The House and Senate convene today at noon and 3 p.m., respectively.

The FY 2018 omnibus bill will be hogging the spotlight this week, as lawmakers scramble to avoid a government shutdown. The deadline is March 23, and the bill text is still baking. The House GOP caucus is meeting this afternoon to go over the bill with members. As always with these big spending measures, the House Freedom Caucus is expected to oppose the trillion-dollar-plus legislation. This means the GOP leadership will have to reach across the aisle for votes.

Here’s what else is in store for the week:


Floor Votes. The chamber will take up the following financial services bills:

Banking Bill Drama. Last week, the Senate passed its regulatory relief bill for community banks (S. 2155) in a bipartisan fashion. However, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling said that the House would not accept the bill as written. He wants to amend the bill by adding some more House-passed provisions. The Senate Democrats who supported the measure are opposed to changing the bill further, essentially telling Hensarling to take it or leave it. It remains to be seen which side will win this battle.

Trade Hearings. The House Ways and Means Committee will have hearings on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss trade issues (specifically tariffs) with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.


Trafficking Bill. The chamber will vote to kick off debate on H.R. 1865 – an anti-sex trafficking measure that would allow states and victims to fight online trafficking by establishing new and enhanced penalties.

Nomination. At 5:30 p.m., members will vote on the nomination of Kevin McAleenan to be the commissioner of U.S. Protection at the Department of Homeland Security.

Trade Hearing. USTR Lighthizer will drop by the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday to talk about the president’s trade agenda and tariffs.

Key Hearings

Tuesday, 3/20

  • House Appropriations Committee. Subcommittee hearing on the FY 2019 Department Housing and Urban Development budget.
  • House Financial Services Committee. Subcommittee hearing on “Exploring the Financial Nexus of Terrorism, Drug Trafficking, and Organized Crime.”

Wednesday, 3/21

  • House Ways and Means Committee. Full committee hearing on the U.S. trade policy agenda with USTR Robert Lighthizer.
  • Joint Economic Committee. Full committee hearing on unleashing America’s economic potential.
  • Senate Budget Committee. Full committee hearing on the president’s economic report with CEA Chairman Kevin Hassett testifying.

Thursday, 3/22

  • Senate Finance Committee. Hearing on the 2018 trade agenda with USTR Robert Lighthizer.
  • Senate Banking Committee. Full committee hearing to discuss the oversight of HUD with Secretary Ben Carson testifying.
  • House Ways and Means Committee. Full committee hearing on the administration’s trade agenda with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.