Wednesday: Monuments and judges

The House meets in the afternoon to work on legislation that puts limits on the ability of the executive branch to designate land as a site for a national monument.

Members will take up the Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation of National Monuments Act, H.R. 1459. The bill requires environmental reviews of all proposed monument sites and limits these designations to one site per state per year.

Supporters of the bill say presidents of both parties have abused the Antiquities Act, which lets them name monument sites. The main complaint is that presidents have designated too many monuments, which imposes land use hardships on Western states in particular.

Members will start by approving the rule for the bill. Once it's passed, they'll debate the legislation and three amendments and the vote, which will finish their work for the day.

The Senate starts at 10 a.m. and will spend the day on executive branch nominations.

At 11 a.m., senators will hold roll call votes on motions to end debate on four district court judge nominees: Chris Cooper for Washington, D.C., Doug Harpool for Missouri, and Gerald McHugh Jr. and Ed Smith for Pennsylvania.

Under the "nuclear option," only 51 votes will be needed to end debate on these nominees. Then, at 2:30 p.m., senators will hold final confirmation votes on them.

After the last judicial nominee, senators will vote on the nomination of Joseph Westphal to be ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

On Tuesday, Senate leaders set up a Thursday vote on a House Ukraine aid bill, H.R. 4152. The House is also expected to pass the same bill that day.

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