Members of the House and Senate are in session for one more week before the planned Memorial Day recess. The House is scheduled to take up a number of bills related to child protection while the Senate continues to work through nominations to the Trump Administration. Outside events, however, are again likely to overshadow the floor activity in either chamber.

President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey and allegations that the President sought to stop the FBI from investigating former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s potential ties to Russia remains at the top of the news cycle and threatens to derail Republican efforts to pursue health care and tax reform, among other priorities. Last week, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed a Special Counsel, retired FBI Director Robert Mueller, to supervise the Justice Department investigation into any potential ties between the Trump 2016 presidential campaign and Russia. The House and Senate Intelligence Committees have already been investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Press reports indicate that former Director Comey has accepted an invitation to testify in an open hearing before the House Intelligence Committee after the Memorial Day recess. The Senate Committee and House Oversight and Government Reform Committees have been reviewing General Flynn’s conduct and possible connections with Russia. Both committees are now expanding their inquiries to include any relation of the Flynn investigation to the surprise firing of Director Comey. Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who is resigning from the House at the end of June, has also invited former Director Comey to testify before the full committee at a hearing on Wednesday morning regarding “FBI Independence.” So far Comey has not publicly responded to this invitation from Chairman Chaffetz.

While these congressional investigations and public scrutiny continue, the President departed Washington, DC, last Friday to begin his first official trip overseas to the Middle East and Europe.

During his absence this week, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will be rolling out the Administration’s first full budget blueprint, for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. The release of President Trump’s budget comes at a much later date than the typical timeline, and the delay, in conjunction with the failure of either chamber to pass a budget resolution, has put the appropriations process well behind schedule. It is largely conceded to be a foregone conclusion that Congress will wind up missing to have any appropriations bills in place by the start of the new fiscal year on October 1. Thus, a continuing resolution is very likely, come the end of the fiscal year. OMB Director Mick Mulvaney will testify before both the House and Senate Budget Committees this week about the President’s FY 2018 budget request, which is expected to include steep expected cuts to domestic spending and increases for military activities. Many of the expected cuts have already drawn Republican opposition, leading many observers to believe the President’s Budget is “dead on arrival.” In addition to Director Mulvaney, other members of the Administration are scheduled to appear before the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees throughout the week to discuss their agency budgets in greater detail. Among the cabinet secretaries and agency heads expected on Capitol Hill this week are Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Food and Drug Administrator Scott Gottlieb, and Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin.

Also of note, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) announced last week that it will release a cost estimate for the House-passed version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) on Wednesday. A cost estimate for the revised version of the bill was not available when the House narrowly passed the measure by a vote of 217-213 on May 4. The House-passed bill was never going to get consideration as passed in the Senate, even using the reconciliation process that allows the majority to avoid a filibuster. The CBO score comes as the Senate majority is developing its own legislation to repeal and replace portions of Affordable Care Act (ACA) through a 13-member Special Working Group established by the GOP leadership. Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), a physician, and Susan Collins (R-ME) are also reported working on a bill, this time seeking to attract bipartisan support. The CBO score expected on the House bill this week will assist the Senate Parliamentarian in deciding which portions of the revised AHCA may eventually be considered through a budget reconciliation process if Republicans choose to proceed in that manner, but it will also drive the substantive debate in the Senate.

The full Senate is scheduled to return to legislative business on Monday, when the chamber will resume consideration of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s nomination to be U.S. Ambassador to China. A confirmation vote is expected on Monday evening. Cloture has also been filed on the nomination of John Sullivan to serve as Deputy Secretary of State. The Senate is expected to vote on the motion on Tuesday morning, setting up a final confirmation vote later in the week. Leader McConnell has not announced the floor schedule beyond these two nominations, although the Senate is expected to continue working through other nominations awaiting consideration on the Executive Calendar.

The House is also scheduled to return on Monday and will spend the majority of the week on legislation related to “Combating Trafficking and Child Protection Week.” Members will consider six such bills under the suspension of the rules on Monday, including H.R. 1188, the Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act of 2017, legislation initially enacted in 2006 to address child sex offenses.

On Tuesday the House will take up 12 additional bills under suspension of the rules, including seven measures reported out of the Veterans Affairs Committee.

The Wednesday floor schedule includes consideration of two bills from the Oversight and Government Reform Committee under suspension of the rules before members take up H.R. 953, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2017, under a rule. The legislation would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and individual states authorized to issue permits under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) from requiring a permit for some discharges of pesticides. Public and private entities would no longer need to obtain an NPDES permit for certain discharges of pesticides if their use is authorized under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, or in cases where the discharge is regulated as either a stormwater, municipal, or industrial discharge under the Clean Water Act.

