FY20 Appropriations

With just a handful of legislative days remaining before government spending authority expires on December 20, House and Senate Appropriations Committee leaders met this morning to continue to discuss a path forward for FY20 appropriations.

Pending Nominations

The Senate spent most of the week on pending nominations, including Stephen Hahn’s nomination to serve as FDA commissioner and John Sullivan’s nomination to be the next US Ambassador to Russia. Today, Senate Republicans met with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to discuss the recently agreed upon US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA).

National Defense Authorization Act Agreement

Bicameral Armed Services Committee leadership announced on Monday night that they reached an agreement on the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report. The House passed the compromise package on Wednesday, 377-48. The Senate is expected to follow suit.

TV View Protection Act

The House adopted the TV View Protection Act by voice vote Tuesday, legislation that would reauthorize the STELAR satellite television law set to expire at the end of the year. There is no Senate companion yet; bicameral committee leaders are discussing a short-term extension into next year while the Senate committees of jurisdiction continue to work on legislation. Today, the House votes on H.R. 3, the drug pricing legislation championed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Reps. Yoho, Heck, and Graves Not Seeking Reelection

Reps. Ted Yoho (R-FL), Denny Heck (D-WA), and Tom Graves (R-GA) announced in recent days that they will not seek reelection in 2020. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) also confirmed he will resign after the holidays after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations.

Section 230

On Tuesday, Attorney General Bill Barr told state attorneys general that the Department of Justice has “started thinking critically” about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and plans to hold a public workshop on the subject. Barr’s comments coincided with Speaker Pelosi’s renewed criticism of the provision as similar protections were included in USMCA, as well as the recently approved US-Japan trade deal. That agreement did not require congressional approval and Tokyo formally approved it last week.

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