Capitol to Capitol | July 23, 2018

The House: See You in September

DYK?

On July 27, 1995, the presidents of the United States and the Republic of Korea dedicated the Korean War Veterans Memorial, located on the National Mall, on the 42nd anniversary of the war's end. The memorial consists of an open triangle filled with 19 stainless-steel figures representing the 4 U.S. military branches who look as if they are on patrol. Surrounding the soldiers is a wall filled with etchings made from war-related photographs. Another wall lists 22 members of the United Nations that contributed troops or medical support to the Korean War effort.

The House has an ambitious agenda in its final week in session before they depart for summer recess. While many lawmakers are already in campaign mode as they head toward the midterm elections, it is important not to forget that whatever work they leave unfinished will be waiting for them when they return in September.

Flood Insurance

On Tuesday, the House looks to pass an extension to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to Nov. 30, just days before a July 31 deadline that would cause parts of the program to lapse. This extension would provide lawmakers additional time to resolve differences in their proposals. The House passed a five-year reauthorization bill this past November that members of both chambers said has no chance of passage in the Senate. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the program was in debt by roughly $30 billion as of last fall due to the large number of hurricanes and flooding in recent years.

Health Care

Three health care bills are expected to come to the House floor before the end of the week—the Protect Medical Innovation Act, the Increasing Access to Lower Premium Plans Act and the Restoring Access to Medication Act. The first measure aims to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s medical device tax, while the other two contain 11 bills dealing with tax issues including the Affordable Care Act’s Cadillac tax on expensive employer-provided insurance and expanding tax-advantaged health savings accounts.

Transportation Bill

House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Schuster (R-Pa.) said he plans to introduce a new infrastructure proposal this week. While few details have been released, Schuster has been telling reporters and groups since last month that he wants to unveil a broad, bipartisan infrastructure package. The congressman has acknowledged that enacting a major bill in the second half of an election year would be tough, but believes this will start “a serious discussion” that will be broad, and lay out policy changes and ways to raise revenue.

NDAA

Although it is not yet on the schedule, House GOP leadership confirmed that it is possible the House could vote to go to conference with the Senate on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2019. House and Senate leaders negotiating the fiscal compromise are expected to release their conference report later today, which is expected to be signed by the members, setting up a House vote later this week and sending it to the Senate for final approval. The final bill will include compromises reached that water down proposed bans on Chinese telecom company ZTE Corporation for violating Iran and North Korea sanctions. The bill will now only block government agencies or contractors from using ZTE technology, but would allow ZTE to continue business as usual with U.S. companies.

Farm Bill

The House named its 47 conferees last week and is waiting for the Senate to name seven. The full conference is not expected to meet before the recess, but Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas), said they hoped to meet with the ranking Democrats on their committees this week to begin discussing the major issues they face, including the House demands for food stamp reform.

T-Minus: 70 days until Congress must pass all 12 appropriations bills before government funding runs out on Sept. 30.

Congress to Hold Hearing on South Dakota v. Wayfair

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing for July 24, entitled “Examining the Wayfair Decision and its Ramifications for Consumers and Small Businesses.” The hearing, called by House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), comes a month after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in South Dakota v. Wayfair in favor of state sovereignty, that states can require businesses without a physical presence in the state to collect and remit sales taxes on in-state transactions. Goodlatte has long opposed federal remote sales tax collection legislation that would allow states to collect the taxes that are owed by delaying hearings on the issue for almost five years; until now.

NCSL Past President, Senator Curt Bramble (Utah) will testify before the committee on behalf of NCSL to urge the committee to continue its track record regarding sales tax and do nothing. More information about the hearing and a link to video that will be live-streamed tomorrow at 10 a.m. ET can be viewed here.

NCSL Contacts: Max Behlke, Jake Lestock

The Other Side of the Hill

DYK?

On July 23, 1904, according to some accounts, Charles E. Menches conceived the idea of filling a pastry cone with two scoops of ice cream and thereby invented the ice cream cone. However, he is one of several claimants to that honor. Interestingly, these individuals have in common the fact that they all made or sold confections at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, known as the St. Louis World’s Fair. It is from the time of the Fair that the edible “cornucopia,” a cone made from a rolled waffle, vaulted into popularity in the United States.”

