The Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) voted unanimously to remove Prudential from its list of non-bank systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs). Prudential was the only institution left on the council’s SIFI list.

The FSOC has issued an explanation of its decision to rescind the SIFI label, which can be viewed here. The council is expected to revamp its SIFI designation process going forward and may issue an outline of the new process before the end of 2018.

The Senate convenes Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 3 p.m. The House is in recess until Nov. 13.

Senate

  • Water Infrastructure Bill. The chamber will resume consideration of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (S. 3021), a bill that would authorize funding for 15 water infrastructure projects related to flood control, navigation, hydropower, drinking water, and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The bill, as amended, cleared the House on Sept. 13. A cloture vote is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
  • Nominations. After the chamber completes its work on the water infrastructure measure, members will turn to the following nominations:
    • Jeffrey Bossert Clark to be an assistant attorney general
    • Eric S. Dreiband to be an assistant attorney general
    • James N. Stewart to be an assistant secretary of defense

Key Hearings & Meetings

Tax & Financial Services

  • Oct. 11 – Senate Banking Committee to hold a hearing on the cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem.
  • Oct. 11 – SEC to hold an open meeting to consider whether to reopen the comment period for rules and amendments related to capital, margin, and segregation requirements for security-based swap dealers and major security-based swap participants; and capital requirements for broker-dealers. See the agenda here.

Consumer Protection

  • Oct. 10 – Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee to hold a hearing on consumer data privacy, focusing on lessons from the EU’s general data protection regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act.

Energy

  • Oct. 9 – EPA to hold a public meeting to discuss oil and gas extraction wastewater management.
  • Oct. 11 – Senate Energy Committee to hold a hearing on blackstart and other system restoration plans in the electric utility industry.
  • Oct. 11 – Nuclear Regulatory Commission to hold a meeting on the strategic programmatic overview of the decommissioning and low-level waste and spent fuel storage and transportation business lines.

Welcome to fiscal year 2019! Congress averted a government shutdown last week when the president signed a minibus spending package (H.R. 6157) that includes a full-year funding for Defense and Labor-HHS-Education as well as a continuing resolution (CR) through Dec. 7.

The House is now in recess until after the November midterm elections. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the chamber would reconvene on Nov. 13. Meanwhile, the Senate is expected to stay put in October to work through a busy agenda: the Kavanaugh nomination, FAA reauthorization, opioids legislation, water infrastructure bill, and the remaining FY 2019 appropriations bills.

As a reminder, Congress has completed work on five out of the 12 annual appropriations bills:

  • Energy-Water
  • Milcon-VA
  • Legislative Branch
  • Defense
  • Labor-HHS-Education

Nine are still pending:

  • Financial Services, Interior-EPA, Transportation-HUD, and Agriculture (H.R. 6147) – this four-bill package is in conference.
  • Homeland Security,
  • State-Foreign Operations
  • Commerce-Science-Justice

 

As expected, the House last week passed all three bills in the GOP’s Tax Reform 2.0 package – just before members departed for their month-plus-long recess. Here’s how the votes went down.

Protecting Family and Small Business Tax Cuts Act (H.R. 6760)

  • This bill would make permanent the individual and small business tax cuts enacted in 2017. The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimates that the measure would reduce federal revenue by about $631 billion.
  • House passed the measure by a 220-191 vote.
  • 10 Republicans voted against it, and 3 Democrats voted for it.
  • Vote breakdown here.

Family Savings Act (H.R. 6757)

  • This bill would make it easier for individuals to save for retirement, education, and other family expenses. For example, the bill would create Universal Savings Accounts, expand 529 plans, and allow for penalty-free withdrawals from retirement plans for expenses related to the birth or adoption of a child. The JCT estimates that the measure would reduce federal revenue by about $21 billion.
  • House passed the measure by a 240-177 vote.
  • 10 Democrats voted for the measure.
  • Vote breakdown here.

American Innovation Act (H.R. 6756)

  • This bill contains provisions to spur entrepreneurship and lower barriers for start-ups. The JCT estimates that the measure would reduce federal revenue by about $5.4 billion.
  • House passed the measure by a 260-156 vote.
  • 31 Democrats voted for the measure.
  • Vote breakdown here.

Next Steps. Consistent with my earlier assessment of Tax Reform 2.0’s prospects, the Senate will not take up the package before the November midterm elections. The retirement and savings piece (H.R. 6757) could see some action in the Senate in the lame-duck session. For more insights into Tax Reform 2.0, check out my previous articles on the topic below:

The Senate convenes Monday, Oct. 1 at 3 p.m. The House is in recess until Nov. 13.

FLOOR ACTION

Senate

  • FAA. The chamber will resume consideration of the five-year FAA reauthorization bill (H.R. 302). A procedural vote is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. today. As a reminder, the Senate passed a short-term extension (through Oct. 7) last week.
  • Opioids Legislation. This week, the chamber will take up and pass H.R. 6, as amended by the House.
  • Nomination. Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court remains on hold until the FBI completes its supplemental background investigation.

