House Sends Articles of Impeachment to Senate

The House voted this week to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate 28 days after the House voted to impeach President Trump. The vote was largely along party-lines with Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI) voting yes with Democrats and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) voting no with Republicans. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) then appointed seven House managers to manage the impeachment trial in the Senate: Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Val Demings (D-FL), Jason Crow (D-CO), and Sylvia Garcia (D-TX).

The two articles and seven House managers appointed officially delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate, and Rep. Schiff read the articles to the full Senate. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts then swore in all members of the Senate thereby beginning the third impeachment trial in U.S. history. The trial will begin next Tuesday at 1:00 pm, when the chamber considers the rules package to govern the trial. 

Senators have been told they must stay in their seats during the trial, confine all reading to material related to the proceeding, leave their phones and other electronic devices outside the chamber, and refrain from speaking to neighboring senators while the case is being presented.

Budget and Appropriations Update

While Congress may have just finished action on the FY2020 funding bills last month, some members of Congress are already considering providing additional funding for this fiscal year to deal with the increase of troops in the Middle East and the earthquake in Puerto Rico. A supplemental appropriations measure for FY20 could be brought up later this year. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said that there are no plans right now for the administration to request a supplemental measure.

And the FY2021 process is set to begin in just one month. The President will deliver his FY21 budget request to Congress on Monday, February 10. Once Congress receives the request, the next step is for the House and Senate Budget Committees to draft budget resolutions. However, since the July 2019 spending agreement set the overall discretionary spending levels for FY21, Congress doesn’t need to pass budget resolutions this year. House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY) said this week that he while he has not made a final decision, he does not expect to draft a resolution. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Michael Enzi (R-WY) said that he does plan to mark up a budget resolution and hopes to include some changes to the budget process in that resolution. One potential change is moving to a two-year budget cycle.

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees could start their work on FY21 spending bills relatively quickly because the July 2019 spending agreement set the overall discretionary spending levels for FY21. The bipartisan deal provides $740.5B for defense spending (including war-related funding) and $634.5B for nondefense spending. The first hearing in the House Appropriations Committee (Interior-Environment Subcommittee) on the FY21 budget request is scheduled for February 6. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said he plans to set aside the month of June to for the House to pass most of the 12 annual spending bills. But with 2020 being an election year, appropriators are not expected to finish their work before the end of the fiscal year (September 30) and when they adjourn for the election (October 2 – House, October 9 – Senate). A lame duck session after election day is expected.