on the nomination is expected on Monday evening, setting up a final confirmation vote later in the week.  Upon disposition of the Rosen nomination, the Senate will proceed to a cloture vote on the nomination of Rachel Brand to be Associate Attorney General, setting up a final confirmation vote likely before the end of the week.  Leader McConnell has not announced the floor schedule beyond these two nominations, although action can be expected on other nominations awaiting consideration on the Executive Calendar.  Among the pending nominations is that of former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad to serve as U.S. Ambassador to China.

House members will return to legislative business on Tuesday with the consideration of four bills under suspension of the rules.  All four bills were reported out of the Judiciary Committee and are related to law enforcement activities or honoring public safety officers in conjunction with the observance of National Police Week from May 11-17.

On Wednesday the House will consider 14 bills under suspension of the rules.

Members will take up additional legislation related to law enforcement beginning on Thursday with the consideration of H.R. 115, the Thin Blue Line Act.  The legislation would require federal courts to consider the murder, attempted murder, or targeting of a law enforcement official or first responder as an aggravating circumstance when determining if a death sentence is warranted.  Consideration of H.R. 115 will be subject to a rule.

On Friday, the House will take up H.R. 1039, the Probation Officer Protection Act of 2017.  This bill would amend current law to allow federal probation officers to arrest a person if there is probable cause that the person has assaulted, intimidated, or otherwise interfered with any probation officers while performing their official duties. The bill also would direct the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, which oversees the federal probation service, to implement rules and regulations governing probation officers’ conduct while exercising that authority.  Consideration of H.R. 1039 will be subject to a rule.

Related to the National Police Week activities in the House, on Thursday the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to mark up the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act of 2017, legislation providing support for law enforcement agencies in their efforts to protect the mental health and well-being of law enforcement officers.

As the full Senate resumes consideration of the President’s nominees, several Senate committees will continue to review the qualifications of other appointees.  On Tuesday, the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs will hear testimony from three nominees to the Treasury Department and one nominee to the Commerce Department: Sigal Mandelker to be Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes; Marshall Billingslea to be Assistant Treasury Secretary for Terrorist Financing; Heath Tarbert to be Assistant Treasury Secretary for International Markets and Development; and Mira Radielovic Ricardel to be Commerce Undersecretary for the Export Administration.

Former Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) will appear before the Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday regarding his qualifications to serve concurrently as U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and U.S. Ambassador to Samoa.  The Foreign Relations Committee will meet again on Thursday to hear testimony from William Hagerty IV on his nomination to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Japan.

The Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hear from David Bernhardt on Thursday morning regarding his nomination to serve as Deputy Secretary of the Interior.

The Armed Services Committee is also scheduled to meet on Thursday to consider the nominations of four individuals to positions within the Department of Defense.

Even though Congress has yet to pass a budget resolution setting parameters for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 spending, the House Appropriations Committee appears poised to begin its work on FY 2018 spending bill.  Its Legislative Branch Subcommittee has a number of hearings scheduled throughout the week regarding funding for various Legislative Branch entities, including the Library of Congress, the Architect of the Capitol, and U.S. Capitol Police.  The Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies will also hold hearings throughout the week on FY 2018 funding for American Indian and Alaska Native programs.  The Subcommittee on Homeland Security is scheduled to meet on Thursday regarding funding for the Coast Guard and future acquisition plans.  The hearing could become a forum for opposition to the President’s budget request calling for steep cuts to the Coast Guard in order to fund more aggressive Homeland Security enforcement efforts against illegal immigration.  Democrats and Republicans alike have not received the proposed Coast Guard cuts warmly.

The House Ways and Means Committee is set to initiate its formal proceedings related to tax reform legislation this week.  On Thursday, the committee will meet to discuss “how tax reform will grow our economy and create jobs.”  This event is the first in a series of hearings as the chief tax-writing committee in the House of Representatives works towards producing the major tax reform legislation the GOP is hoping to pass later this year.  House architects of tax reform, including the Speaker, Paul Ryan, and the Ways & Means Chairman, Kevin Brady (R-TX) have been developing a plan that relies on revenue neutrality, including a new border adjustability tax (BAT) to help pay for tax cuts in the proposal.  The BAT has not garnered support from the Senate or key administration officials.  Instead, Senate Republicans and the President and his advisors appear to be willing not to cover the full costs of tax cuts in order to spur faster encomium growth.  This week’s hearing will be the opening public event in what is likely to be the next legislative focus of Congress, once the Senate resolves its approach to healthcare reform.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is scheduled to testify before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Thursday.