KEY HEARINGS & MEETINGS

Tax & Financial Services

  • Oct. 2 – Senate Banking Committee to hold a hearing on the implementation of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act.
  • Oct. 2 – Senate Finance Committee to hold a hearing to consider the nomination of Andrew Saul to be commissioner of Social Security.
  • Oct. 3 – Senate Small Business Committee to hold a hearing on “Expanding Opportunities for Small Businesses through the Tax Code.”
  • Oct. 3 – Senate Judiciary Committee to hold a hearing on big bank bankruptcy, focusing on 10 years after Lehman Brothers.
  • Oct. 3-4 – U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to hold its first fintech conference.
  • Oct. 5 – CFTC to hold a meeting of its Technology Advisory Committee.

Health Care

  • Oct. 3 – Senate HELP Committee to hold a subcommittee hearing to examine rare diseases, focusing on expediting treatments for patients.

Consumer Protection

  • Oct. 3. – Senate Judiciary Committee to hold a subcommittee hearing on the oversight of the enforcement of the antitrust laws.

Energy

  • Oct. 3 – Senate EPW Committee to hold a subcommittee hearing on the oversight of the EPA’s implementation of sound and transparent science in regulation.

The Senate convenes today at 3 p.m. The House is back in session on Sept. 25 at noon.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to meet on Thursday, Sept. 27 to hear from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.

FLOOR ACTION
House
  • Suspension Votes. Lawmakers will consider 54 bills under suspension of the rules. Of note are the following:
    • H.R. 6511 – The Strategic Petroleum Reserve Reform Act would allow the secretary of energy to carry out a program to lease underutilized SPR facilities.
    • S. 2554 – The Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act would prohibit insurers and PBMs from using gag clauses.
    • S. 2553 – The Know the Lowest Price Act would prohibit prescription drug plan (PDP) sponsors and Medicare Advantage organizations that offer prescription drug plans under Medicare from using gag clauses.
    • H.R. 302 – A bill that would reauthorize the FAA through 2023.
    • The full list of suspension votes is available here.
  • Tax Reform 2.0. The House GOP’s tax-cuts package is expected to hit the floor as early as Thursday. The House Rules Committee will meet on Wednesday to draft rules for floor consideration.
  • FY 2019 Appropriations and CR. The conference report (H.R. 6157) to the third minibus spending package (Defense and Labor-HHS-Education) and the continuing resolution (through Dec. 7) will receive a vote this week. The Senate has already passed the measure. The president must sign the legislation by Sept. 30 to avoid a government shutdown.
Senate
  • Nominations. The chamber will vote on the following nominations today:
    • Jackie Walcott to be the U.S. representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency and to the Vienna office of the United Nations.
    • Peter A. Feldman to be a commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • Opioids Legislation. Senate and House lawmakers are working to finalize a compromise bill to address the opioids crisis.
KEY HEARINGS & MEETINGS
Financial Services
  • Sept. 25-26 – Meeting of the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee.
  • Sept. 26 – House Financial Services Committee to hold a subcommittee hearing on “Oversight of the SEC’s Division of Investment Management.”
  • Sept. 26 – SEC to hold a retail investor fraud roundtable to examine the types of schemes currently targeting small retail investors. The roundtable is open to the public.
  • Sept. 26 – House Financial Services Committee to hold a subcommittee hearing on the administration’s goals for major sanctions programs.
  • Sept. 27 – House Financial Services Committee to hold a hearing on the FHFA’s role as conservator and regulator of GSEs.
  • Sept. 27 – The CFPB to hold an advisory committee meeting to discuss policy issues related to FinTech.
  • Sept. 28 – House Financial Services Committee to hold a subcommittee hearing to examine opportunities for financial markets in the digital era.
Tax Policy
  • Sept. 26 – House Ways and Means Committee to hold a subcommittee hearing on the IRS’s taxpayer online authentication efforts.
  • Sept. 27 – Senate Finance Committee to hold a hearing to consider the nominations of Gordon Hartogensis to be the director of the PBGC and Gail Ennis to be inspector general of the SSA.
Trade
  • Sept. 26 – House Oversight Committee to hold a subcommittee hearing on countering China and ensuring America remains the world leader in advanced technologies and innovation.
  • Sept. 26 – Senate Finance Committee to hold a hearing on the impact of tariffs on the U.S. auto industry.
Health Care
  • Sept. 25 – Senate HELP Committee to hold a subcommittee hearing to examine health care in rural America, focusing on experiences and costs.
  • Sept. 27 – Senate HELP Committee to hold a hearing to examine reducing health care costs, focusing on improving affordability through innovation.
Consumer Privacy
  • Sept. 26 – Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee to hold a hearing on safeguards for consumer data privacy.
Energy
  • Sept. 27 – House Science Committee to hold a subcommittee hearing on “Advancing Nuclear Energy: Powering the Future.”
  • Sept. 27 – House Energy and Commerce Committee to hold a subcommittee hearing on “DOE Modernization: The Office of Cybersecurity Energy Security and Emergency Response.”