On Thursday the House will return to child protection legislation with the consideration of two bills. Members will first take up H.R. 1973, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act of 2017. This legislation aims to prevent the sexual abuse of minors and amateur athletes by requiring the prompt reporting of sexual abuse to law enforcement authorities. Consideration of H.R. 1973 will be subject to a rule.

The second measure, H.R. 1761, the Protecting Children Against Child Exploitation Act of 2017, is aimed at closing a gap in current law and ensuring justice for criminals that participate in the production of images of child sexual abuse. The bill was unanimously reported by the House Judiciary Committee. Consideration of H.R. 1761 will be subject to a rule.

No votes are expected in the House on Friday.

In addition to the committee hearings related to the FY 2018 appropriations cycle discussed previously, the House and Senate Armed Services Committees will be holding hearings this week on the outlook for Department of Defense programs, funding, and readiness levels for FY 2018. On Tuesday the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Cybersecurity will be hosting a hearing on the cyber posture of the armed services where Cyber Command officials from the Marines, Air Force, Army, and Navy are set to provide testimony. Also on Tuesday the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities will hear testimony from Admiral Mike Rogers, Commander of U.S. Cyber Command, on the resources needed in FY 2018 to support Department of Defense cybersecurity operations. Additionally, both of the Seapower Subcommittees are hosting events related to Navy readiness and the 355 Ship Force Structure. Frank Klotz, the Under Secretary For Nuclear Security at the Department Of Energy, is among a panel of witnesses who will be providing testimony this week before the House and Senate Armed Services Subcommittees on Strategic Forces regarding FY 2018 priorities for nuclear defense activities.

The House Ways and Means Committee is set to host its second in a series of hearings on tax reform on Tuesday morning. This event will focus on focus on “border adjustment and international tax modernization as a core element of comprehensive tax reform and the implications of these policies for increasing jobs, investment, and economic growth in the United States.” The border adjustment tax (BAT) remains a controversial component of House leadership’s plans for comprehensive tax reform. Even though it is supported by House Speaker Paul Ryan and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), a number of key Republicans have expressed concerns, including Senate Majority Leader McConnell, who has stated publicly “It probably wouldn’t pass the Senate.” Administration officials have been careful thus far not to oppose the BAT explicitly, though their comments have generally revealed skepticism towards it.

There are three events on the calendar this week related to border security. The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security will hold a hearing on Tuesday afternoon regarding visa overstays and the threat they pose to homeland security. The event comes as press reports indicate the full Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) is working on immigration enforcement legislation with Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration. The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest is also scheduled to meet on Tuesday afternoon to hear testimony on the progress being made on securing the nation’s southern border with Mexico. The full Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will meet on Wednesday regarding transnational criminal organizations, such as the MS-13 crime cartel, and the threats they pose to homeland security.

Senate committees continue to review the qualifications of individuals nominate to various posts within the Trump Administration. This Tuesday, the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee will vote on the nominations of three individuals to positions within the Treasury Department and one nominee to the Commerce Department. On Wednesday, the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship will mark up the nomination of Rear Admiral Althea Coetzee to serve as Deputy Administrator of the Small Business Administration. The Judiciary Committee will meet on Wednesday to hear testimony from three nominees: Vishal Amin to serve as Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, Stephen Boyd to be Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs at the Justice Department, and Lee Francis Cissna to serve as Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security.

The Senate Agriculture Committee will meet on Thursday to hear discuss the farm economy and hear perspectives on rural America.

The authors would like to note here briefly that this will be our last weekly column on the congressional schedule. Going forward, we plan to write a monthly column that will be less factual and more speculative and thematic in addressing what Congress is expected to tackle over the coming month. We hope readers have found these weekly columns useful, but the information in them is widely available and accessible through other sources. We will aim to make the new monthly columns useful as well, though for different purposes.

The full details for this week’s hearings and other committee events this week are, as usual, detailed below:

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

House Committees

The Need for More Responsible Regulatory and Enforcement Policies at the EEOC
House Education and the Workforce – Subcommittee on Workforce Protections
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2175 RHOB

U.S. Public Health Response to the Zika Virus: Continuing Challenges
House Energy and Commerce – Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2123 RHOB

Disrupter Series : Delivering to Consumers
House Energy and Commerce – Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade
Subcommittee Hearing
10:15 a.m., 2322 RHOB

Pending Legislation
House Natural Resources – Subcommittee on Federal Lands
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 1324 LHOB

Increasing U.S. Competitiveness and Preventing American Jobs from Moving Overseas
House Ways and Means
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., 1100 LHOB

