No Snow Day on Capitol Hill Wednesday

Floor votes and hearings are still expected

A worker clears the sidewalks on the East Front of the Capitol in March 2009. Employees of the office of the Architect of the Capitol also will likely be hard at work to keep the Capitol open for business on Wednesday. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Executive agencies might close Wednesday for the snowstorm that’s bearing down on Washington, but it should be closer to business-as-usual on Capitol Hill.

The cold rain and expected changeover to snow is arriving when lawmakers are already safely in the nation’s capital, so the most usual reason to cancel business — flight delays — won’t be an issue.

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady said his panel’s trade-related hearings Wednesday with United States Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer and Thursday with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will occur regardless of inclement weather.

“These are non-optional hearings,” he said. “So if the weather cooperates or not, it’s important to go forward.”

Questioning of Lighthizer will focus on the ongoing NAFTA negotiations and country exclusions for the administration’s steel and aluminum tariffs, Brady said.

There are sure to be some postponements, however.

The Committee on House Administration has pushed back until April 12 a hearing and markup. Witnesses for the hearing were to include House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving.

For senators from cold climates, working through D.C. snowstorms can be a badge of honor. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski predictably intended to be at work on Wednesday.

“I’m from Alaska, I can’t rearrange anything because of snow,” Murkowski told Roll Call.

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr, R-N.C., made clear he had no intention of changing the schedule for his committee, where current Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson are the featured witnesses on election security issues.

Watch: Intelligence Officials Aware of Russian Activity Aimed at 2018 Elections

It will be full speed ahead on the Senate floor as well, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky setting up a normal work day on Wednesday starting at 11 a.m., with votes expected around 3 p.m. on amendments and passage of an anti-sex trafficking bill.

That measure has been the Senate’s business while waiting for an agreement on an omnibus spending measure to keep the government open past the end of the week.

The House is still operating on the assumption votes will take place Wednesday, though that could change if too much snow falls.

In either case, House Rules Chairman Pete Sessions of Texas intends to have his members available to meet, having likened the Rules Committee to the United States Postal Service.

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