Bloomberg Government today issued the spring edition of Hill Watch, its semi-annual, in-depth look at the Capitol Hill agenda. Hill Watch delivers analysis of and the outlook for legislative initiatives in both chambers of Congress with coverage of legislation on a full range of issues including budget and appropriations, defense, education, veterans’ affairs, and transportation.
“Hill Watch represents the combined efforts of dozens of Capitol Hill’s most talented editors and reporters who give readers a bird’s-eye view of what to anticipate in the coming months on the major issues shaping the 116th Congress,” said Heather Rothman, news director, Bloomberg Government. “While both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnelland Speaker Nancy Pelosi have their own legislative agendas, both leaders want to avoid another government shutdown when current funding runs out September 30.”
These are among the issues that will be front and center on Capitol Hill in the months ahead:
Government Spending: House Democrats scrapped plans to vote on a spending cap bill this month because of disputes over how military and domestic discretionary spending would be handled. Their goal is to have funding bills ready for markup in May with passage by June 30 to avoid a government shutdown. Senator Richard Shelby, who heads the Appropriations Committee, plans to again “bundle” a few bills at a time to expedite their passage.
Health Care: House Democrats plan to soon bring to the floor legislation intended to shore up the Affordable Care Act and protect people with preexisting conditions. Leader McConnell indicated that the Senate won’t consider any ACA legislation until after the next election. Speaker Pelosi suggested that President Trump may be more open to the bills the House is moving this summer to deal with prescription drug prices, an issue that has support from Senate Republicans.
Infrastructure: The outcome of the budget talks also will have implications for infrastructure legislation. House Democratic leadership is proposing a $2 trillion infusion for infrastructure programs, which she’s defining broadly, to include roads, bridges, water projects, and broadband. Senate Republican leadership wants to see a viable way to pay for an investment of that size and said is opposed to deficit spending to boost infrastructure.
Defense Authorization: The budget impasse also is driving the details of the annual National Defense Authorization Act. The Senate Armed Services Committee has announced plans to mark up a $750 billion bill in May while the House Armed Services Committee plans to move a $733 billion version in June. The timetable for both versions would put them in position for floor votes before the July 4 recess.
Taxes: The House recently passed an overhaul of some Internal Revenue Service operations. It was negotiated between Republican and Democratic leaders in both chambers and could soon move in the Senate. House Democrats plan a floor vote on a bipartisan committee-approved bill that would improve access to retirement savings accounts. The Senate Finance Committee is working on similar legislation.
A copy of Hill Watch is available for complimentary download at https://about.bgov.com/reports/spring2019hillwatch/.
On Tuesday, May 7, Bloomberg Government will host its Spring Hill Watch Breakfast. This year’s event includes moderated discussions on the future of health care and environmental policy. Featured speakers include Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Representative Scott Peters (D-CA). For more information and to register, visit https://about.bgov.com/event/hillwatch19breakfast/.