Continuing Resolution, FY20 Spending Bills

With government spending authority set to expire next Monday and Congress scheduled to begin a two week recess after wrapping its work this week, the Senate today voted 82-15 to pass a House-passed continuing resolution (CR) to extend funding through November 21. The White House has indicated that the President will sign the bill in time to avert a shutdown. Meanwhile, the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced several more of its FY20 government spending bills today, namely its Commerce-Justice-Science, Homeland Security, Interior-Environment, State-Foreign Operations, and Legislative Branch measures. Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) is scheduled to meet with the President today to discuss FY20 spending.

Executive Branch Nominations Confirmed

Elsewhere, the Senate confirmed several pending executive branch nominations, including Eugene Scalia’s nomination to serve as Secretary of Labor after the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee advanced his nomination on Tuesday . It also approved several motions to instruct conferees on the National Defense Authorization Act, though formal conference negotiations began late and are expected to continue into mid-October, after the upcoming two-week recess.

Senate Votes to Terminate Emergency Declaration at Southern Border

On Wednesday, the Senate voted 54-41 to terminate the emergency declaration under which the President has shifted $3.6 billion from 127 military construction projects in 23 states to build a border wall. 11 Republicans supported the resolution. The President vetoed the measure in March, but there was not enough support in Congress to override the veto.

Enhancing Entrepreneurship for the 21st Century Act

On Tuesday, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tim Scott (R-SC), who co-chair the Senate Entrepreneurship Caucus, introduced the Enhancing Entrepreneurship for the 21st Century Act, which would require the Department of Commerce to study what is driving the so-called “startup slump.” Klobuchar and Scott co-founded the Caucus earlier this year.

SAFE Banking Act

On the other side of the Capitol, the House moved a number of non-controversial bills under suspension of the rules this week, including the SAFE Banking Act, which would ensure that financial institutions are not held liable under federal law for providing services to legal marijuana-related businesses. The bill passed 321-103.

UN General Assembly

President Trump began the week attending meetings and events around the UN General Assembly in New York, where he delivered keynote remarks at the Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom event and held bilateral meetings with world leaders including Pakistani President Arif Alvi, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, among others.

Read more in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Emerging Technologies Washington Update.