Federal Update July 2019
The House and Senate returned after the 4th of July recess to continue negotiations on the elusive budget caps/debt ceiling deal. The House will also be taking up its version of the annual defense authorization bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Senate passed its version of the NDAA before recess.
Here’s an update on the latest info from Washington:
Budget Deal Update:
Congressional leaders and top Trump officials continue working behind the scenes to avoid budget cuts enacted by sequestration, a government shutdown and debt default at the end of September. Both Republicans and Democrats face their own divisions within their parties over how to come to an agreement with Republicans rejecting the President’s stopgap funding bill proposal over concerns about military spending and Democrats still angry over their party leadership’s agreement on the bipartisan border package that passed before the recess.
The House has passed 10 of the 12 appropriations bills, with higher budget numbers, while the Senate has been waiting for a budget deal before moving forward. However, with only 4 weeks left before the Senate departs for August recess, a deal is needed as soon as possible to keep the appropriations process moving forward. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) said late last month that “If there’s no agreement come first week of July, I think we’d have to seriously consider assuming some numbers and try to keep the process moving, hoping that there’s a breakthrough later.”
On July 4th, Rep. Justin Amash announced he was leaving the Republican Party and will run for his House seat in 2020 as an independent. Amash has been critical of President Trump and called for impeachment proceedings following the release of the Mueller Report. Amash has also not ruled out a 2020 presidential bid.
Failed Republican Governor candidate Kris Kobach filed papers to run for Senate to replace the retiring Sen. Pat Roberts in the 2020 election. Kobach lost the 2018 race for Kansas governor by 5 percentage points despite President Trump’s support in a state he carried by a 21-point margin and where Republicans outnumber Democrats 2 to 1 and it has been reported that national Republicans plan to oppose his Senate bid. Other potential Republican candidates include current U.S. Rep. for Kansas’s 1st Congressional District Roger Marshall and American Conservative Union chair Matt Schlapp.
Former U.S. Rep. for the Virginia Beach area Scott Taylor announced that he is challenging Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, who is seeking a third term in 2020. Taylor lost his House seat last year to Democrat Elaine Luria.
Meanwhile, in efforts to win back the House in 2020, the House GOP’s campaign arm, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), targeted swing-districts in new polling highlighting how unpopular impeachment is in these districts currently held by Democrats. The districts are California 21, where Rep. TJ Cox (D-Calif.) beat David Valadao; California 39, where Rep. Gil Cisneros (D-Calif.) won in an open race; California 45, where Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) defeated Mimi Walters; Georgia 6, where Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.) beat Karen Handel; and New Jersey 7, where Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.) beat Leonard Lance. Reps. Porter and Malinowski have both publicly called for impeachment. In these five districts, impeachment support is somewhere between 29% and 35%, and opposition is in the high 50s and 60s.
Additionally, billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, who announced earlier this year that he wasn’t running, might run for president. It has been reported that Steyer held a private conference call last week to announce to people who work for Need to Impeach, NextGen America and Steyer’s Sacramento office that he is planning to run.
New Member Highlight:
Rep. Ron Wright won his election for Texas’s 6th Congressional District replacing the former Congressman and his former boss Rep. Joe Barton who he served as a chief of staff and district director. Rep. Wright was an early cosponsor of the ABC support Fair and Open Competition Act (H.R. 1858).
Wright’s first job was milking cows on his family’s dairy farm in Springtown, Texas. After that, he worked in construction before managing an audio visual company at the age of 25. He then worked at PVI Industries in Fort Worth, Texas, selling high-end commercial boilers and water heating equipment.
Beginning in 1985, he spent 15 years as a project manager for a cooling tower company in Fort Worth, overseeing multimillion-dollar projects throughout the U.S. and Canada, according to his official biography.
Wright also served at-large on the Arlington City Council and as the tax assessor-collector of Tarrant County, Texas.