Congressional agenda this week: Avoiding a shutdown, searching for DACA fix

Back after a long holiday weekend, lawmakers must reach an agreement on a budget plan before the Friday deadline when...

Posted: Jan 16, 2018 8:27 AM
Updated: Jan 16, 2018 8:27 AM

Back after a long holiday weekend, lawmakers must reach an agreement on a budget plan before the Friday deadline when government funding runs out, but demands from each side of the aisle are impeding progress on negotiations.

For a spending deal, Republicans want to secure a long-term increase in Pentagon funding, while Democrats feel pressure not to agree to such a plan unless it ensures protections for recipients of the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Two former Trump officials are slated to speak with congressional Russia investigators

The House Administration Committee will unveil its sexual harassment legislation

GOP leaders don't anticipate finalizing any deal in time for the deadline and are instead proposing a stopgap-funding bill as the talks continue to avoid a shutdown on Friday. It's unclear if they have the votes to pass such a bill.

Here's what's on the agenda this week on the Hill:

DACA negotiations

There is still no deal on the DACA program -- which is set to expire in March -- after a bipartisan group of six lawmakers met at the White House last week to present their plan. Republicans considered the proposal a non-starter from the beginning, and President Donald Trump, who had previously said he would sign whatever Congress put on his desk, rejected the plan.

The President's "shithole countries" remark on Thursday, which was in reference to one of his key "four pillars" that must be in any final deal, makes DACA negotiations increasingly difficult. These pillars include protection for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, changing rules to family-based immigration laws -- or "chain migration," a decision on a border security element and reforming the diversity lottery program.

Trump's vulgar comments have led the Congressional Black Caucus to work on a censure resolution that would condemn the President's remarks in the Oval Office last week, according to CBC Chairman Cedric Richmond and the top Democrat on the Judiciary panel, Rep. Jerry Nadler.

While a spokesperson for the White House did not deny the vulgar comment was made, Trump pushed back in a tweet Friday, saying, "The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made - a big setback for DACA!"

And on Sunday night, Trump told reporters "I am not a racist," while appearing in West Palm Beach, Florida, alongside House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican.

Russia

Congress' Russia investigations are marching on as two former Trump officials are expected to appear before the House Intelligence Committee this week despite Republican pressure to wind down their probes.

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is likely to appear before the panel as early as Tuesday, according to sources familiar with the matter. The timing of the interview is not related to comments attributed to him in an explosive new book about the White House -- Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" -- where the author claims Bannon called the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Russian lawyer "treasonous." Members of the House Intelligence Committee have said that these alleged comments would help inform their questioning.

RELATED: Bannon expresses regret over response to bombshell book

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is also expected to appear before the committee this week, according to the sources. He denied any wrongdoing in a radio interview Monday and stressed that he will be testifying voluntarily.

Lewandowski told WABC Radio Host Rita Cosby, "I'm not concerned at all because I have nothing to hide. ... I didn't collude or cooperate or coordinate with any Russian, Russian agency, Russian government or anybody else, to try and impact this election."

Sexual harassment

The House Administration Committee will unveil its sexual harassment legislation this week with the hopes of getting it to a vote in the House this month. The legislation would improve components of the Congressional Accountability Act, a law that established the system critics call outdated that still governs the handling of sexual harassment, discrimination and other workplace-related claims on Capitol Hill.

RELATED: Sexual harassment settlement money back in the spotlight on Capitol Hill

The Senate, which has been working closely with the House on this law, also has a plan in the works.

Earmarks

House Republicans kick off hearings on re-instituting earmarks this week after banning them when they took control of the House in 2011.

Trump suggested last week that earmarks could "get this country really rolling again," but lawmakers are split on whether they reinforce Washington's "swamp" culture or if they are part of Congress' constitutional powers as the branch with the power of the purse.

The House Rules Committee will hold a hearing with lawmakers testifying on both sides of the issue Wednesday and a session with outside experts on Thursday.

Abortion

This week brings tens of thousands of anti-abortion rights activists to Washington for the "March for Life" on the National Mall.

The House is scheduled to vote on legislation called the "Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act," which requires that if a baby is born through a failed abortion procedure, it must receive the same medical care as a child born any other way.

In case you missed it this weekend

Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina stepped down from the House Ethics Committee last week, citing a "challenging workload."

Gowdy, who was named chairman of the House Oversight Committee in June, indicated in his resignation letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan that he knew he would not be able to maintain all his committee assignments after his Chairmanship appointment.

In addition to Ethics, Gowdy will continue to serve on the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees.

Miscellaneous

The House of Representatives voted last week to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, despite the President's tweeted back-and-forth on Section 702. The Senate will resume consideration of the legislation when it is back in session Tuesday afternoon.

RELATED: What is Section 702 of FISA, anyway?

On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will conduct an oversight hearing to examine the Department of Homeland Security; DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will testify.

On Wednesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee will consider the nominations of Michael K. Atkinson to be Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, and Jason Klitenic to be general counsel, both of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307332

Reported Deaths: 7095
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20757248
Hinds19869408
Harrison17475302
Rankin13307275
Jackson13095243
Madison9886210
Lee9854169
Jones8289160
Forrest7522146
Lauderdale7185237
Lowndes6261144
Lamar610284
Lafayette6026117
Washington5279132
Bolivar4769129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4440103
Pearl River4418139
Warren4277118
Marshall4267100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4056132
Union403575
Neshoba3984176
Lincoln3869107
Hancock371985
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322681
Pike3177104
Scott310472
Yazoo304268
Alcorn297664
Itawamba296776
Copiah292965
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284668
Prentiss275659
Marion265679
Wayne261341
Leake260973
Grenada254882
Covington254380
Adams245882
Newton244859
George237647
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213273
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182354
Stone179131
Clarke176676
Tallahatchie175240
Calhoun163130
Yalobusha158636
Smith158534
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126223
Noxubee125833
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite119941
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105332
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95126
Humphreys94332
Franklin81723
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518588

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753351487
Mobile37698798
Madison33829494
Tuscaloosa25245443
Montgomery23942565
Shelby23094238
Baldwin20617300
Lee15510165
Calhoun14277311
Morgan14137268
Etowah13660345
Marshall11952219
Houston10379278
Elmore9988200
Limestone9806147
Cullman9467188
St. Clair9422234
Lauderdale9208227
DeKalb8745181
Talladega8042171
Walker7087275
Jackson6753110
Autauga6715103
Blount6480135
Colbert6200130
Coffee5397112
Dale4766110
Russell428238
Franklin419882
Chilton4080109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3892146
Escambia387574
Dallas3526149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305475
Lawrence295295
Winston272272
Bibb256258
Marengo248561
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218675
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176741
Monroe171240
Washington163838
Macon154348
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99228
Greene90734
Choctaw58624
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