President Barack Obama hosted Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India last week, and the Prime Minister addressed a joint session of Congress on Wednesday. The United States and China held their annual Strategic & Economic Dialogue last week in Beijing, issuing a joint statement at the conclusion.

Congress was in session last week and will be in session again this week. The Senate started its floor debate of S. 2943, Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and is expected to complete the floor debate this week.

India and Washington

President Obama met with Prime Minister Modi on 7 June; both issuing a joint statement on the 21st Century relationship. The White House also released bilateral fact sheets related to: (1) climate change; (2) cyber; and (3) economic cooperation.

In an address to Congress last week, Prime Minister Modi said:

“The traits of freedom and liberty form a strong bond between our two democracies.”

He added:

“No wonder that the shared ideals and common philosophy of freedom shape the bedrock of our ties. No wonder that President Obama called our ties the defining partnership of the 21st century.”

Both sides emphasized constructive progress and shared priorities in the region.

National Defense Authorization Act – Senate Debate Continues

Last week, Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota) had offered a bipartisan amendment to S. 2943 that would have restored full operations at the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank. However, the Bank’s supporters were stymied when the Senate voted on Friday, 10 June, to invoke cloture on the defense bill, thus precluding consideration of non-germane amendments, such as the Ex-Im proposal. The Senate is scheduled to resume debate on the NDAA this week.

Cuba – Airlines Approved

Last Friday, the Department of Transportation announced it had approved six domestic airlines to begin scheduled flights between Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis/St. Paul and Cuba as early as this fall. A fact sheet is available here.

Congressional Hearings This Week

  • On Tuesday, 14 June, the House Ways and Means Committee Trade Subcommittee is scheduled to hold a hearing titled, “Expanding U.S. Agriculture Trade and Eliminating Barriers to U.S. Exports.”
  • On Tuesday, 14 June, the House Foreign Affairs Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing titled, “U.S. Policy Toward Putin’s Russia.”
  • On Tuesday, 14 June, the House Homeland Security Committee Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security is scheduled to hold a hearing titled, “Overstaying Their Welcome: National Security Risks Posed by Visa Overstays.”
  • On Wednesday, 15 June, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing titled, “U.S. Policy in Libya.”
  • On Wednesday, 15 June, Senate Foreign Relations Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues Subcommittee is scheduled to hold a hearing titled, “Barriers to Education Globally: Getting Girls in the Classroom.”
  • On Wednesday, 15 June, the House Foreign Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Middle East and North Africa is scheduled to hold a hearing titled, “Egypt: Challenges and Opportunities for U.S. Policy.”
  • On Wednesday, 15 June, the Homeland Security Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing titled, “The Cybersecurity Act of 2015: Industry Perspectives.”
  • On Wednesday, 15 June, the Senate Finance is scheduled to hold a hearing titled, “Challenges and Opportunities for U.S. Business in the Digital Age.”
  • On Wednesday, 15 June, the House Armed Services Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing titled, “Department of Defense Update on the Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness (FIAR) plan.”
  • On Wednesday, 15 June, the Senate Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support is scheduled to hold a hearing to examine the nomination of General David L. Goldfein (USAF), for reappointment to the grade of General, and to be Chief of Staff, United States Air Force.
  • On Thursday, 16 June, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing titled, “Our Evolving Understanding and Response to Transnational Criminal Threats.”
  • On Thursday, 16 June, the House Foreign Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations is scheduled to hold a hearing titled, “The Global Religious Freedom Crisis and Its Challenge to U.S. Foreign Policy.”
  • On Thursday, 16 June, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a markup of the following legislation:
    • H.R.____, the Digital Global Access Policy Act of 2016;
    • H.R. 5208, the North Korea State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act of 2016; and
    • H.R. 5332, the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2016.

Looking Ahead

Washington is expected to focus on the following upcoming events:

  • 29 June: North American Leaders Summit in Ottawa, Canada.
  • 7-11 July: President Obama travels to Poland and Spain
  • 8-9 July: NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland
  • 18-21 July: Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio
  • 25-28 July: Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania