FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

Week of December 5, 2022

Congressional
Outlook

Congress returns to Washington, D.C., with 11 days to pass a fiscal year 2023 federal spending bill, as the current bill expires on December 16. Also on the docket is the must-pass annual defense authorization bill.

 

Federal government spending is the hot topic of discussion for lawmakers, and topline spending numbers were the center of this weekend’s continued negotiations. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) was hoping for a deal by today. However, there is speculation that a deal will not be made before Wednesday. Negotiations center specifically around non-defense spending, where Republicans hope to keep additional funding down after they argue social programs received significant funding through the Inflation Reduction Act. The topline numbers are critical to unlocking the rest of the process. An agreement allows appropriators to finalize the 12 annual spending bills. A week-long continuing resolution (CR) is expected to be passed by the December 16 deadline, keeping the federal government open through December 23. However, there is speculation that the funding dilemma could wage until December 30 or New Year’s Eve. All told, time is running out for an omnibus package, and failure to reach a compromise could result in a full-year CR at fiscal year 2022 funding levels. Note, earmarks would not be included in a long-term CR. Tax extenders have entered the conversation as a potential omnibus policy rider, which could feature the expanded Child Tax Credit. Like everything else, inclusion is uncertain. 

 

Lawmakers will release the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 (HR 7776) sometime today. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, confirmed the bill’s release on Saturday after the House and Senate settled on $858 billion for defense spending. That is $45 billion higher than requested by the Biden Administration. One item conservatives want to add to the NDAA is a provision that would end the Defense Department’s Covid vaccine mandate. Also, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is making a last-ditch effort to include permitting reform in the NDAA, which would speed up approval of clean energy, pipeline, and electricity transmission projects.

 

The House will consider 12 bills under suspension of the rules, including the Senate-passed Community Disaster Resilience Zones Act of 2022 (S 3875), which would maintain a natural disaster hazard assessment program that develops and maintains publicly available products to show the risk of natural hazards across the United States. The House will also vote on the Senate-passed Disaster Assistance for Rural Communities Act (S 1617), which would authorize the Small Business Administration (SBA) to declare a disaster in rural areas impacted by significant damage and provide certain assistance. 


After the Senate passed same-sex marriage legislation, the House will vote on the measure this week, sending it to the President for signature. 


Senate Democrats will hold leadership elections on Thursday, in a largely ceremonial fashion, as no returning members face a challenge. Nominated President Pro Tempore Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) is expected to receive unanimous support.

Various House and Senate committees will hold hearings this week, including a Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee hearing on “Farm Bill 2023: Research Programs,” and the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee hearing on “Building Regional Innovation Economies Part II.” 



On Tuesday, the Georgia Senate Runoff will conclude in the race between incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Republican challenger Herschel Walker

Last Week

House GOP votes down earmark ban proposal READ MORE

 

NDAA coming Monday, Smith pledges it will pass READ MORE

 

House, Senate negotiators agree to add $45B to Biden’s defense budget READ MORE


House, Senate negotiators set to meet on omnibus funding READ MORE

FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

Week of November 21, 2022

Congressional
Outlook

Congress is on recess for the Thanksgiving holiday returning next week for a month-long sprint to address several legislative priorities and two must-pass bills. Last week, TFG published a Special Report on the lame-duck session and results from the 2022 midterm elections.


The two must-pass legislative items are the fiscal year (FY) 2023 government spending package and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The federal government is currently funded through December 16 and Congress has yet to settle on topline spending numbers. Additionally, the White House requested $37.7 billion in funding for Ukraine, $10 billion for Covid relief, and funding for hurricane and other natural disaster relief. Regarding NDAA, the House Armed Services Committee Chair and Ranking member predict a final version of the bill could be ready for a vote by the first week in December.


When lawmakers return to Washington, the Senate will vote on the Respect for Marriage Act (HR 8404) to codify the right to same-sex marriage. The bill cleared a critical procedural hurdle securing 60 votes to proceed to a vote, garnering support from 50 Democrats and 12 Republicans. This bill is among the highest priority items for Congress to address before the new members are seated in January, and it marks a significant nexus of bipartisan agreement in a sharply divided legislature.


Two priorities not receiving lame-duck consideration are permitting reform and the debt limit.


Next week, the House Republican Conference will decide rules for the 118th Congress, including a vote on the lower chamber’s stance on earmarks – known in the House as community project funding - that will be of interest to public agencies across the country. A vote to end the practice of earmarking in the House will be close as the Freedom Caucus has called for a permanent ban.


