From part two of a Supreme Court showdown to a series of big votes scheduled this week, here are the Three Big Things we're following this week in Washington:
Topping the list:
1. All eyes continue to follow Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, following four days of highly-partisan hearings packed with protests before the Senate Judiciary Committee. But now the real work begins, at least for Republicans, who are making sure they have at least the majority 51 votes to confirm President Donald Trump’s nominee. Most projections we’re seeing make it look like the GOP will be able to confirm Kavanaugh before or in early October.
A key vote by the Committee as soon as this Thursday, Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) announced last week, which would ultimately move it to a full Senate vote. However, Democrats could delay it by a week as they demand more time to review Kavanaugh’s record.
2. In the House, Republicans are planning to unveil another round of tax cuts that could be passed before the midterm elections. The name? Tax Cuts 2.0, building off the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The plan would make permanent some of the individual tax cuts that couldn’t be included in last year’s plan.
But this version could face some opposition, even from within the party. That 2017 package added $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit, and it’s expected that this version would add several hundred billion dollars to the budget deficit as well.
It’s unclear when the Senate could vote on Tax Cuts 2.0, but some House Republicans tell me they expect this to be a done deal before the November midterm elections.
3. Lastly, we’re watching a package of bills in the senate meant to combat the nation’s opioid epidemic. Among them: new funding for states to fight drug addiction, and an expanded effort to combat synthetic drugs, such as fentanyl. Those bills are expected to come to the floor in the coming days.