The House and Senate returned to Washington this week after a two-week recess. On Tuesday, the President met with senior congressional Democrats, including Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Schumer (D-NY), at the White House to discuss a potential infrastructure package. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, and presidential advisers Ivanka Trump and Kellyanne Conway were also among those in attendance. After the meeting, Pelosi and Schumer said that they reached an agreement with the President to negotiate towards a $2 trillion package without having discussed specific funding mechanisms. Another meeting is expected in about three weeks.
The following day, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee convened a hearing during which all members of the House were invited to speak on their infrastructure-related priorities while the Committee prepares to consider surface transportation reauthorization legislation.
On Tuesday, the Senate voted 68-31 to confirm William Cooper to be General Counsel of the Department of Energy and 72-27 to confirm Gordon Hartogensis to be Director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. The upper chamber also considered a number of other judicial nominations.
Green New Deal
On the other other side of the Capitol, Rep. Hice (R-GA) offered a discharge petition this week in an attempt to force a floor vote on the Green New Deal resolution spearheaded by Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). The procedural tactic, which is rarely successful, forces a vote if the petition attracts 218 signatures.
Attorney General Bill Barr fielded questions this week from both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees on Mueller report and the Department of Justice investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein also announced on Monday that he will resign effective May 11. The Senate Judiciary Committee’s planned vote to advance the President’s nominee for Deputy AG, Deputy Secretary of Transportation Jeff Rosen, was postponed.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer spent the week in Beijing for US-China trade talks.