capitolbldg.no.cloudsAs you know, today marks the start of the 115th Congress. The Republican-controlled Senate and House will start to work immediately on their ambitious agenda for the Trump Administration’s first 100 days – agenda items include repeal of the ACA, regulatory reform, and filling out of the Administration’s cabinet.

Today – Housekeeping items will come first with today’s House Speaker election, adoption of the House rules and finally, swearing in. The Speaker election was uneventful with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) easily being re-elected. On the minority side, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will continue to serve as minority leader.

In the Senate, Vice President Joe Biden will preside over the swearing-in of newly elected or re-elected Senators. As the Senate is a continuing body, new rules do not need to be adopted. Majority Leader Mitch Connell (R-TN) will remain in his position. As previously reported, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is the new Democratic leader.

This week – Senate and House Committee assignment announcements are anticipated. On the House side assignments for Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, Appropriations and Financial Services Committees will be released first. After swearing in (as early as today), the Senate plans to take up the FY2017 budget in order to set the process in motion to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The House will focus on regulatory reform with the consideration of the REINS Act (Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act), which would require Congressional approval of major regulations, and the Midnight Rules Act, which would allow for certain Obama administration regulations to be repealed in blocks. These bills face almost certain filibuster in the Senate.

Next week – The House plans to consider a revised FY2017 budget resolution with reconciliation instructions, with the goal of packaging committee-specific reconciliation legislation for final passage by the Presidents’ Day recess. The Senate will begin hearings to confirm Trump cabinet nominations. The first scheduled hearing is for Sen. Jeff Sessions’ nomination for Attorney General, followed by Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos. HHS Secretary Nominee, Rep. Tom Price, MD is anticipated to be in the early tranche of hearings as well, given the important role he would play in ACA repeal and replace. His confirmation hearings will start in the Senate HELP Committee (as early as January 10) before going to the Senate Finance Committee.

Key Dates:

  • Inauguration Day – Jan 20
  • House Republican Organizational Retreat Jan 24-27
  • Suspension of Debt Limit Expires, Followed By “Extraordinary Measures,” – March 15, Likely Pushing Issue to Summer 2017

AAMS will keep you updated on new developments in the days ahead . Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions.