Fox on the HillSeptember 12, 2016 – Newsletters
With just under two months to go in the 2016 presidential election, polling shows the race tightening between Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump. Most national polls show Clinton up by a margin of only 1 to 6 points among likely voters and by 10 points among registered voters. Other national polls show the race tied.
Senate Republicans are considering a continuing resolution to fund the government only through December 9. The measure is expected to include additional funding to combat the Zika virus. House Republicans are already voicing concern that the bill should fund the government through January 2017 to allow the newly elected Congress and President to establish their own priorities. They also expressed concern over establishing a new costly program for Zika, when the administration still has available resources that could be reprogramed for this purpose. Earlier this year, the Senate passed bipartisan legislation establishing a $1.1 billion fund for Zika response and the continuing resolution is expected to meet that level.
Congressional leaders will be meeting with President Obama today to discuss the continuing resolution. The fiscal year’s funding expires September 30.
Conferees for the Energy Bill met last week to discuss ways to bring the House and Senate versions together. One hot topic issue causing great debate is the issue of wildfire management. This week the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee will hold a business meeting on Rep. Bruce Westerman’s (R-AR) Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015, which addresses the issues of wildfire and forest management. Rep. Westerman’s legislation addresses the economic and environmental threats of wildfires by expediting forest management projects. House Republicans are urging Energy Bill conferees to include the legislation as part of the final energy package. The measure passed the House in July.
The House Financial Services Committee will meet this week to markup Chairman Jeb Hensarling’s (R-TX) replacement to portions of Dodd-Frank, the Financial CHOICE Act. The legislation does not appear likely to make it through Congress due to opposition by Democrats. However, it does lay a platform for Trump, should he be elected President. Chairman Hensarling has promoted the bill as an opportunity to end taxpayer-funded bailouts for large financial institutions.
Foreign Affairs and National Security
The House unanimously passed legislation that would allow the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia for damages. The legislation was unanimously approved by the Senate in May. President Obama has threatened a veto due to concerns about the impact such a law would have on U.S.-Saudi relations. Given the bill’s strong public support, Congress may attempt to override any veto.
Both the House and the Senate will be holding hearings this week to address ongoing concerns regarding the Affordable Care Act. The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittees on Health and Oversight and the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health Care will hold hearings addressing the Republican’s view of the failing state of the Affordable Care Act and ways to use innovation and technology to improve health care in our country.