Republicans took control of the House with a slim majority and selected Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to serve as Speaker of the House when the next Congress convenes on January 3. McCarthy faced a challenge from House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and won comfortably with a vote of 188-31. On Thursday, current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced that she would not seek a leadership role for Democrats in the 118th Congress. The decision comes after she led House Democrats for nearly 20 years. House Democrats will hold caucus elections on November 30 and December 1. They will usher in new leaders in the top three positions, Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) as Minority Leader, Katherine Clark (D-MA) as Minority Whip, and Pete Aguilar (D-CA) as Caucus Chair. 


In the Senate, Democrats retain the majority in the 118th Congress. Senate Republicans held leadership elections on Wednesday. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) won a secret ballot vote over challenger Rick Scott (R-FL) on a 37-10-1 vote. Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R- SD) and Senate Conference Chair John Barrasso (R-WY) won third and final terms in their current roles. Montana Republican Senator Steve Daines replaces Senator Rick Scott to oversee the party’s efforts to win control of the Senate in 2024. Senate Democrats will vote on leadership on December 8, with Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to continue to lead the party.


Both parties and chambers will select committee leaders for the 118th Congress, as retirements will cause most of the expected changes amongst committee leadership. Seven Senate committee leaders are retiring; six are Republicans, while both lead Senate appropriators are retiring. Seven House leaders won’t return on the House side, including Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and House Administration Ranking member Rodney Davis (R-IL), who lost their primaries. Votes on Congressional committee leadership positions will formally occur at the beginning of the new Congress.

Last Week

Here’s who won open House seats in the 2022 midtermsREAD MORE

 

McCarthy backed for speaker, but has work to do before January READ MORE

 

New National Broadband Map Offers Granular Look at Service and Gaps READ MORE

 

Pelosi to step down from House leadership, stay in Congress READ MORE

 

The quacking begins: A look at the lame-duck agenda READ MORE

 

McCarthy's next step on the GOP tightrope: Navigating concessions to conservatives READ MORE

 

White House requests $37.7 billion in new Ukraine funding, $10 billion for Covid relief READ MORE

FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

Week of October 3, 2022

Congressional
Outlook

After passing a continuing resolution funding the federal government until Friday, December 16, the House and Senate are in recess until Monday, November 14. Members will return to their districts and states to campaign for the November 8 midterm elections. TFG’s Weekly Legislative Update will pause and return with the return of Congress on November 14.

 

Upon returning to Washington, lawmakers will face a packed agenda for the “lame-duck session.” A lame-duck session of Congress occurs after a November election and before the beginning of the new Congress on January 3. In a floor speech last week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said, “Members should be prepared for an extremely, underline extremely, busy agenda in the last two months of this Congress.” The “extremely busy” comment surrounding the lame duck session comes as Congress will spend the latter half of November and all of December working on a long list of legislative items.

 

Several key items left for Congress to deal with in the lame-duck session include the FY23 omnibus spending package and the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). With government funding elapsing on December 16, lawmakers will work towards passing an omnibus spending package, a long-term funding bill that will keep the government open through September 30, 2023, and that will likely include disaster aid for Florida, Puerto Rico, and Alaska. Talks between negotiators have remained ongoing. The must-pass NDAA legislation will technically begin debate on the Senate floor on October 11. The deal to begin debate – even with low attendance – will allow the Senate to bring the long-time bipartisan bill for a vote in mid-November. The NDAA will then undergo a conference between both chambers to resolve bill differences. Congress will also decide on taking up legislation centering around protecting the right to same-sex marriage, election reform, which would make it harder to decertify a presidential election, Congressional stock trading, a bill to limit stock trading by members of Congress, and completion of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2022. The Senate will likely act on President Biden’s 44 nominees for federal judgeships awaiting Senate confirmation. If the Republicans win majorities in one or both chambers, the party will likely want a clear legislative slate to work from, making the lame-duck session more critical.

Last Week

Biden signs spending bill that averts government shutdown READ MORE

 

Manchin backs off permitting reform in spending bill READ MORE

 

Senate done voting until Nov. 14, setting up ‘extremely busy’ lame duck session READ MORE

 

Senate preps piecemeal plan for NDAA READ MORE


Eight U.S. Senate races to watch in November's midterm elections READ MORE

 

Five cases to watch as a conservative Supreme Court begins its new term READ MORE


Hurricane Ian death toll climbs to 83, officials defend response READ MORE

FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

Week of September 19, 2022

Congressional
Outlook

The House and Senate are in session. The two chambers will continue to work on outstanding legislative items before Election Day, which is just 50 days away.


This week, the House will consider 26 bills under suspension of the rules, including the Senate-passed Bridging the Gap for New Americans Act (S 3157), which would require the Secretary of Labor to conduct a study of the factors affecting employment opportunities for immigrants and refugees with professional credentials obtained in foreign countries. The House also will vote on the Peace Corps Reauthorization Act of 2022 (HR 1456), which authorizes $861 million for the Peace Corps for fiscal 2023 and 2024 and benefits and would expand protections for volunteers. The Senate will continue voting on court nominations.

 

Congress now only has two weeks to finalize a stopgap government funding package, known as a continuing resolution (CR). Funds for the federal government expire on September 30 at midnight. Many expect an introduction of the stopgap legislation sometime this week. The main legislative items that may accompany the CR are permitting reform and various types of relief aid.

 

The first issue, permitting reform, was a critical component of the negotiations on the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) between Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Sen. Manchin agreed to support the IRA, providing social and climate funding and policy changes in exchange for permitting reform in the weeks following. Following the passage of the climate and health care legislation, the issue of overhauling permitting faces significant pushback from progressives within the Democratic party in both the House and Senate. Sen. Manchin said last week on the prospects of passing the permitting reform legislation that his fellow West Virginia Senator, Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), who is working with the Republican Conference on the issue, would need to convince 20 members to vote for his legislation. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) said Friday that he opposes the bill joining Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), which would expand the total to 12 Republican votes needed to meet the 60-vote threshold in the Senate.

 

Relief aid is the second issue that could get added to the CR. The White House has requested $47 billion in funding for Ukraine, COVID-19, monkeypox, and disaster relief. On Sunday, President Biden said in a 60 Minutes interview that “the pandemic is over.” This comment will further complicate the funding request that the administration has shared with Congress and hopes for its funding in the CR. Before Congress returned to session, the White House requested over $22 billion for “immediate short-term domestic needs, including testing, and to support the global response to COVID-19.” Republicans have maintained opposition to increased COVID-19 funding, which some believe could get dropped from the bill.

 

The House and Senate will hold several hearings for the remainder of the week, including a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on “Putting the Bipartisan Infrastructure law to work, focusing on state and local perspectives.” The House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold a hearing on the “Public Lands and Waters Climate Leadership Act of 2022,” an Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry hearing on “A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Stakeholder Perspectives on Title II Conservation Programs” and a Homeland Security Committee hearing on “Critical Infrastructure Preparedness and Resilience: A Focus on Water.” 

Last Week

With Shutdown Deadline Looming, Funding Bill Bogs Down READ MORE

 

Permitting overhaul in peril as funding deadline looms READMORE

 

Manchin Says He May Need 20 GOP Votes for Energy-Permitting Plan READ MORE

 

Joe Biden says the COVID-19 pandemic is over. This is what the data tells us READ MORE

FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

Week of September 12, 2022

Congressional
Outlook

The House and Senate are in session for three weeks before breaking for midterm elections. There are several outstanding legislative items that face significant hurdles before Election Day - 57 days away.


This week the House will consider 16 bills under suspension of the rules, including the Expediting Disaster Recovery Act (HR 5774), which after the declaration of a major disaster, authorizes the President to direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide the federal assistance necessary to meet unmet needs as a result of such disaster. The House also will vote on the Wildfire Recovery Act (HR 1066), which authorizes FEMA to use funds appropriated for disaster relief to increase the federal cost share from the current 75 percent up to 100 percent for fire management assistance grants, at the agency’s discretion. The Senate will vote on several circuit court nominations.

 

The federal government is funded through September 30 at midnight. Over the next few weeks, Congress must finalize a stop-gap government funding package, known as a continuing resolution (CR). The latest negotiations between House and Senate leadership will extend government funding through December 16. Current discussion centers around permitting reform, an agreement originating from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) negotiations between Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). This agreement was the tipping point for passage of the IRA and now takes center stage in negotiations around the CR. However, more than 70 House progressives wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) expressing their concerns over permitting reform and urging the Speaker not to include the measure in a CR. The letter says legislation added to change permitting “attempts to short-circuit or undermine the law in the name of “reform” must be opposed.” Many believe the addition of the permitting reform, an issue crucial to Senator Manchin, would potentially threaten a shutdown of the federal government. Senator Manchin has called for a “pragmatic proposal,” while fellow Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) said he would vote against the funding bill. If Majority Leader Schumer chooses to forego securing all 50 Democrat votes, he would need to get help from Senate Republicans, a move that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says would likely only come with a “real permitting reform bill” authored by Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).

 

The White House is still hopeful that a CR will include $47 billion in funding for Ukraine, COVID-19, monkeypox, and disaster relief outlined in its request. Republicans still maintain that the White House can use funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to meet any needs for testing and future vaccine development. Plans to attach House-passed same-sex marriage codification to the government funding bill remain in the air as Senator Schumer considers adding the legislation to make good on his promise to force a vote on the matter. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) serves as the lead Republican on the same-sex marriage legislation and is working alongside Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to craft a “religious liberty” amendment to recruit more Republican votes. The Senate will begin floor action on a CR next week. What will be included in the final CR remains uncertain, but there is little appetite to force a government shutdown, especially right before the midterm elections.

 

Congress announced Phase III of its reopening plan, including allowing tours of both floors in the House and Senate. The decision is another step toward normalcy following the pandemic, which shut down public access to the Capitol. Chief among the issues to fully reopening the Capitol were staffing concerns for Capitol Police.


For the remainder of the week, the House and Senate will hold several hearings, including a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee nomination hearing for “Shailen P. Bhatt to be Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration of the Department of Transportation.” The House Committee on Agriculture will hold a hearing on “A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Broadband,” and a Small Business Subcommittee hearing on “Supporting Youth Apprenticeship, Entrepreneurship, and Workforce Development.” Tomorrow, Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island will hold their primary elections.

Last Week

Senate to move on marriage equality, House reconvenes READ MORE


Senate grapples with election reform legislation as time runs short to act READ MORE


House reopens floor tours in latest step toward normalcy READ MORE


Senate leans toward Dec. 16 stopgap funding bill READ MORE


Progressive opposition grows ahead of permitting bill release READ MORE


Schumer promises Senate vote on same-sex marriage bill ‘in the coming weeks’ READ MORE

FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

Week of September 6, 2022

Congressional
Outlook

The Senate returns to Washington this week following a month-long recess. The House will return on September 13. There are only 24 days until government funding expires and limited legislative days before the midterm elections.

 

One of the important legislative items that Congress will address before the midterm elections—the only “must pass” bill—is a stop-gap government funding package known as a continuing resolution (CR), with funding set to expire on September 30 at midnight. There are rumors that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is mulling over plans to attach House-passed same-sex marriage codification to the government funding bill. Many are pointing to the five Republican members (Sens. Susan Collins (ME), Ron Johnson (WI), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Rob Portman (OH), and Thom Tillis (NC)) who have agreed to support same-sex legislation if a vote were to occur as a hopeful sign for possible passage. Even with the support mentioned above, the measure would need five more Republican votes to overcome the 60-vote filibuster threshold. It is important to note that 47 House Republicans voted in favor of the same-sex marriage legislation in the House. Another provision that could potentially be attached to the short-term CR is permitting reform, which negotiators agreed to during talks on the Inflation Reduction Act (signed into law on August 16) between Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Majority Leader Schumer. Without the agreement for permitting reform, the $740 billion reconciliation package would likely be for not. Currently, there is no legislative text on permitting changes, but Senator Manchin has mentioned provisions that he would want to be included in the legislation. The continuing resolution will likely extend government funding until mid-December.

 

The White House has outlined its CR requests to Congress, centering around four main asks. Those four requests include support for Ukraine, COVID-19, Monkeypox, and natural disaster recovery. . For Ukraine, the White House has requested $11.7 billion for security and economic assistance and $2 billion to bolster the domestic energy supply and reduce energy costs. To meet what the release calls “immediate short-term domestic needs” related to COVID-19, including testing and future vaccine development, the White House requested $22.4. The administration also asked for $4.5 billion to fight Monkeypox and additional funds to help communities impacted by natural disasters nationwide. Republicans have alluded to supporting an increase in Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief fund and aid to Ukraine, but more money for COVID-19 and Monkeypox remain sticking points.

 

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) plans to prioritize consideration of many of the Biden administration’s nominees over the next few weeks, especially those slated for judicial appointments. Senator Durbin intends to raise the number of confirmed judges under the Biden administration from 76 to around 100, including Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, 18 circuit judges, and 57 district court judges to . The opportunity to focus the Senate’s attention on nominations comes after the passage of several significant legislative items, clearing the Senate floor schedule to consider nominees. The Majority Leader will also consider bringing the bipartisan $857.5 Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 National Defense Authorization Act to the floor before the midterm election.

 

For the remainder of the week, the House and Senate will hold several hearings, including a Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hearing on multiple bills regarding environmental air quality, and a Senate Judiciary Committee nomination hearing for “U.S. Circuit and District Court Judges.” The House Committee on Natural Resources will hold a field hearing on “Power in the Pacific: Unlocking Offshore Wind Energy for the American West.” Separately, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) will miss votes as he recovers from hip replacement surgery. Today, Massachusetts will hold its primary elections, with all nine Democrat incumbents running unopposed. 