Expanding the Role of States in EPA Rulemaking
House Science, Space and Technology – Subcommittee on Environment
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2318 RHOB

Russia Investigation
House Select Intelligence
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., HVC-210

Accomplishments and Challenges at the SBA Office of International Trade
House Small Business
Full Committee Hearing
11 a.m., 2360 RHOB

IRS Oversight
House Appropriations – Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government
Subcommittee Hearing
3 p.m., 2358-C RHOB

Navy Readiness Challenges, Emerging Threats, and the Requirements Underpinning the 355 Ship Force Structure Objective
House Armed Services – Subcommittee on Seapower
Subcommittee Hearing
2:30 p.m., SVC-217

FY2018 Budget Request for U.S. Cyber Command: Cyber Mission Force Support to Department of Defense Operations
House Armed Services – Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities
Subcommittee Hearing
3:30 p.m., 2118 RHOB

Visa Overstays: A Gap in the Nation’s Border Security
House Homeland Security – Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security
Subcommittee Hearing
2 p.m., HVC-210

The Status and Future of the Cobell Land Consolidation Program
House Natural Resources – Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs
Subcommittee Hearing
2 p.m., 1324 LHOB

Senate Committees

Worldwide Threats
Senate Armed Services
Full Committee Hearing
9:30 a.m., SDG-50

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

Pending Business
Senate Foreign Relations
Full Committee Markup
2:15 p.m., S-116

Cyber Posture of the Services
Senate Armed Services – Subcommittee on Cybersecurity
Subcommittee Hearing
2:30 p.m., SR-222

Navy Readiness
Senate Armed Services – Subcommittee on Seapower
Subcommittee Briefing (CLOSED)
2:30 p.m., SVC-217

U.S. Assistance for Central America
Senate Appropriations – Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs
Subcommittee Hearing
2:30 p.m., SD-124

Reopening the American Frontier: Exploring How the Outer Space Treaty Will Impact American Commerce and Settlement in Space
Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation – Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness
Subcommittee Hearing
2:30 p.m., SR-253

Ozone Standards Legislation
Senate Environment and Public Works – Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety
Subcommittee Hearing
2:30 p.m., SD-406

Building America’s Trust Through Border Security: Progress on the Southern Border
Senate Judiciary – Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest
Subcommittee Hearing
2:30 p.m., SD-226

Intelligence Matters
Senate Select Intelligence
Full Committee Briefing (CLOSED)
2:15 p.m., SH-219

Joint Committees

Protecting Americans’ Identities: Examining Efforts to Limit the Use of Social Security Numbers
House Oversight and Government Reform – Subcommittee on Information Technology; House Ways and Means – Subcommittee on Social Security
Committee Hearing
2 p.m., 1100 LHOB

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

House Committees

Oversight of the Architect of the Capitol’s Office of Inspector General
House Administration
Full Committee Hearing
11 a.m., 1310 LHOB

Budget Hearing – USDA Office of the Secretary
House Appropriations – Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2362-A RHOB

National Guard and Reserve
House Appropriations – Subcommittee on Defense
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., H-140

General Services Administration
House Appropriations – Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., H-310

Corps of Engineers (Civil Works) and the Bureau of Reclamation FY2018 Budget Request
House Appropriations
Full Committee Hearing
10:30 a.m., 2362-B RHOB

Dept. of Education Budget
House Appropriations – Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
Subcommittee Hearing
11 a.m., 2358-C RHOB

The President’s FY2018 Budget
House Budget
Full Committee Hearing
9:30 a.m., 1334 LHOB

Empowering Students and Families to Make Informed Decisions on Higher Education
House Education and the Workforce – Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development
Subcommittee Hearing
10:30 a.m., 2175 RHOB

Examining Impacts of Federal Natural Resources Laws Gone Astray
House Natural Resources – Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations
Subcommittee Hearing
9 a.m., 1324 LHOB

Oversight of the FBI’s Independence
House Oversight and Government Reform
Full Committee Hearing
9:30 a.m., 2154 RHOB

Examining the Overhead Cost of Research
House Science, Space and Technology – Subcommittee on Research and Technology
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2318 RHOB

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Budget Request for FY2018
House Veterans’ Affairs
Full Committee Hearing
10:30 a.m., 334 CHOB

Indian Health Service Budget
House Appropriations – Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
Subcommittee Hearing
1 p.m., 2007 RHOB

Department of Justice Budget
House Appropriations – Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
Subcommittee Hearing
1:30 p.m., 2359 RHOB

High Risk American Indian and Alaska Native Programs
House Appropriations – Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
Subcommittee Hearing
2 p.m., 2007 RHOB

The DHS FY18 Budget Request
House Appropriations – Subcommittee on Homeland Security
Subcommittee Hearing
3 p.m., 2358-A RHOB

Department of the Navy FY2018 Budget Request for Seapower and Projection Forces
House Armed Services – Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces
Subcommittee Hearing
2 p.m., 2212 RHOB

Ground Force Modernization Budget Request
House Armed Services – Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces
Subcommittee Hearing
3:30 p.m., 2118 RHOB

Pending Legislation: Venezuela Crisis/Nicaragua Investment Conditionality
House Foreign Affairs – Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere
Subcommittee Markup
1 p.m.

