Washington Weekly
Jun. 23, 2014

Last Week

The House spent the week debating appropriations for the Department of Defense. Debating over two days, with nearly 20 amendments in total, the bill provides $491 billion in discretionary funding, an increase of $4.1 billion above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $200 million above the President’s request. In addition, the bill includes $79.4 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) for the ongoing war efforts abroad, the same level assumed in the President’s budget request and in the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act. The Senate spent the week confirming judicial nominations and preparing to take up a three-part appropriations bill, combining a number of bills into one. While the bill passed its first hurdle, reports are that further movement is stalled.

In addition, the House elected new Republican leadership. California Rep. Kevin McCarthy is the new House Majority Leader, and in a surprise vote, Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise won on the first ballot for Majority Whip, ensuring conservatives a seat at the leadership table.More

This Week

The House will take up a reauthorization of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, which oversees trading of contracts on energy and metals commodities, such as crude oil, heating oil, gasoline, copper, gold, and silver, and contracts on financial products, such as interest rates, stock indexes, and foreign currency. The House will also take up legislation that would expand offshore drilling in Alaska. The House and Senate are expected to hammer out differences in VA reform legislation in hopes of getting it to the president’s desk soon. In addition, the Senate will work on more nominations.More

Item of Interest

It's that time of year; the Supreme Court will be announcing a series of rulings in the coming days, many of which can have a significant impact on businesses. Just this morning, it upheld the administration’s regulations of greenhouse gases. You can see a one-pager on the current docket and how it might impact business by clicking here. Live orders can be found here as they're announced.More

Congress enters Fourth of July homestretch
National Journal
Lawmakers head toward their Independence Day recess at week's end still in search of a solution to a looming highway funding crisis, dealing with growing tension over government spending bills due on Oct. 1 and debate over how this nation should address developments in Iraq. More

Supreme Court nibbles at EPA's greenhouse gas powers
The Supreme Court partially upheld and partially rejected a set of early EPA greenhouse gas regulations for industrial pollution sources on June 23, in a largely symbolic case that as expected left the agency's powers over carbon pollution almost entirely intact.More

5 challenges for McCarthy
The Hill
Now comes the hard part for newly-crowned House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. McCarthy easily won his election to become the House's No. 2 Republican. Leading a divided conference months ahead of more leadership elections will be tougher. Here are five challenges facing McCarthy.More

Reid Parks 'minibus' spending bill in amendment dispute
Roll Call
Well, so much for that idea. The Senate's appropriations process seemed to fall apart on June 19 as the first fiscal 2015 "minibus" found itself with flat tires. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had one of their all-too-familiar floor exchanges that afternoon, during which Reid proposed an agreement to take up the three-bill spending package with an amendment process that would require 60 votes for amendments to be adopted.More