Daily Whip
HOUSE MET AT: FIRST VOTE PREDICTED: LAST VOTE PREDICTED:
9:00 a.m.: Legislative Business

Five “One Minutes”
1:00 – 1:30 p.m. 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.
 
H.Res. 670 – Rule providing for consideration of both H.R. 4667 – Making further supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2018, for disaster assistance for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and calendar year 2017 wildfires, and for other purposes (Rep. Frelinghuysen – Appropriations) and Senate Amendment to H.R. 1370 –Making further additional continuing appropriations for Fiscal Year 2018, and other purposes (Rep. Frelinghuysen – Appropriations) (One hour of debate) (One hour of debate).  The Rules Committee has recommended one Rule which would provide for consideration of two measures.

For H.R. 4667, the Rules Committee has recommended a closed Rule that provides for one hour of general debate equally divided and controlled by the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Appropriations.  The Rule allows one motion to recommit, with or without instructions, and waives all points of order against the legislation.  The Rule self-executes two amendments as a last minute attempt to garner Republican support for the bill.

For the Senate Amendment to H.R. 1370 , the Rules Committee has recommended a motion by the Chair of the Appropriations Committee that the House Concur in the Senate Amendment to H.R. 1370 and waives all points of order against this motion, and provides one hour of debate equally divided and controlled by the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Appropriations. 

The Rules Committee rejected several requests to make in order legislation that would permanently protect DREAMers and allow them to remain here and work legally to contribute to strengthening the nation they have called home since birth.  Members are urged to VOTE NO.

H.R. 4667 – Making further supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2018, for disaster assistance for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and calendar year 2017 wildfires, and for other purposes (Rep. Frelinghuysen – Appropriations) (One hour of debate). This measure is an $81 billion disaster aid package.  

In response to 2017 hurricanes and wildfires, this disaster aid package includes: $27.6 billion for FEMA Disaster Relief Fund (DRF); $26.1 billion for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG); $12.1 for the Army Corps of Engineers; $3.8 billion for agricultural recovery; $2.9 billion to assist schools in affected areas to rebuild and refurbish; $1.6 billion for the Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loan program; $1.5 billion to repair military facilities; $1.4 billion for damages to federal highways; and $600 million in economic development grants.

Noticeably absent from this disaster package is funding for Medicaid programs in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which are facing unprecendented demands on their health care systems following the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.  In November, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello requested $11.35 billion over five years to deal with the state’s underfunded Medicaid program that is expected to be further strained by the short- and long-term health implications of the natural disaster. 

In Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, many citizens still lack access to basic services like clean water and electricity.  It has been more than three months since Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the islands, but little has been done to help our fellow Americans recover from these storms.  The bill does not include important local cost-share waivers for Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands. Congress has previously waived local-cost share requirements following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  

In addition, the supplemental does little for the many states, such as New York and Florida, who have welcomed displaced individuals and families from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Previous disaster supplementals have essentially held those states harmless for the costs of welcoming displaced individuals and helping them access health care, education, and housing.  The supplemental only includes funding for the education part of that commitment.

At the last minute, the Rules Committee has also self-executed two amendments to this legislation. The first amendment would designate low-income communities in Puerto Rico as opportunity zones and the second would provide disaster-related tax relief to individuals in major declared disaster areas resulting from wildfires and hurricanes.

Just one day before the government runs out of funding, Republicans are on the verge of shutting down the government with no plan to keep it open.  If the Republican Leadership want to get serious about funding government and providing aid for natural disasters, they should compromise with Democrats and incorporate our priorities into year-end legislation.  Members are urged to VOTE NO.
 
Bill Text for H.R. 4667:
PDF Version
 
House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 1370 – Making further additional continuing appropriations for Fiscal Year 2018, and other purposes (Rep. Frelinghuysen – Appropriations) (One hour of debate).  This measure would kick-the-can-down-the-road on funding government as well as a number of other critical items until January 19, 2018.

House Republicans are bringing another stopgap continuing resolution (CR) to the floor to extend FY17 funding levels further into FY18 for all twelve appropriations bills, and provides short-term extensions for Section 702 of FISA and the National Flood Insurance Program until January 19, 2018.  It also provides $2.1 billion to the VA Choice program, and funds CHIP and some health extenders through March 31, 2018 by cutting $750 million from the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention Fund. While the clock was ticking on the prior two CRs since September, House Republicans have been solely focused on passing tax cuts for the wealthy, rather than solving the many other necessities of governing. As a result, they now have no recourse but to try to kick the can down the road again in order avert a government shutdown.  Further, in order to appease factions within their party, House Republicans are using “anomalies” to allow the Pentagon to spend $5 billion more than the CR would allow, while all other agencies are left without any additional resources, breaking with the principle of parity in this backdoor plus-up for defense. In addition, they have inserted language into this bill that would exempt from  PAYGO the $1.5 trillion deficit cost of H.R. 1 – The GOP Tax Scam - even as they promise to turn their attention to cutting entitlements next year for the sake of deficit reduction

Republicans have also not consulted Democrats on what should be included in year-end legislation in order to get our votes. They should not expect Democrats to vote on a bill that does not include our priorities, including:
  • A bipartisan, long-term reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): CHIP, which provides health coverage to 9 million children, expired nearly three months ago. Republicans have only put forward legislation that cuts other critical health programs, an unacceptable trade-off. States have already begun taking steps to shut down their CHIP programs, and Congress must act before the end of the year to prevent children from losing their health coverage.
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program: According to a report by the Center for American Progress, 122 DREAMers are losing their protection every single day that Congress fails to act.
  • Disaster aid: Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are short-changed in the supplemental proposed by House Republicans; among other glaring omissions, the Republican supplemental fails to include funding for their Medicaid programs, which are facing unprecedented demands following these ruinous hurricanes.
  • An agreement to lift the Budget Control Act (BCA) spending caps: In the three months since a CR was passed in September, Republicans have not worked on a budget agreement that ensures Congress can adequately fund defense and non-defense priorities and adhere to the principle of parity between defense and non-defense spending.
Just two days before the government runs out of funding, Republicans are on the verge of shutting down the government with no plan to keep it open.  If the Republican Leadership does not have the votes to keep the government open in spite of being the majority party, they should compromise with Democrats and incorporate our priorities into year-end legislation.  Members are urged to VOTE NO.

Bill Text for the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 1370:
PDF Version
 
Suspension (1 bill)
  1. S. 1766SAFER Act of 2017  (Sen. Cornyn – Judiciary) 
Postponed Suspensions (2 bills)
  1. S. 1393 – Jobs for Our Heroes Act (Sen. Cornyn – Transportation and Infrastructure)
  2. S. 1532 – No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act (Sen. Thune – Transportation and Infrastructure)
TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK

The House GOP Leadership has not announced the schedule for tomorrow.  Further information regarding the schedule will be announced as soon as it becomes available.  
 
THE DAILY QUOTE
“House Republican leaders are struggling to muster the necessary GOP votes to pass their latest plan to fund the government, raising the prospects of a government shutdown on Friday at midnight. GOP leadership had appeared confident throughout Wednesday that a new strategy to pass a clean continuing resolution (CR) through Jan. 19, along with a separate disaster relief bill, would avoid an intra-party fight over the funding bill.  But the strategy was quickly thrown in doubt as it became clear House GOP leadership did not have the votes to get the bill through the chamber… Meanwhile, the clock is ticking down on government funding.”

    -    The Hill, 12/20/2017