Congressional Climate March 21, 2017

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Video of the Day
President Trump Leads a Bilateral Meeting with Prime Minister al-abaci

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Today’s Hill Action
Senate Floor Schedule
The Senate reconvenes at 10:30 a.m. After one hour of morning business, the Senate is expected to consider the nominations of Charles R. Breyer and Danny C. Reeves to be members of the U.S. Sentencing Commission. The chamber is expected to vote on the nominations, en bloc, at noon.
Nomination – Charles R. Breyer, of California, to be a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
Nomination – Danny C. Reeves, of Kentucky, to be a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
Committee Hearings
9:30 a.m.: Gorsuch Nomination
9:30 a.m.: U.S. Policy/Strategy in Europe
10:00 a.m.: FDA User Fee Agreements
10:00 a.m.: Federal Lands Infrastructure
2:30 p.m.: Fighting Scams
2:30 p.m.: Raising Grandchildren in the Opioid Crisis
2:30 p.m.: Intelligence Matters
House Floor Schedule
The House reconvenes at noon for legislative business and is expected to take final votes on bills considered under suspension of the rules (HR 1353 and HR 1297). The chamber is expected to consider the rule only for a bill (HR 1101) that would authorize the creation of association health plans that would be exempt from most of the minimum health insurance requirements of state laws and to consider a bill (HR 372) that would eliminate the federal antitrust exemption for health insurance providers.
HR 372 – Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act
HR 1353 – Transparency in Technological Acquisitions Act
HR 1297 – Quadrennial Homeland Security Review Technical Corrections Act
H Res 210 – A resolution providing for consideration of the bill (HR 1101) to amend title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to improve access and choice for entrepreneurs with small businesses with respect to medical care for their employees (official title to be confirmed).
Committee Hearings
10:00 a.m.: Domestic Raw Materials for Infrastructure Projects
10:00 a.m.: Farm Bill – Nutrition Distribution Programs
10:00 a.m.: Improving Federal Student Aid
10:00 a.m.: NSF Science Challenges
10:00 a.m.: Broadband Infrastructure
10:00 a.m.: CFPB’s Unconstitutional Design
10:00 a.m.: DOD Efficiency Study Review
10:00 a.m.: America’s Role in the World
10:00 a.m.: Private Immigration Bill Rules of Procedure
10:15 a.m.: Opioid Crisis
1:00 p.m.: DOJ Systemic Management/Fiscal Challenges
2:00 p.m.: Farm Bill – Livestock Producer Perspectives
2:00 p.m.: New Financial Institution Application Process
2:00 p.m.: Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
2:00 p.m.: Pressuring North Korea
2:00 p.m.: VA Employee Official Time Limits
2:30 p.m.: Military Social Media Policies
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Democrats Assail Gorsuch in Partisan Clash Over Supreme Court
Neil Gorsuch promised to be a “neutral and independent” U.S. Supreme Court justice. So far Senate Democrats don’t seem convinced. A marathon day of questioning is set for Tuesday on the second day of his confirmation hearing.

Democrats said they will hold Gorsuch to a higher standard than previous Supreme Court nominees, in part because of last year’s successful Republican blockade of Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s choice for the seat that has been open since February 2016.

“In ordinary circumstances, you should enjoy the benefit of the doubt based on your qualifications, but several things have gone wrong that shift the benefit of the doubt,” Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island, told Gorsuch. Gorsuch left behind a partisan gulf as he finished day one. Republicans hailed the appellate judge as a careful arbiter of the law, while Democrats said he goes out of his way to issue sweeping rulings in favor of powerful institutions.
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U.S. Limits Devices for Passengers on Foreign Airlines From Eight Countries
Passengers on foreign airlines headed to the United States from 10 airports in eight majority-Muslim countries have been barred from carrying electronic devices larger than a cellphone under a new flight restriction enacted on Tuesday by the Trump administration. Officials called the directive an attempt to address gaps in foreign airport security, and said it was not based on any specific or credible threat of an imminent attack.

The Department of Homeland Security said the restricted items included laptop computers, tablets, cameras, travel printers and games bigger than a phone. The restrictions would not apply to aircraft crews, officials said in a briefing to reporters on Monday night that outlined the terms of the ban.

The new policy took effect at 3 a.m. E.D.T. on Tuesday, and must be followed within 96 hours by airlines flying to the United States from airports in Amman, Jordan; Cairo; Istanbul; Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia; Kuwait City; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar; and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. It applies only to flights on foreign carriers, and not American-operated airlines. Officials did not say how long the ban would remain in place or if other airports would be added.
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Grassley, CNN host spar over Trump wiretap claims
CNN host Chris Cuomo and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Tuesday fiercely debated President Trump’s claim former President Barack Obama wiretapped him last year. “You know there’s absolutely no proof of the president’s allegation right?” Cuomo asked the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman on CNN’s “New Day.”

“I know that there’s no proof yet that the administration was talking to the Russians as well,” Grassley responded. Cuomo and Grassley then sparred over links between Trump’s wiretapping allegations and possible collusion between the president’s election campaign and Russia last year.
“But what does one have to do with the other?” Cuomo asked. “One was made by the president, and I’m asking you whether or not he should own the falsity of that accusation?”

“And you’re putting them together and I’m saying you’re wrong for putting them together,” Grassley retorted. Cuomo was pressing Grassley on whether Trump should apologize to Obama following FBI Director James Comey’s House Intelligence Committee testimony Monday.
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Until tomorrow,
Lobbyit.com
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