WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 2017 - President Donald Trump has promised to announce a Supreme Court nominee this week, while Congress begins to move measures to kill new regulations on the energy industry.
This also is a big week for industry meetings and conventions, including the annual winter policy conference of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture in Washington and meetings of the wheat, cattle and dairy sectors.
Trump said last week that he would announce his nominee on Thursday. Trump's favorites for the nomination are believed to include Neil Gorsuch of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Thomas Hardiman of the 3rd Circuit and William Pryor of the 11th Circuit, all appointees of George W. Bush.
Trump told Republicans lawmakers that he would make good on his promise to appoint a justice who will “uphold and defend our constitution.” The nominee would replace the late Antonin Scalia and, assuming the nominee is reliably conservative, essentially restore the ideological balance that existed before Scalia's death a year ago.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell guaranteed in an interview Friday with the Morning Consult that Trump's nominee would get confirmed, and he didn't rule out using the so-called “nuclear option” to do so, eliminating the 60-vote requirement to move Supreme Court nominations.
Democrats previously abolished the 60-vote rule for confirming lower-court and executive branch nominations.
The Senate continues to move slowly on cabinet nominations. Senators will vote on Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state on Monday and then will vote Tuesday on perhaps the least controversial nomination of all - Elaine Chao, wife of the Senate GOP leader, to be Transportation Secretary.
But committee votes on Trump's nominees for Interior and Energy, Ryan Zinke and Rick Perry, were postponed last week and haven't been rescheduled. Another critical nomination for agriculture, Labor nominee Andy Puzder, has yet to get a hearing.
The House will start using its authority under the Congressional Review Act to eliminate regulations that were imposed late in the Obama administration. The CRA allows lawmakers to consider a resolution to kill a rule within a limited time after the agency has issued a rule and notified Congress.
The House is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a CRA resolution of disapproval for the “stream protection” rule issued by Interior's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement in December to protect surface water and groundwater from pollution from coal mines.
A second resolution on Wednesday's schedule would ditch a rule issued in June by the Securities and Exchange Commission requiring companies to disclose payments made to governments for development of oil, natural gas or minerals.
On Friday, the House takes up a resolution to kill the methane flaring restrictions released by the Bureau of Land Management in November. The states of Montana, Wyoming, and North Dakota have joined the energy industry in opposing the rule.
Here's a list of agriculture- or rural-related events scheduled for this week in Washington and elsewhere:
Monday, Jan. 30
National Association of State Departments of Agriculture winter policy conference, through Thursday, Grand Hyatt.
Wheat Industry Winter Conference, through Thursday, Hyatt Regency.
International Dairy Foods Association annual Dairy Forum, through Wednesday, Orlando, Fla.
National Association of Conservation Districts annual meeting, through Wednesday, Denver.
6 p.m. - Senate Finance committee considers the nomination of Steven Mnuchin to be Treasury Secretary, 215 Dirksen.
Tuesday, Jan. 31
9:30 a.m. - The Senate Judiciary Committee considers the nomination of Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General, 226 Dirksen.
10 a.m. - House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee holds organizational meeting, 2167 Rayburn.
10 a.m. - Senate Finance Committee considers the nomination of Tom Price to be Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Wednesday, Feb. 1
Cattle Industry Convention, through Friday, Nashville.
Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau Annual Meeting, through Friday, Bonita Springs, Florida.
10 a.m. - House Foreign Affairs subcommittees hold hearing on the potential impact of a U.S.-UK trade agreement, 2172 Rayburn.
3:30 p.m. - AGree holds forum on “Bipartisan Opportunities for the 2018 Farm Bill and Beyond,” Meridian Institute, 1800 M St. NW.
All day - Food Tank Summit 2017, Jack Morton Auditorium, The George Washington University.
8:30 a.m. - USDA releases Weekly Export Sales report.
10 a.m. - House Agriculture Committee holds organizational meeting, 1300 Longworth.
10 a.m. - House Budget Committee hearing on the Congressional Budget Office's updated baseline, 1334 Longworth.
Noon - Cato Institute holds forum on the border adjustable tax proposal, B-340 Cannon.
Friday, Feb. 3