The 115th Congress returned this week following the Thanksgiving holiday for a busy lame-duck session, ready to negotiate on a few remaining issues before wrapping up the 115th Congress for good and heading home for the holidays. This includes passing the remaining appropriations bills, which includes the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, for FY 2019.

Earlier this week, both Republican and Democratic senators responsible for EPA and Interior spending said they had resolved their differences for the most part for FY19 – but a final overall agreement has not yet been reached with the House side.  However, with the current stop-gap funding measure set to expire on Dec. 7, and several issues – most notably the building of a boarder wall—far from resolved, there is still good chance the remaining appropriations bills may be punted to 2019.

Things look encouraging for the passage of a 2018 Farm Bill following a tentative deal reached on Nov. 29 between House and Senate negotiators, rejecting stricter food stamp rules (and the expansion of work requirements for those that receive them) which had been in the House bill.

Congressional staff are now trying to settle minor details before it heads to the floor for votes in the House and Senate next week.  (Bloomberg BNA, 11/29/18)

Also, this week, Democrats — who will take control of the House in 2019 — gave former Speaker of the House and current Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), a thumbs up on Wednesday to be Speaker of the House in the 116th Congress.  In a secret ballot vote among Democratic members, she won the support of 203 Members.  There were 32 “no” votes and 3 ballots were left blank.  She will need 218 votes when the official election takes place with the full House on January 3rd

During the midterm elections, and even after, several Democratic Representatives were hesitant to support her again, initially, and some still are.  However, it is believed that in January she will have the support needed to regain the Speakership.

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This Week in Washington is an online news portal from the Water Environment Federation that provides updates on the latest legislative and regulatory developments that affect the water and wastewater communities. It provides concise reports of related bills, regulations, legal decisions, congressional hearings, and other federal government actions, following key issues from introduction to final determination.

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This Week in Washington is compiled by the WEF Government Affairs department. Please contact us with any questions or comments.

Claudio Ternieden
Senior Director of Government Affairs & Strategic Partnerships

Steve Dye
Legislative Director

Amy Kathman
Government Affairs Specialist