Tensions are set to escalate this week over the House’s impeachment inquiry as Republicans try to formally rebuke Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffBarr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Trump pardons Flynn | Lawmakers lash out at decision | Pentagon nixes Thanksgiving dining hall meals due to COVID-19 Democratic impeachment leaders blast Trump's pardon of Flynn MORE (D-Calf.). 

Republicans are slated to force a vote Monday evening on a resolution censuring Schiff, who has emerged as a top GOP target as they try to message against the impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal watchdog accuses VOA parent company of wrongdoing under Trump appointee Lawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list Ivanka Trump gives deposition in lawsuit alleging misuse of inauguration funds MORE.

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The resolution targeting Schiff comes as Democrats are leading near daily closed-door depositions with current and former administration officials, and as a growing number of top administration officials have been ensnared in the investigation. 

The House vote had been expected to take place last week, but was delayed at the request of House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), who led the efforts on the resolution, following the death of Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsWe must act on lowering cost of prescription drugs Voters elected a record number of Black women to Congress this year — none were Republican Democrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? MORE (D-Md.).

House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseTop Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon Richmond says GOP 'reluctant to stand up and tell the emperor he wears no clothes' New RSC chairman sees 'Trumpism' as future MORE (R-La.) lashed out at Schiff during a floor speech on Friday, arguing that shortly before the whistleblower complaint was filed rules were changed to not require firsthand information. 

“By the way, the standard for being a whistleblower used to be firsthand information and, secretly, days before the whistleblower complaint was filed, after going to Chairman Schiff's staff and working with partisans to develop the whistleblower complaint, they changed the rules for even designating what is a whistleblower so it could allow secondhand information,” Scalise said. 

The Intelligence Community’s inspector general has pushed back on that attack line in a public statement, saying a complainant was not required to have firsthand knowledge and that the whistleblower complaint was processed under procedures put in place in May 2018.

The measure — which has garnered the support of more than 150 GOP lawmakers — blasts the California Democrat for his comments on the committee’s interactions with a whistleblower whose complaint sparked the impeachment inquiry and his remarks exaggerating Trump’s phone call with the president of Ukraine regarding the Bidens, accusing the chairman of purposely misleading the public.

“Whereas, according to a New York Times article on October 2, 2019, Chairman Schiff’s committee staff met with the whistleblower prior to the filing of his complaint, and staff members communicated the content of the complaint to Chairman Schiff,” the measure reads.

“Whereas Chairman Schiff concealed his dealings with the whistleblower from the rest of the Intelligence Committee, and when asked directly in a television interview whether he had any contact with the whistleblower, he lied to the American people and said, 'We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower.'"

Schiff has defended his remarks from the committee hearing, arguing the exaggerated rendition of President Trump’s phone call with the president of Ukraine was made partially in jest. 

Democrats have also defended Schiff, arguing whistleblowers routinely reach out to the Intelligence Committees and that his staff followed protocol by telling them to contact the inspector general. A spokesman for Schiff has also said the committee didn't review the whistleblower complaint in advance, and that Schiff knew neither the details of the complaint nor the whistleblower's identity. 

The Democratic chairman has become a central figure in Republican attacks as they look to push back on Democrats' impeachment efforts. 

The resolution comes as Democrats continue to move full steam ahead on their probe, which is overseen by the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Reform committees.

Ambassador William Taylor, currently the top diplomat in Ukraine, is set to testify on Tuesday. Taylor was involved in a text message exchange with two other U.S. diplomats that was made public after one testified.

Philip Reeker, acting assistant secretary of European and Eurasian affairs at the State Department, and Michael Duffey, the associate director for national security programs within the Office of Management and Budget, are set to meet with lawmakers on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, deputy assistant secretary of Defense Laura Cooper and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a member of the national security council, will both testify on Thursday. Cooper, who oversees the Pentagon’s Ukraine policy, had initially been expected to testify last week. 

 

Syria

The Trump administration is set to make the rounds on Capitol Hill this week, paving the way for a days-long grilling over its decision to pull back U.S. troops in northern Syria. 