Last Week

Biden signs Inflation Reduction Act into law READ MORE

 

Democrats eye vote on marriage equality as Senate reconvenes READ MORE

 

President Biden Announces Student Loan Relief for Borrowers READ MORE

 

Senate prepares to pick up the judicial-pick pace as November looms READ MORE

 

McConnell predicts the House is more likely to flip than the Senate READ MORE

 

Biden administration unveils plan for bolstering semiconductor production READ MORE

 

Seven races that could determine control of the House READ MORE

FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

Week of August 15, 2022

Congressional
Outlook

While Congress is in recess for the remainder of August, the Legislative Update will pause and return on Tuesday, September 6 (following Labor Day). In the meantime, if you have a legislative inquiry, do not hesitate to contact to your client manager.

 

We hope you are having a happy and safe summer!

FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
Week of August 8, 2022
Congressional
Outlook
The House returns Friday to take up the reconciliation package after Senate passage, and the Senate is in recess this week. The Legislative Update will return on Tuesday, September 6 when the Senate returns to Washington following the end of its summer recess.
 
On Sunday, the Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 by a vote of 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie. The Senate’s passage of the $740 billion FY 2022 budget reconciliation bill, negotiated by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), features three main legislative items: tax reform, prescription drug changes, and energy and climate change investments. The bill underwent a “Byrd-bath” by the Senate Parliamentarian to ensure all the provisions in the package followed the Senate’s technical rules. Following a few procedural changes, consideration of 37 amendments, and more than 24 hours of debate, the Senate completed a “vote-a-rama” that lasted into Sunday afternoon. The package includes $369 billion in climate and clean energy policies, including incentives for renewable energy, hydrogen, nuclear and electric vehicles. The bill also has $60 billion for environmental justice programs. President Joe Biden said that he looks “forward to signing [the bill] into law.”
 
As the legislation heads to the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said in a press release, “the House will return and move swiftly to send this bill to the President’s desk — proudly building a healthier, cleaner, fairer future for all Americans.” With the House returning Friday, the legislation expects to sail through the lower chamber without any significant changes and head to President Biden’s desk for signature. Adding to the almost guarantee of passage is a statement of support from the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of centrist House Democrats that, during original Build Back Better Act discussions last fall, were critical to some of the finer details. Democrats can only lose four votes on the Inflation Reduction Act vote Friday. In addition to leaving isolation after a second COVID-19 test, President Biden will sign the CHIPS and PACT bills into law at events on Tuesday and Wednesday, and many expect the President to sign the Inflation Reduction Act into law shortly after its expected passage in the House on Friday.
 
For the remainder of the week, the House will hold one hearing, a Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth field hearing in Seattle, Washington on “Lessons from Seattle: New Horizons for Workers’ Pay, Benefits, and Protections.” On Thursday, many House members will attendthe funeral of the late Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and two of her staff members who were killed in a vehicle collision in Indiana last week. Over the next four weeks, several states will hold their primary elections, including Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, Wisconsin, Hawaii, Alaska, Wyoming, Florida, New York (House), Massachusetts, Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.
Last Week
Senate passes sweeping tax, climate package after marathon vote; Harris breaks tie READ MORE
 
Senate sends veterans health care bill to Biden READ MORE
 
White House Retrofits Infrastructure Bill to Better Help Poor Communities READ MORE
 
Earmarks in Senate bills favor small states, retiring senatorsREAD MORE

Biden administration declares the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency READ MORE
 
House looks to take up climate, taxes, health care bill next Friday READ MORE

Senate backs Finland and Sweden joining NATO READ MORE
 
Indiana Rep. Jackie Walorski and two staffers killed in car crash READ MORE
 
Funeral for Rep. Jackie Walorski set for Thursday READ MORE
 
Senate parliamentarian kills key policy in Dem reconciliation bill READ MORE
 
Sinema eyes changes to tax, climate portions of reconciliation bill READ MORE

FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
Week of August 1, 2022
Congressional
Outlook
The Senate is in session this week, while the House is in recess through September 12. However, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) noted that Members should prepare for a potential return to Washington in August if the Senate clears a reconciliation package.
 