 

President Trump today signed the first appropriations package for fiscal year 2019. H.R. 5895 contains three annual appropriations bills: Energy-Water, Milcon-VA, and Legislative Branch. Congress is preparing to send the president a second spending package the week of Sept. 24, hoping to avoid a government shutdown.

On Sept. 18, the Senate passed, 93-7, the spending package (H.R. 6157) that covers funding for Defense and Labor-HHS-Education. It also includes a continuing resolution (or “CR) that will keep the rest of the federal government running through Dec. 7 – these are the agencies that won’t receive their full FY 2019 funding before the end of the fiscal year.

The House will vote and pass H.R. 6157 the week of Sept. 24.

The House Rules Committee will convene on Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 3 p.m. to write a rule for the floor consideration of the Tax Reform 2.0 bills. This means that floor debate and votes could take place as early as Thursday, Sept. 27. House passage of the three bills is expected.

In case you missed it, here are the Tax Reform 2.0 related bills and documents:

Protecting Family and Small Business Tax Cuts Act (H.R. 6760)

This bill would make permanent the individual and small business tax cuts enacted in 2017. The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimates that the measure would reduce federal revenue by about $631 billion.

Family Savings Act (H.R. 6757)

This bill would make it easier for individuals to save for retirement, education, and other family expenses. For example, the bill would create Universal Savings Accounts, expand 529 plans, and allow for penalty-free withdrawals from retirement plans for expenses related to the birth or adoption of a child. The JCT estimates that the measure would reduce federal revenue by about $21 billion.

American Innovation Act (H.R. 6756)

This bill contains provisions to spur entrepreneurship and lower barriers for start-ups. The JCT estimates that the measure would reduce federal revenue by about $5.4 billion.

The Senate convenes Monday at 2 p.m. The House is in recess, returning Sept. 25.

At this writing, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, Sept. 20. However, this may change due to the allegations of misconduct against Kavanaugh.

Senate

Roll call votes for the following bills are scheduled for Sept. 17 at 5:30 p.m.

  • Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act (S. 2554). A bill introduced by Sen. Collins (R-ME) that would prohibit insurers and prescription benefit managers from using gag clauses.
  • Opioids Legislation (H.R. 6). A bill to address opioid and substance use disorders. The House passed its version of the bill in June.
Key Hearings and Events

Financial Services

  • Sept. 18 – Senate Banking Committee to hold a hearing FinTech, focusing on digitization, data, and technology.
  • Sept. 20 – SEC to hold an investor roundtable to discuss the commission’s recently proposed rules on the obligations of financial professionals to investors.
  • Sept. 21 – SEC to hold a joint dialogue with NYU on the regulation of the securities market with a specific focus on the topics of high-frequency trading and liquidity resiliency.

Health Care

  • Sept. 18 – Senate HELP Committee to hold a hearing to examine ways to reduce health care costs, focusing on how transparency can lower spending and empower patients.

Energy

  • Sept. 20 – Senate Energy Committee to hold a hearing on blackstart and other system restoration plans in the electric utility industry.
  • Sept. 20 – FERC to hold a commission meeting to consider various administrative, electric, gas, and hydro issues, including a memorandum of understanding between the Transportation Department and FERC on LNG transportation facilities. View the full meeting agenda here.

Immigration

  • Sept. 18 – Senate Homeland Security Committee to hold a hearing to discuss the Flores settlement agreement and its implications for border security and illegal immigration incentives.

Congressional leaders have come up with a plan to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30. If all goes according to plan, Congress will have passed five of the 12 appropriations bills for FY 2019 before the funding deadline. This means that at the start of FY 2019, a large part of the federal government will be fully funded for the new fiscal year – a real accomplishment given that Congress has long struggled to pass spending bills on time.

This week, both the House and Senate passed the conference agreement for the first FY 2019 minibus spending package (H.R. 5895), which covers funding for Energy-Water, Milcon-VA, and the Legislative Branch. Additionally, bicameral negotiators approved the conference report for H.R. 6157, a two-bill minibus that includes funding for Defense and Labor-HHS-Education, which makes up about 70 percent of the federal government’s annual discretionary spending. The House is expected to vote on H.R. 6157 when it returns from recess on Sept. 25.

For agencies that won’t receive their full FY 2019 funding in time, a stopgap spending measure, known as a continuing resolution (CR), has been included in the H.R. 6157 package to ensure that they will be able to continue to operate at current funding levels from Oct. 1 through Dec. 7.

To be sure, President Trump could upend the whole plan if he decided to veto H.R. 6157 over funding for his border wall, but congressional leaders are betting that he won’t reject a bill that would provide more than $674 billion for the Department of Defense.