Both the House and Senate are scheduled to hold hearings this week digging into the Trump administration’s Syria policy, putting officials publicly in a congressional hot seat for the first time since the administration’s decision. 

In the House, the Foreign Affairs Committee is set to hold a hearing entitled “The Betrayal of our Syrian Kurdish Partners: How Will American Foreign Policy and Leadership Recover?” 

Lawmakers blasted the administration’s decision to draw back U.S. troops ahead of a Turkish military operation over concerns that it would endanger the Kurds, who partnered with the United States to fight ISIS. 

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, meanwhile, will hold a hearing on Tuesday on Turkey’s military offensive, and the Senate Appropriations Committee’s State Department subcommittee will hold a hearing on Wednesday on U.S. policy and assistance to Syria. 

James Jeffrey, the State Department’s representative for Syria engagement, is set to testify before all three panels, while Matthew Palmer, a deputy assistant secretary, will testify before both the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee. 

The hearings come after Vice President Pence announced that the United States and Turkey had agreed to a 120-hour cease-fire agreement, during which the administration would not apply additional sanctions against Ankara for its invasion of northern Syria. 

If the cease-fire holds and becomes permanent, the Trump administration would also drop sanctions announced earlier this month. 

Lawmakers are currently weighing potential legislation to respond to Turkey’s military incursion. 

The House passed a resolution last week that formally opposed Trump’s strategy. Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPelosi, Schumer endorse 8 billion plan as basis for stimulus talks Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms Trump supporters could hand Senate control to Democrats MORE (D-N.Y.) tried to set up a vote on the resolution on Thursday but was blocked by Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulMcConnell in tough position as House eyes earmark return Rand Paul says Fauci owes parents and students an apology over pandemic measures Grassley returns to Capitol after having coronavirus MORE (R-Ky.). 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHillicon Valley: GOP chairman says defense bill leaves out Section 230 repeal | Senate panel advances FCC nominee | Krebs says threats to election officials 'undermining democracy' On The Money: Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms | Pelosi, Schumer endorse 8 billion plan as basis for stimulus talks | Poll: Most Americans support raising taxes on those making at least 0K Nearly one-third of US adults expect to lose employment income: Census Bureau MORE (R-Ky.) said from the Senate floor that he wants “something stronger” than the House-passed resolution. 

Multiple senators have also introduced legislation to slap new financial sanctions on Turkey. Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDespite veto threat, Congress presses ahead on defense bill GOP urges Trump not to tank defense bill over tech fight Republican frustration builds over Cabinet picks MORE (R-S.C.) and Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenDemocratic senators unveil bill to ban discrimination in financial services industry Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing Democratic senators offer bill to make payroll tax deferral optional for federal workers MORE (D-Md.), as well as Sens. Jim RischJim Elroy RischWill Biden choose a values-based or transactional foreign policy? GOP senator congratulates Biden, says Trump should accept results Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee MORE (R-Idaho) and Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezEmergency housing assistance for older adults needed now Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff Democratic senators urge Facebook to take action on anti-Muslim bigotry MORE (D-N.J.), the top two members of the Foreign Relations Committee, introduced competing sanctions bills last week. 

McConnell has not yet said what, if anything, he’ll bring up for a vote. 

Cummings funeral

The late Rep. Elijah Cummings, 68, the former chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, is slated to lie in state in Statuary Hall on Thursday. 

Cummings — the son of a sharecropper who climbed to being one of the most influential Democratic voices in Congress, having played a leading role in the impeachment inquiry — died on Thursday due to complications with long-standing health challenges. 

The Maryland Democrat has been lauded by members from both parties for championing civil rights and having made a legislative impact on key issues. 

“He taught his colleagues how to persevere in the face of adversity, laboring through health challenges in recent years out of a love for serving his constituents and country,” House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerFunding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms Hoyer releases 2021 House calendar Democrats eye Dec. 11 exit for House due to COVID-19 MORE (D-Md.) said in a statement following Cummings's death.  

“He taught us patience and fortitude when confronted with malice from opponents, which he answered with ‘charity for all.'”