Last week, Congress passed the $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 (H.R. 4346), sending the legislation to the White House for President Joe Biden’s signature. Shortly after the upper chamber passed the legislation by a bipartisan vote of 64-33, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) revealed that he and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) had reached an agreement on a FY2022 budget reconciliation bill. The decision to pursue a reconciliation package came after Senate Republicans only agreed to support the China competitiveness bill if Democrats ended plans to pass a reconciliation bill. The deal invests $433 billion over 10 years with climate change and healthcare provisions, fully paid for by increased taxes to the wealthiest Americans and the imposition of a 15% corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT). Specifically, the slimmed-down bill, called the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (H. R. 5376), would provide $369 billion for energy security and climate change-related programs and $64 billion to extend an Affordable Care Act program through 2025. The measure is currently undergoing a “Byrd-bath” by the Senate Parliamentarian to ensure that all measures abide by the Byrd rules of the chamber. Following this technical review, the bill could come to the floor for a vote by the end of this week for the lengthy voting process, commonly known as “vote-a-rama,” that could last into the weekend. In a 50-50 Senate, Democrats would need all 50 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus to vote for the bill. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) has not yet revealed her position—she has stated previous opposition to specific taxation measures which are included in the updated text of the legislation. If the Senate passes the legislation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has agreed to pass the legislation in the House later this month.
 
The Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022 (S. 3373), which would help millions of veterans exposed to toxic substances during military service, failed to advance for a final vote in the Senate last week, by a vote of 55-42—60 votes were needed to avoid a filibuster. The bill was poised for passage until 25 Senate Republicans switched their vote over a discrepancy on discretionary versus mandatory spending issues in the legislation. Several Senate Republicans are requesting a vote on an amendment offered by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) to make future funding discretionary instead of mandatory. Majority Leader Schumer agreed and said during a press conference on Sunday, “I will hold a new vote this week, and I am urging everyone to vote ‘yes.’ The legislation will pass and head to the White House to become law.”
 
The House passed the Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act (H.R. 5118) on Friday by a vote of 218-199. The 49-bill package invests in federal wildfire response and mitigation efforts and drought relief measures. Lead sponsor Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) said the bill provides an opportunity “to set the marker down about what wildfire response and drought resiliency effort could look like.” Many have begun to speculate on the bill’s Senate prospects as Republicans have opposed the measure as it would create programs and authorizations without fully funding the agencies to carry them out, including a $20/hour minimum pay for federal firefighters. Chief among the challenges for passage in the Senate is a busy legislative calendar ahead of the November midterm elections.
 
For the remainder of the week, several Senate committees will hold hearings, including a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation subcommittee hearing on “The Future of Spectrum” and a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on “How Renters and Communities are Impacted by Today’s Housing Market.” The Senate will also vote on Elizabeth Hanes’ nomination as U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia. Six states will hold their primary elections on Tuesday, including Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Washington.
Last Week
Chairman Leahy Releases Fiscal Year 2023 Senate Appropriations Bills READ MORE
 
House passes bill to boost U.S. chip production and China competition, sending it to Biden READ MORE
 
Schumer, Manchin announce deal on reconciliation bill with tax, climate, energy provisions READ MORE
 
Senate Passes the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 READ MORE
 
Bill aiding veterans impacted by burn pits, other toxic chemicals stopped by GOP READ MORE
 
House approves bill to help West fight wildfires, droughtREAD MORE
 
President Biden tests positive for COVID in rebound case, returns to isolation READ MORE
 
House passes assault weapons ban that’s doomed in the Senate READ MORE
 
Senate passes bills for recycling data collection, rural infrastructure grants READ MORE
 
Treasury Releases Updated ARPA Recovery Fund Guidance Providing Additional Flexibility to Use Funds for Affordable Housing READ MORE
 
DOT Announces $7.3 Billion PROTECT Formula Program for Resilient Transportation Infrastructure READ MORE

FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
Week of July 25, 2022
Congressional
Outlook
The House and Senate are in session this week. Both chambers will focus on the passage of the semiconductor bill to improve U.S. competitiveness with China. 
 
Last week, the Senate cleared the first procedural hurdle for the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America or the “CHIPS plus” bill, which includes over $52 billion in grants and incentives to increase domestic semiconductor manufacturing by a bipartisan vote of 64-34. After the vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) added a 1,000-page amendment to the bill with funding for several agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Commerce Department. Sen. Schumer called for passage of the legislation early this week, which would send it over to the House for consideration prior to that chamber’s  August recess. The Senate expects to pass the legislation by Tuesday or Wednesday, with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) ensuring action in the House as soon as the bill is “ready.” 
 
Once the CHIPS-plus bill passes, Senate Democratic leadership will consider taking up the Respect for Marriage Act (H.R. 8404) for the remainder of the work week. This move comes after the House passed the bill, which codifies same-sex marriage into law, by a vote of 267-157, with 47 Republicans joining with all Democrats to support the bill. One of the Senate cosponsors, Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), believes there is a possibility for the bill to receive at least 10 Republican votes needed to break a filibuster. Regarding the budget reconciliation bill, the Senate is still awaiting guidance from the Senate’s parliamentarian on the smaller package lowering prescription drug prices and extending Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies. The House-passed Water Resources Development Act of 2022 (H.R. 7776) expects to clear the Senate before the August recess, setting up a conference between the two chambers to work through their differences. The Senate will also likely vote on legislation to add Finland and Sweden to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which passed in the House by a vote of 394-18.
 
