The Senate will be in session all week, while the House will recess on Wednesday to attend the congressional Republicans’ annual retreat in Philadelphia, Penn.
Lawmakers tinker with Obama-era regulations
Before January ends, the House is expected to block some regulations by utilizing the Congressional Review Act, which would allow Congress to debate controversial regulations that were introduced after May 16, 2016. The Stream Protection Rule, which would limit coal mining near waterways, and the Bureau of Land Management’s Methane and Waste Reduction Rule, which would reduce natural gas waste on public lands, could be on the chopping block. The CRA requires a simple majority to halt regulations, which Republicans in the Senate currently have at 52-48.
The Trump administration issued a government-wide freeze on unfinished rules and regulations held over from the waning days of the Obama administration. Freezing regulations is not an uncommon practice for newly elected presidents. In 2009, the Obama administration issued a similar memorandum soon after taking office.
Cabinet appointments begin to get locked in
Following confirmations of the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Homeland Security, the Senate will continue to consider President Trump’s cabinet nominees, starting with the Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
In order for President Trump’s picks to take up cabinet positions, they must be confirmed by the Senate. Respective committees must vote in favor of the nominees before they are considered on the Senate floor, where they must pass with more than 50 votes. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has pledged to slow down the pace of floor consideration of Trump nominees to ensure they get a full debate.
Secretary of Agriculture selected, but not yet confirmed
President Trump’s pick to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture, former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, will continue visiting with Senate Agriculture Committee members and other senators in preparation for the confirmation process and to discuss their expectations. The Senate Agriculture Committee has not scheduled a confirmation hearing as of this writing. We’re optimistic about Mr. Perdue’s potential to engage in conservation efforts in the Farm Bill and on U.S. National Forest Service lands.
What else we’re tracking:
The 115th congressional agendas and committee leader decisions will be discussed and decided on by the House Budget Committee, the House Appropriations Committee, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday, Jan 24.