Infrastructure modernization is again a focus of congressional committees this week.  The House Transportation Committee will hold a Wednesday hearing on reforms to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), including a controversial plan sponsored by Committee Chairman Bill Shuster to separate air traffic control from the FAA.  Chairman Shuster authored a five-year FAA reauthorization bill during the 114th Congress that included a provision to privatize the country’s air traffic control system, a  move supported by President Trump and included in his first budget submission to Congress.  The Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure will hold a subcommittee hearing on Tuesday entitled, “Leveraging Federal Funding: Innovative Solutions for Infrastructure.”  The full Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will also meet on Wednesday to discuss America’s transportation infrastructure.  On Thursday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment will hold a hearing on improving water quality through integrated planning.

There are two events related to Medicare scheduled this week.  The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday to discuss bipartisan improvements to Medicare policies for patients with chronic conditions.  On Thursday the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing to review the current status of the Medicare program, changes needed to Medicare’s payment systems, and Medicare programs that are set to expire before the end of the year.

The full details for congressional committee events during the week ahead are included below:

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

House Committees

American Indian and Alaska Native Funding
House Appropriations – Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
Subcommittee Hearing
9 a.m., 2007 RHOB

American Indian and Alaska Native Funding
House Appropriations – Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
Subcommittee Hearing
1 p.m., 2007 RHOB

Senate Committees

Pending Nominations
Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., SD-538

Examining Bipartisan Medicare Policies that Improve Care for Patients with Chronic Conditions
Senate Finance
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., SD-215

Foreign Service Lists
Senate Foreign Relations
Full Committee Markup
10 a.m., S-216

Leveraging Federal Funding: Innovative Solutions for Infrastructure
Senate Environment and Public Works – Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Subcommittee Hearing
3:15 p.m., SD-406

Intelligence Matters
Senate Select Intelligence
Full Committee Briefing (CLOSED)
2:30 p.m., SVC-217

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

House Committees

Transforming GPO for the 21st Century and Beyond
House Administration
Full Committee Hearing
11 a.m., 1310 LHOB

State of the Rural Economy
House Agriculture
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., 1300 LHOB

American Indian and Alaska Native Funding
House Appropriations – Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
Subcommittee Hearing
9 a.m., 2007 RHOB

Biomedical Research Advances
House Appropriations – Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2358-C RHOB

House of Representatives: FY2018 Budget
House Appropriations – Subcommittee on Legislative Branch
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., HT-2

Initial Findings of the Section 809 Panel: Setting the Path for Streamlining and Improving Defense Acquisition
House Armed Services
Full Committee Hearing
May 17, 10 a.m., 2118 RHOB

H.R.2353, the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act
House Education and the Workforce
Full Committee Markup
10 a.m., 2175 RHOB

Future of Emergency Alerting
House Energy and Commerce – Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2123 RHOB

Pending Legislation
House Energy and Commerce – Subcommittee on Health
Subcommittee Hearing
10:15 a.m., 2322 RHOB

Energy Opportunities in South America
House Foreign Affairs – Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2172 RHOB

Challenges Facing Law Enforcement in the 21st Century
House Judiciary – Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2142 RHOB

Reviewing Recent State Successes with the Rigs to Reefs Program
House Natural Resources – Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 1324 LHOB

SBA’s 7(a) Loan Program: A Detailed Review
House Small Business
Full Committee Hearing
11 a.m., 2360 RHOB

The Need to Reform FAA and Air Traffic Control to Build a 21st Century Aviation System for America
House Transportation and Infrastructure
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., 2167 RHOB

Opportunities for Youth and Young Adults to Break the Cycle of Poverty
House Ways and Means – Subcommittee on Human Resources
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2020 LHOB

American Indian and Alaska Native Funding
House Appropriations – Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
Subcommittee Hearing
1 p.m., 2007 RHOB

Judiciary Funding
House Appropriations – Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government
Subcommittee Hearing
2 p.m., 2359 RHOB

Architect of the Capitol: FY2018 Budget
House Appropriations – Subcommittee on Legislative Branch
Subcommittee Hearing
2 p.m., HT-2

Military Personnel Posture: FY2018
House Armed Services – Subcommittee on Military Personnel
Subcommittee Hearing
3:30 p.m., 2118 RHOB

The Balkans: Threats to Peace and Stability
House Foreign Affairs – Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats
Subcommittee Hearing
2 p.m., 2200 RHOB

Revitalizing U.S.-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Relations
House Foreign Affairs – Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific
Subcommittee Hearing
2:30 p.m., 2172 RHOB