Nuclear Deal Fallout: The Global Threat of Iran
House Foreign Affairs – Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade
Subcommittee Hearing
2 p.m., 2172 RHOB

Community Reclamation Partnerships Act
House Natural Resources – Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources
Subcommittee Hearing
2 p.m., 1324 LHOB

Examining ‘Sue and Settle’ Agreements: Part I
House Oversight and Government Reform – Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Affairs
Subcommittee Hearing
2 p.m., 2154 RHOB

VA Financial Management
House Veterans’ Affairs – Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
Subcommittee Hearing
2 p.m., 334 CHOB

FY18 Treasury Budget
House Ways and Means
Full Committee Hearing
2 p.m., 1100 LHOB

Senate Committees

Achieving a 355 Ship Navy
Senate Armed Services – Subcommittee on Seapower
Subcommittee Hearing
9:30 a.m., SR-232A

Navy/Marine Corps Budget
Senate Appropriations – Subcommittee on Defense
Subcommittee Hearing
10:30 a.m., SD-192

Border Insecurity: The Rise of MS-13 and Other Transnational Criminal Organizations
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., SD-342

Pending Nominations
Senate Judiciary
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., SD-226

Department of Energy Atomic Energy Defense Activities and Programs
Senate Armed Services – Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
Subcommittee Hearing
2:30 p.m., SD-G50

Pool Safety: The Tenth Anniversary of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act
Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation – Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance and Data Security
Subcommittee Hearing
2:30 p.m., SR-253

Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Across Borders: Facilitating Cooperation and Protecting Rights
Senate Judiciary – Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism
Subcommittee Hearing
2:30 p.m., SD-226

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

SBA Deputy Administrator Nomination
Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Full Committee Markup
TBA

Thursday, May 25, 2017

House Committees

U.S. Forest Service Budget
House Appropriations – Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
Subcommittee Hearing
9:30 a.m., 2007 RHOB

FY18 FDA Budget
House Appropriations – Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2362-A RHOB

Department of Commerce Budget
House Appropriations – Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
Subcommittee Hearing
10:30 a.m., H-309

Department of the Air Force FY2018 Budget Request for Seapower and Projection Forces
House Armed Services – Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces
Subcommittee Hearing
8 a.m., 2212 RHOB

FY2018 Priorities for Nuclear Forces and Atomic Energy Defense Activities
House Armed Services – Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
Subcommittee Hearing
9 a.m., 2118 RHOB

Pending Legislation
House Foreign Affairs
Full Committee Markup
9:30 a.m., 2172 RHOB

Improper Payments in the Federal Government: Student Aid
House Oversight and Government Reform – Subcommittee on Government Operations
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., 2154 RHOB

Vietnam: Why Religious Freedom and Human Rights Are Critical to U.S. National Interests
House Foreign Affairs – Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations
Subcommittee Hearing
12:30 p.m., 2172 RHOB

Senate Committees

Examining the Farm Economy: Perspectives on Rural America
Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., SR-328A

Department of Justice Budget
Senate Appropriations – Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, and Related Agencies
Subcommittee Hearing
10 a.m., SD-192

FY18 Homeland Security Budget
Senate Appropriations – Subcommittee on Homeland Security
Subcommittee Hearing
10:30 a.m., SD-138

Posture of the Department of the Army
Senate Armed Services
Full Committee Hearing
9:30 a.m., SD-G50

The President’s FY18 Budget Proposal
Senate Budget
Full Committee Hearing
9:45 a.m., SD-608

Pending Nominations
Senate Energy and Natural Resources
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., SD-366

FY2018 Budget Proposals for the Department of Treasury and Tax Reform
Senate Finance
Full Committee Hearing
10 a.m., SD-215

Stopping the Shipment of Synthetic Opioids: Oversight of U.S. Strategy to Combat Illicit Drugs
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Full Committee Hearing
9:30 a.m., SD-342

Assessing the United Nations Human Rights Council
Senate Foreign Relations – Subcommittee on Multilateral International Development, Multilateral Institutions and International Economic, Energy and Environmental Policy
Subcommittee Hearing
2 p.m., SD-419

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