January Washington D.C. Policy Update

January 7, 2019




The partial government shutdown lurches into the early days of the 116th Congress with no end in sight. House Democrats are poised to pass spending bills the Senate has no intention of taking up, while President Donald Trump threatens to declare a national emergency to build a wall on the Southern border - the main sticking point in the standoff - which would likely be challenged in court.

- Subpoenas, investigations and oversight: Democrats will use their new House majority to investigate the Trump administration, from the president's taxes to controversial policy changes to Cabinet officials to the biggest question hanging over the White House: Russian collusion.

-New era for defense: The new year ushered in some new, harsher realities for the Pentagon and the president's national security policies. A Democrat-led House Armed Services Committee is expected to pressure the administration through legislation and tougher oversight. Incoming Chairman Adam Smith(D-Wash.) could press for details on the announced withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria , an expected drawdown in Afghanistan and troop deployments to the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as scrutiny of big-ticket weapons programs. Smith has also staked out positions on curtailing defense spending and the U.S. nuclear arsenal, which could set up a battle with Trump and Republican defense hawks.

- Another Obamacare fight: House Democrats face an all-too-familiar fight over the fate of Obamacare. But this time, the threat is from the courts, not Congress. A federal judge's December ruling inv