Seeking Better Management of America’s Overgrown, Fire-Prone National Forests
House Natural Resources – Subcommittee on Federal Lands
Subcommittee Hearing
2 p.m., 1324 LHOB

Senate Committees

Running the Government for Less
Senate Budget
Full Committee Hearing
10:30 a.m., SD-608

Current Issues in American Sports: Protecting the Health and Safety of American Athletes
Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., SR-253

Improving America’s Transportation Infrastructure: The Road Forward
Senate Environment and Public Works
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., SD-406

Pending Legislation
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Full Committee Markup
10 a.m., SD-342

Military Space Organization, Policy, and Programs
Senate Armed Services – Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
Subcommittee Hearing
2 p.m., SR-222

U.S. Military Small Arms Requirements
Senate Armed Services – Subcommittee on Airland
Subcommittee Hearing
3:30 p.m., SR-232A

New Zealand and Samoa Ambassador Nominations
Senate Foreign Relations
Full Committee Hearing
2 p.m., SD-419

High Risk, No Reward: GAO’s High Risk list for Indian Programs
Senate Indian Affairs
Full Committee Hearing
2:30 p.m., SD-628

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

Veterans Healthcare and Benefits
Senate Veterans’ Affairs
Full Committee Hearing
2:30 p.m., SR-418

Joint Committees

What We Do Together: The State of Social Capital in America Today
Joint Economic
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., SD-106

Thursday, May 18, 2017

House Committees

Coast Guard Requirements, Priorities, and Future Acquisition Plans
House Appropriations – Subcommittee on Homeland Security
Subcommittee Hearing
8 a.m., 2007 RHOB

U.S. Capitol Police: FY2018 Budget
House Appropriations – Subcommittee on Legislative Branch
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., HT-2

Emerging Transportation Technologies
House Appropriations – Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2358-A RHOB

Regulatory Barriers Facing Workers and Families Saving for Retirement
House Education and the Workforce – Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2175 RHOB

Lessons from the IMF’s Bailout of Greece
House Financial Services – Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2128 RHOB

U.S. Interests in Africa
House Foreign Affairs
Full Committee Hearing
May 18, 10 a.m., 2172 RHOB

Pending Legislation
House Natural Resources – Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 1324 LHOB

Federal Employee Compensation: An Update
House Oversight and Government Reform
Full Committee Hearing
9 a.m., 2154 RHOB

Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America: Improving Water Quality through Integrated Planning
House Transportation and Infrastructure – Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2167 RHOB

How Tax Reform Will Grow Our Economy and Create Jobs
House Ways and Means
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., 1100 LHOB

Library of Congress: FY2018 Budget
House Appropriations – Subcommittee on Legislative Branch
Subcommittee Hearing
2 p.m., HT-2

Amphibious Warfare in a Contested Environment
House Armed Services – Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces
Subcommittee Hearing
2 p.m., 2212 RHOB

Disappeared, Jailed, and Tortured in China: Wives Petition for Their Husbands’ Freedom
House Foreign Affairs – Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations
Subcommittee Hearing
2 p.m., 2172 RHOB

From the Border to Disasters and Beyond: Critical Canine Contributions to the DHS Mission
House Homeland Security – Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency
Subcommittee Hearing
2 p.m., HVC-210

Current Status of the Medicare Program, Payment Systems, and Extenders
House Ways and Means – Subcommittee on Health
Subcommittee Hearing
2 p.m., 1100 LHOB

Senate Committees

Pending Nominations
Senate Armed Services
Full Committee Hearing
9:30 a.m., SD-G50

Domestic and International Policy Update
Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., SD-538

Pending Business
Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation
Full Committee Markup
10 a.m., SH-216

Deputy Interior Secretary Nomination
Senate Energy and Natural Resources
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., SD-366

Ambassador to Japan Nomination
Senate Foreign Relations
Full Committee Hearing
9:30 a.m., SD-419

Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act of 2017/Pending Nomination
Senate Judiciary
Full Committee Markup
10 a.m., SD-226

The Balkan Peninsula
Senate Foreign Relations – Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation
Subcommittee Hearing
2:30 p.m., SD-419

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

Friday, May 19, 2017

House Committees

FY2018 Priorities and Posture of the National Security Space Enterprise
House Armed Services – Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
Subcommittee Hearing
9 a.m., 2118 RHOB

Recent Trends in International Antitrust Enforcement
House Judiciary – Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law
Subcommittee Hearing
9 a.m., 2141 RHOB