Votes were canceled and a memorial service for Cummings family and their guests is expected to be held in the Capitol Tuesday morning followed by a viewing for the public, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms | Pelosi, Schumer endorse 8 billion plan as basis for stimulus talks | Poll: Most Americans support raising taxes on those making at least 0K Battle heats up for House Foreign Affairs gavel Nearly one-third of US adults expect to lose employment income: Census Bureau MORE (D-Calif.) announced on Friday. 

Members on both sides of the aisle are expected to attend a funeral service scheduled to be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 25, at the New Psalmist Baptist Church, which is located in Baltimore, a city he represented. 

Election interference

The House is slated to take up a bill aimed at clamping down on foreign interference in U.S. elections. 

The Stopping Harmful Interference in Elections for a Lasting Democracy Act, or SHIELD Act — spearheaded by Rep. Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenHillicon Valley: Four major tech issues facing the Biden administration | Pressure grows to reinstate White House cyber czar | Facebook, Google to extend political ad bans House report says lawmakers could securely cast remote votes amid pandemic Why prevailing wage reform matters for H-1B visas MORE (D-Calif.) — looks to close loopholes and improve transparency in digital political ads. The bill would also place restrictions on exchanging campaign information between campaigns and foreign governments. 

“Most Americans know that foreign governments have no business interfering in our elections. Instead, the Trump campaign and White House have welcomed and repeatedly solicited foreign assistance for his political activities. This behavior is unacceptable, and it is telling that the White House has gone to great lengths to hide it from the American people,” Lofgren said in a statement upon the bill's introduction. 

“The SHIELD Act will protect our elections from foreign interference by closing loopholes that allow dishonest behavior, increasing disclosure and transparency requirements, and ensuring that individuals engaging in conduct with foreign actors intending to influence the outcome of our elections will be held accountable by law.”

The Democrat-led bill faces an uphill battle in the upper chamber. 

Government funding

McConnell is turning the Senate toward trying to fund the government as the appropriations process has largely stalled there. 

The GOP leader announced late last week that the Senate would try to take up two spending packages — the first focused on domestic spending, while the second would include a mammoth defense bill. In an effort to entice Democrats into moving the funding bills, the Senate will first try to tackle the domestic spending bill, considered a priority for Democrats. 

"In order to meet Democrats halfway, the first House shell we will vote on will be a package of the domestic funding bills. If we can get bipartisan support to take up that domestic funding bill, we will stay on it until we complete it," McConnell said.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyOvernight Defense: Defense bill moving forward despite Trump veto threat over tech fight | Government funding bill hits snag | Top general talks Afghanistan, Pentagon budget On The Money: Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms | Pelosi, Schumer endorse 8 billion plan as basis for stimulus talks | Poll: Most Americans support raising taxes on those making at least 0K Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms MORE (R-Ala.) and Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyTop GOP senator warns government funding deal unlikely this week Incoming Congress looks more like America The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience MORE (Vt.), the top Democrat on the panel, have been negotiating over what would be included in the Senate packages. 

Democrats previously blocked a government funding bill in September. Asked if they would provide the votes this week, Leahy noted it would depend on which funding bills were included. 

“We're trying to work out something,” Leahy said late last week. 

The government is funded through Nov. 21. To avoid a shutdown after that, lawmakers either need to pass the 12 fiscal 2020 appropriations bills or another stopgap continuing resolution. 

The Senate has passed none of its 2020 bills, while the House has passed 10. They’ll need to reconcile their bills before a compromise can be sent to Trump. 

Treaties

The Senate will vote this week on a treaty ratifying Macedonia’s membership in NATO.

The Senate’s vote comes after Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoUS to temporarily withdraw some embassy personnel in Baghdad: report Pompeo to host indoor holiday parties at State Department despite warning to employees to hold some missions virtually The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Capital One — Pressure builds as UK approves COVID-19 vaccine MORE said earlier this month that he was “confident” the Senate would formally sign off on the country’s membership in the international organization.

“I am confident that the United States Senate will ratify your accession protocol this fall so that we can formally fold you in to the NATO team,” Pompeo said during a visit to the country. 

In addition to the treaty vote, McConnell also teed up a vote on Andrew Bremberg’s nomination for ambassador to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva.