The Week Ahead on Capitol Hill – September 19, 2016

Monday, September 19, 2016 – 9:30 a.m.

Here is a brief synopsis of what we expect on Capitol Hill this week. Much more information will be forthcoming in this week’s Eno Transportation Weekly on Wednesday afternoon.

CR. Negotiations on a continuing appropriations resolution (CR) to fund much of the government after midnight on September 30 continued over the weekend but made no progress on the key issues of disagreement. Foremost among those is the dispute over whether or not the emergency funding in the legislation to combat the Zika virus will be accessible to the Puerto Rico affiliate of Planned Parenthood.

The Senate is scheduled to vote at 5:30 p.m. today on a procedural motion to bring up an unrelated appropriations bill (H.R. 5325) that is supposed to serve as the vehicle for the CR, under the scenario where the Senate acts first on the measure. If negotiations on a CR cannot close a deal by that time, Majority Leader McConnell may seek to have the vote postponed yet again (it was originally supposed to occur mid-day last Thursday).

WRDA. The House Majority Leader’s office did not post the list of bills to be considered by the House this week until just after 6:00 p.m. last Friday. And the list did not include the House’s version of the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (H.R. 5303). It had been hoped that a modified version of the bill would be on the House floor under suspension of the rules tomorrow, but apparently the negotiations with other House committees and party leaders hit a few snags late last week.

The leaders of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee still want to take the bill to the floor under the expedited “suspension” procedure, which prohibits amendments from the floor and waives all budget points of order but requires a two-thirds vote for passage. Under House rules, suspensions are only in order on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and it does not appear that the WRDA bill will be ready by Wednesday. So keep an eye on the House Rules Committee, which is supposed to meet tomorrow at 5 p.m. on unrelated legislation. If the special rule they produce for the consideration of this other legislation includes a proviso that allows motions to suspend the rules on Thursday and Friday of this week, this means that House leaders want to consider the WRDA bill under suspension on one of those days, which means that the text of the modified bill should be posted on on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Also, for those of you who don’t follow @EnoTranspoWkly on Twitter and missed it when we tweeted it early Friday morning, the text of the Senate’s WRDA bill (S. 2808) as amended and passed by that body is online here.

Other House Bills. The list of bills that the House will consider under suspension on Tuesday and Wednesday does include a number of transportation-related items.

  • H.R. 6007, to require the FAA to include the impact on launch and reentry for commercial space vehicles in their airspace plans for the area near licensed spaceports.
  • H.R. 5977, to require USDOT to give Congressional transportation authorizing committees the same advance notice of discretionary grant announcements that the Appropriations Committees get.
  • H.R. 5944, giving an unnamed airport in Michigan a waiver to renew a lease without violating its AIP agreement.
  • H.R. 5957, to include disabled veteran leave in the FAA personnel management system.
  • H.R. 6014, to allow the FAA to enter into reimbursable agreements with state or local agencies to carry out projects listed in 14 CFR 77.9 without an aeronautical study if cost-effective and deemed safe.
  • H.R. 5943, allowing flexibility in the usage and the duration of mass transit security grants from FEMA.

Hearings. There are two transportation-related committee meetings scheduled by Congressional committees this week – click here for details.

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