Discussions to Avert a Government Shutdown Ongoing

The House and Senate returned to Washington on Tuesday after the Veterans’ Day holiday. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), who chair the Appropriations Committees, met on Tuesday to discuss a deal to avert a government shutdown when the current continuing resolution (CR) expires on November 21. Congress is expected to pass, and the President is expected to sign, a new CR extending funding a current levels through December 20, though negotiations are ongoing.

Administrative Appointments Confirmed

The Senate confirmed Chad Wolf this week to serve as Undersecretary of Homeland Security. Once confirmed, he was sworn in and named Acting Secretary and announced that USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli would become Acting Deputy Secretary. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee also held a confirmation hearing today for Dan Brouillette, the President’s nominee to succeed Rick Perry as Secretary of Energy, while the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a confirmation hearing for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator nominee Peter Gaynor.

NASA Reauthorization

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation committee advanced a number of bills during an executive session yesterday, including one to reauthorize NASA. A bill to reauthorize a satellite television law set to expire at the end of the year was pulled at the last minute, however.

Section 230

During a House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing yesterday, Chairman Mark Takano (D-CA) suggested that reforms to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act may be necessary if social media platforms do not do more to combat scammers who impersonate military personnel and veterans. Elsewhere, Rep. Peter King (R-NY), former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, announced this week that he will not seek reelection in 2020.

National Apprenticeship Week

President Trump issued a proclamation declaring this week National Apprenticeship Week. He hosted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the White House yesterday before welcoming NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg today for a discussion that is to include protecting 5G networks and cybersecurity.

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