Leader Hoyer mentioned last week the potential of the House returning early, potentially in the last two weeks of August, if the Senate passes a reconciliation bill. As stated earlier, the House will likely vote on the CHIPS-plus bill and the Assault Weapons Ban of 2021 (H.R.1808), a renewal of the assault weapons ban for the first time since 1994. In addition, House lawmakers expect to vote on several other measures, including a package addressing drought and wildfires in the West and additional FY 2023 spending bills, after passing 6 of the 12 bills last week. The Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act (H.R. 5118), a package of 48 bills, would boost pay and benefits for wildland firefighters, help the Forest Service fill gaps in fire management staff, and promote more significant forest management projects to reduce hazardous fuels, in addition to several water-related provisions. Other legislation the House may consider this week includes the Invest to Protect Act of 2022 (H.R. 6448); the COPS on the Beat Grant Program Reauthorization and Parity Act of 2022 (H.R. 6375); the Break the Cycle of Violence Act (H.R. 4118); the Mental Health Justice Act of 2021 (H.R. 1368); the VICTIM Act of 2022 (H.R. 5768); the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act of 2022 (H.R. 2814); the Big Cat Public Safety Act (H.R. 263); the Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID–19 Act of 2022 (H.R. 4040); the South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act of 2022 (H.R. 3771); and the Susan Muffley Act of 2022 (H.R. 6929). The House will also potentially consider 29 bills under suspension of the rules, including the Federal PFAS Research Evaluation Act (H.R. 7289), requiring various studies and reports on the exposure, hazards, and management of PFAS. 
 
For the remainder of the week, several House and Senate committees will hold hearings, including a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Law Enforcement Officer Safety: Protecting Those Who Protect and Serve”; a House Natural Resources Subcommittee hearing on “Preventing Polluters from Getting Government Contracts: Bureau of Land Management’s Corporate Exclusions Lists”; and a House Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth hearing on “Building a Modern Economic Foundation: Economic Security and Income Support for 21st Century America.”
 
The Senate Appropriations Committee is also expected to release the draft text of all twelve of its FY 2023 spending bills by Friday, July 29, including lists of all accepted earmark requests submitted by senators in May.
Last Week
Senate advances more than $50 billion bill to boost U.S. semiconductor production READ MORE
 
House Passes Six-Bill Government Funding Package READ MORE
 
House passes bill protecting marriage equality, with 47 GOP members voting ‘yes’ READ MORE
 
Biden 'hoping' inflation cools as gas prices fall daily for more than a month READ MORE
 
Manchin pumps brakes: Bill ‘needs to be scrubbed much better’ READ MORE
 
President Biden Releases Safer America Plan READ MORE
 
House committee advances bill to ban assault weapons READ MORE
 
Biden tests positive for Covid-19 and is experiencing mild symptoms READ MORE
 
House approves resolution supporting Finland, Sweden joining NATO READ MORE

FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
Week of July 18, 2022
Congressional
Outlook
The House and Senate are in session this week.
 
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) put a stop to a larger pre-August recess reconciliation bill Friday, saying he would only consider a tax and climate provisions in September citing a desire to see the U.S. inflation numbers. On Thursday, Senator Manchin rejectedSenate Democrats’ proposed energy and climate investments, as well as their goals of increasing taxes on the wealthy and large corporations. Senator Manchin did, however, say he would support a smaller package lowering prescription drug prices and extending Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies, two critical pieces of the Biden administration’s legislative agenda. This week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will move forward with the smaller reconciliation package before the August recess, potentially preventing millions of Americans from having their ACA premiums rise in January.
 
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was on record saying he would not support the USICA bill, a bipartisan package to fund $50 billion in semiconductor programs and advanced microelectronics research, if Democrats moved forward with a reconciliation package. The guidelines agreed to currently allow for a semiconductor bill to move ahead, according to Senator John Cornyn (R-TX). Majority Leader Schumer will now work to bring the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America bill, which includes over $52 billion in grants and incentives to increase semiconductor manufacturing and competition with China, to a vote as early as Tuesday. Senate Democratic leaders said they wouldn’t be marking up any appropriation measures before recess, making it likely that Congress will need to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government open past September 30.
 
