Congress' agenda: Push for spending deal looms over busy week

Congress has until February 8 to come to terms on a spending deal that includes both Republican-approved border secur...

Posted: Jan 29, 2018 2:29 PM
Updated: Jan 29, 2018 2:29 PM

Congress has until February 8 to come to terms on a spending deal that includes both Republican-approved border security enhancements and a solution for the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that will please Democrats.

Time is of the essence to pass a bill that will fund the government long-term, as lawmakers will be occupied preparing for the President's State of the Union address on Tuesday and a GOP retreat in West Virginia on Wednesday through Friday.

The negotiations follow a White House proposal that would give 1.8 million undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship in exchange for stricter immigration reform and border wall funding.

Democrats have made it clear that the White House's proposal goes too far for them in the way of limiting legal immigration programs like family unification and the visa lottery system, and that any immigration deal must be more limited.

DACA recipients "should not be held hostage to President Trump's crusade to tear families apart," Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, said in a statement last week. Durbin and Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, are their respective party's lead negotiators on the hill on immigration.

Republican leaders have suggested that any path to citizenship for DACA recipients would have to include a massive overhaul of legal immigration programs.

"I think there are a lot of our members who support legal status, but citizenship would entail I think chain migration and a bunch of other things coming into the conversation," said South Dakota Sen. John Thune, a member of GOP leadership, referencing the rules that govern which family members immigrants can sponsor to also come to the US. "If you start talking about a path to citizenship, you'll start losing Republicans unless there's something else on the table."

Russia

The House Intelligence Committee is expected to vote this week to make public a classified memo spearheaded by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes that alleges FBI surveillance law abuses tied to the opposition research dossier on Trump and Russia.

If the committee votes in favor of releasing the four-page memo, and possibly some of the supporting intelligence, it would go to the President, who would have five days either to object to making it public or to allow the release to move forward.

Source: Trump inclined to allow Nunes memo to be released

But Democrats on the committee, who say Nunes' memo is a collection of Republican talking points that skew the intelligence, are preparing their own dueling memo. The committee's top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, says he will make a motion when the committee meets Monday to grant the whole House access to the Democratic memo, too, a step Republicans took for Nunes' memo earlier this month ahead of the potential release.

Sexual harassment

The House of Representatives will consider updated legislation on Monday to protect young victims of sexual abuse, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's office announced Friday. Among the reforms include improvements to mandatory training and increased requirements for reporting abuse.

Additionally, the House Administration Committee is expected to mark up legislation reforming the system for reporting sexual harassment and workplace claims, and a vote on the bipartisan bill is expected next month.

But CNN revealed last week that the legislation, which promises more transparency, actually cuts out the Office of Congressional Ethics, from any role in investigating any claim filed with the Office of Compliance, the office where aides are directed to report any inappropriate activity. It's unclear whether bipartisan members who drafted the bill will change it at the markup.

There is a major push to demonstrate that both parties are serious about reforming a process that has been revealed to protect lawmakers for using taxpayer money to settle claims of harassment.

Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Patrick Meehan paid a former aide with taxpayer funds after she reported inappropriate behavior. He insisted in interviews that the payment was "severance" and that he wished to avoid litigation with the aide because he cared about her future. Meehan announced late last week that he will not run for re-election in 2018.

GOP Retreat

Republican members of the House and Senate head to The Greenbrier in West Virginia this week following the President's State of the Union Address to map out the 2018 GOP legislative agenda.

Closed sessions will focus on policy areas including tax reform, workforce development, government and congressional reform, and infrastructure.

Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump will speak at the retreat on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Other notable speakers include Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.

Military funding

House GOP leaders are also making good on their promise to conservatives and defense hawks to vote on a full year defense appropriations bill -- a bill they agreed to schedule on the floor for a second time in order to get support for the stopgap funding bill the avoid a shutdown. However, it's unlikely the Senate will take up the measure.

Other key Senate hearings

On Tuesday, the Senate Banking Committee will hear from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin for the Financial Stability Oversight Council Annual Report to Congress.

Also on Tuesday, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt will testify in an oversight hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 142311

Reported Deaths: 2472
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin35484995
Ramsey14726372
Dakota10271139
Anoka9344155
Washington636273
Stearns625550
Scott360436
Olmsted340230
St. Louis325874
Wright273116
Clay252944
Nobles234318
Blue Earth21147
Carver18887
Sherburne183122
Kandiyohi18215
Rice170210
Mower154518
Winona133619
Chisago11562
Crow Wing114322
Benton103311
Lyon10306
Beltrami9618
Otter Tail9508
Waseca94510
Todd8967
Polk8364
Morrison8259
Steele8013
Itasca78817
Douglas7744
Nicollet77118
Freeborn7185
Le Sueur6646
Goodhue65111
Martin62618
Becker6214
McLeod6214
Isanti5995
Watonwan5824
Pine5770
Carlton5092
Chippewa4733
Mille Lacs44918
Hubbard4344
Cass4225
Wabasha4141
Dodge4130
Pipestone36617
Meeker3593
Rock3595
Brown3483
Roseau3300
Redwood29912
Yellow Medicine2986
Murray2973
Cottonwood2950
Fillmore2770
Renville27213
Sibley2663
Wadena2643
Faribault2520
Houston2381
Unassigned23853
Kanabec23710
Swift2252
Jackson2211
Pennington2181
Aitkin1982
Stevens1941
Lincoln1930
Koochiching1755
Pope1680
Big Stone1591
Marshall1511
Lac qui Parle1453
Wilkin1454
Clearwater1381
Norman1340
Lake1330
Mahnomen1292
Grant1054
Red Lake822
Traverse590
Kittson530
Lake of the Woods441
Cook190

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 122218

Reported Deaths: 1691
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk19732289
Woodbury743799
Linn6038133
Johnson602431
Black Hawk5974102
Dubuque550658
Scott487343
Story411118
Dallas357347
Pottawattamie337845
Sioux254417
Buena Vista230212
Marshall212236
Webster196015
Plymouth172831
Wapello158962
Clinton156228
Muscatine153958
Des Moines151611
Cerro Gordo150227
Crawford138714
Warren13137
Carroll120413
Jasper119734
Henry11245
Marion106811
Lee101312
Tama100538
Delaware82713
Dickinson7939
Wright7591
Boone7509
Mahaska73824
Bremer7199
Harrison69716
Washington69311
Jackson6853
Benton6482
Lyon5688
Clay5574
Louisa54415
Winnebago52119
Cedar5087
Winneshiek5079
Hardin5017
Jones5004
Kossuth4970
Clayton4923
Buchanan4875
Hamilton4825
Poweshiek47611
Floyd46211
Emmet45321
Iowa4429
Cass4233
Mills4233
Guthrie42015
Page4200
Cherokee4122
Sac4114
Butler4083
Fayette4064
Shelby4022
Allamakee3999
Franklin39518
Madison3743
Chickasaw3731
Hancock3676
Humboldt3593
Clarke3573
Grundy3406
Palo Alto3292
Calhoun3264
Osceola3020
Mitchell2961
Howard2879
Monroe27212
Union2645
Taylor2602
Jefferson2591
Appanoose2503
Monona2492
Pocahontas2442
Fremont2152
Lucas2136
Ida2122
Adair1971
Greene1930
Montgomery1907
Davis1884
Van Buren1882
Keokuk1731
Decatur1620
Audubon1601
Worth1470
Wayne1373
Ringgold992
Adams841
Unassigned60
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