The TRCP’s scouting report on sportsmen’s issues in Congress.
The Senate and House will both be in session this week.
Lawmakers have five days left to avoid a government shutdown. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) scheduled a cloture vote tomorrow afternoon on a short-term continuing resolution (CR), which would keep the government open at current funding levels – except for full 2017 funding levels for military and veterans’ related agencies – through December 9. The spending package includes $1.1 billion to combat the Zika virus and $500 million in funds to help the residents Baton Rouge, Louisiana recover from recent flooding. However, the CR language does not currently include funding for the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) insists that Democrats will not support the bill without money for Flint, Mich. If cloture is invoked tomorrow, a final vote can be expected on Wednesday.
House leadership will consider the short-term CR after the Senate passes it and before the end of the fiscal year at midnight on Friday. We expect the Senate and House to return to their respective states and districts after the final passage of this stopgap spending bill and not return until November 14, after the general election.
The House will debate a water bill on the floor this week, which includes provisions for Everglades restoration. As you may remember from the last Glassing the Hill, the Senate passed its version of the two-year authorization of “The Water Resource Development Act” (WRDA) with a 95-3 vote. The House will consider their own version of a WRDA bill that would authorize funding for, among many other projects, Florida’s Comprehensive Everglades restoration effort, a key TRCP priority. The House WRDA package authorizes $5 billion for water and infrastructure projects, while the Senate version would authorize $10.6 billion, which includes funds for the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
Amendments for WRDA will be considered Monday night during a House Rules Committee meeting. One of the amendments being debated during the meeting is a bipartisan amendment offered by Representatives Reid Ribble (R-Wis.) and Richard Nolan (D-N.M.), which would require funds to be used on natural infrastructure, such as wetlands and riparian buffers. TRCP and our partners continue to advocate for nature-based features that would enhance critical fish and wildlife habitat. Click here for information.
Should the House pass its bill, Senate and House leadership could begin the conference process to negotiate a final package. We expect negotiations to occur during the lame duck session – which will occur between the election on November 8 and the start of the new administration.