While the House is leaving D.C. at the end of the week, the Senate is expected to stay in town until Aug. 6. They’ll then go home for a week, before returning to Washington for the remainder of August. This week they’ll be focusing on several pressing issues including Russia, appropriations and confirmations.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to testify this week about what President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed at the Helsinki summit. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has also asked the Foreign Relations Committee and the Banking Committee to arrange new hearings to discuss potential legislation as part of a “national response” to Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The Senate will also take up another funding minibus today that includes four of the 12 spending bills. The Senate will combine its debate on H.R. 6147, a House-passed spending package that includes the fiscal 2019 Financial Services and Interior-Environment titles, along with two more bills: Transportation-HUD funding (S. 3023) and Agriculture-FDA (S. 2976) in what will be it’s most ambitious attempt to date to clear all 12 funding bills by September.

The Senate will also proceed to executive session to take up Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. After months of tumult and three different nominations, Robert Wilkie is expected to be confirmed after he sailed through the committee confirmation hearings and received a near-unanimous committee vote earlier in July. Meanwhile, Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh, will continue to meet with members of the Senate after he submitted a 110-page questionnaire along with more than 2,000 pages of material to the Senate Judiciary Committee last Friday. This brings Kavanaugh one step close to a confirmation hearing being scheduled as Senate Republicans hope to have him confirmed and seated on the court by the time the Supreme Court term begins in October.

NCSL Summit Policies Up for Review

NCSL's Washington staff lobby Congress, the White House and federal agencies on behalf of state legislatures in accord with the policy directives and resolutions recommended by the Standing Committees and adopted at the NCSL Legislative Summit. Because of the policy decisions of the Standing Committees, NCSL is nationally recognized as a formidable lobbying force in state-federal relations.

Below is a link to the policy directives and resolutions the NCSL Standing Committees expect to consider during their meetings on Monday, July 30 and Tuesday, July 31, during the 2018 Legislative Summit in Los Angeles. Final votes on all policy directives and resolutions reported from the Standing Committees will take place at the Setting the States' Agenda Business Meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 1 from 8-9:45 a.m.

For more information, contact Neal Osten or Molly Ramsdell at (202) 624-5400 or dc-directors@ncsl.org.

On This Day, July 23, in …

DYK?

Movie “trailers” got their name because they were originally shown after the main attraction. It wasn’t until the late 1930s that theaters began showing trailers before the feature film.

  • 2000, Tiger Woods, at 24, became the youngest player to win the career Grand Slam with record-breaking play in the British Open.
  • 1998, U.S. scientists at the University of Hawaii turned out more than 50 "carbon-copy" micewith a cloning technique.
  • 1990, President George H.W. Bush nominated Judge David Souter of New Hampshire to succeed retiring Justice William Brennan on the Supreme Court.
  • 1962, the "Telstar" communications satellite sent the first live TV broadcast to Europe. The first public broadcast featured CBS's Walter Cronkite and NBC's Chet Huntley in New York, and the BBC's Richard Dimbleby in Brussels.
  • 1958Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear powered submarine, departed from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, under orders to conduct "Operation Sunshine.”

Read the July 16, 2018 Capitol-to-Capitol.

Note: Capitol-to-Capitol will not be issued the week of July 30 due to NCSL’s Legislative Summit

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We are always looking for interesting trivia about states, legislatures and American history. If you have some great facts, don't keep them to yourself.  Let us know by clicking this link. We will likely include them in a future edition of Capitol to Capitol!

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NCSL's Advocacy in Washington

NCSL's Washington staff advocate Congress, the White House, and federal agencies on behalf of state legislatures in accord with the policy directives and resolutions that are recommended by the NCSL Standing Committees and adopted by the full conference at the annual NCSL Legislative Summit Business Meeting. As a result of the advocacy that is guided by these policies positions, NCSL is recognized as a formidable lobbying force in state-federal relations.

NCSL Staff in Washington, D.C.

  • Molly Ramsdell | 202-624-3584 | Director
  • Jake Lestock | 202-624-8171 | Budgets and Revenue
  • Danielle Dean | 202-624-8698 | Communications, Financial Services
  • Susan Frederick | 202-624-3566 | Law, Criminal Justice, and Public Safety
  • Abbie Gruwell 202-624-3569 | Human Services
  • Ben Husch | 202-624-7779 | Natural Resources and Infrastructure 
  • Jon Jukuri  | 202-624-8663 | Labor, Economic Development and International Trade
  • Haley Nicholson | 202-624-8662 | Health
  • Joan Wodiska | 202-624-3558 | Education