The House will consider a six-bill appropriations minibus following a Rules Committee meeting to set floor debate terms. The package, H.R. 8294, contains the Agriculture-FDA, Energy and Water Development, Financial Services-General Government, Interior-Environment, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and Transportation-HUD bills. The House will likely consider the remaining six FY23 spending bills during the week of July 25. The House will also vote on the Right to Contraception Act (H.R. 8373), a bill that would codify the right to obtain and use contraceptives and the rights of healthcare providers to deliver contraceptives and relevant information to their patients. For the remainder of the week, the House will also vote on 10 bills under suspension of the rules, including the National Park Foundation Reauthorization Act of 2022 (H.R. 7693), increasing the annual authorization for the foundation to $15 million from $5 million, and the Biking on Long-Distance Trails Act (H.R.6337), which would require the Agriculture and Interior departments to identify potential long-distance bike trails on federal recreational lands.
 
For the remainder of the week, several House and Senate committees will hold hearings, including a House Transportation and Infrastructure hearing on "Implementing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act” and a House Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodities and Risk Management hearingon “A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Stakeholder Perspectives on Title XI Crop Insurance.” The House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol will also hold a primetime hearing on Thursday. The state of Maryland will hold their primary elections on Tuesday.
Last Week
Manchin's offer to Dems: Take a health care deal or try again later READ MORE
 
Senate poised for vote on semiconductor bill after Manchin again shrinks Dems' reconciliation package READ MORE
 
Democrats push for climate deal as time runs short READ MORE
 
Schumer to move on long-awaited bill to boost semiconductor industry READ MORE
 
Manchin pumps brakes: Bill ‘needs to be scrubbed much better’ READ MORE
 
U.S. annual consumer inflation posts largest increase since 1981 READ MORE
 
Manchin rejects adding climate spending, tax hikes on wealthy, striking blow to Biden agenda READ MORE
 
Senate confirms Steve Dettelbach as Biden's pick to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and ExplosivesREAD MORE
 
Barr confirmed as Fed's newest governor as inflation roarsREAD MORE

FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
Week of July 5, 2022
Congressional
Outlook
The House and Senate are in recess until the week of July 11.
Upon their return next week, Congress will attempt to complete several legislative items before the August recess. The House will have a shorter time in session than the Senate, which will depart for its four-week summer recess on August 5. Last week, House appropriators finished full committee markups of all twelve Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 spending bills. Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Pat Leahy (D-VT) said he expects the Senate Appropriations Committee will begin markups of their versions of the FY23 spending bills when the Senate returns to Washington on July 11. Further complicating matters is the recovery of Chair Leahy, who recently fell and broke his hip. The process, however, can continue as Chair Leahy can vote via proxy for committee votes.

The House will consider the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2023 (H.R. 7900) during the week of July 11, which the House Armed Services Committee marked up and passed on June 23 by a vote of 57-1. The legislation authorizes$840 billion for national defense in the fiscal year starting October 1. House members have filed more than 1,100 amendments to the bill. The version of the FY23 NDAA passed by the House will need to be reconciled with the versionadvanced by the Senate Armed Services Committee last month, which the upper chamber will likely pass in the coming months.

When the Senate returns during the week of July 11, it will consider three nominations made by President Joe Biden: Ashish Vazirani to be Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness; Steven Dettelbach to be Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and Michael Barr to be a Member and Vice Chairman for Supervision of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

The conference committee of the Senate-passed United States Innovation and Competition Act (USCIA) of 2021 (S. 1260) and the House-passed America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength (America COMPETES) Act of 2022 (H.R. 4521) will aim to resolve differences centering around international climate funding, labor, and trade-related issues. Many believe that if this legislation does not pass before the summer recess, it will fall by the wayside as Congress will have other matters on its plate right before the midterm elections. New to this bipartisan legislative item’s pathway to passage is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) threat to block the bill, which would boost the semiconductor industry, if Democrats try to lower prescription drug prices and add taxes to America’s wealthiest individuals. The bill, commonly referred to as USICA, was the subject of a tweet by the Minority Leader stating, “there will be no bipartisan USICA as long as Democrats are pursuing a partisan reconciliation bill.” The USICA would invest $50 billion in semiconductor programs and advanced microelectronics research. Continued negotiations are sure to play out over the next few weeks.

The attempt, as mentioned above, to pass a budget reconciliation bill is a final attempt by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) to revive segments of the Build Back Better (BBB) Act. Core to the reconciliation bill is the lowering of prescription drug prices, specifically allowing Medicare to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies. The reconciliation bill would also include climate and other social elements similar to what existed in the House-passed version of the BBB Act. Sens. Machin and Schumer have negotiated this smaller package over the past several weeks, and some believe considerable momentum exists. The package details have remained under wraps, but reports last week indicate that Senate Democrats may submit a “finalized agreement” in the coming days to ensure the package complies with the Senate’s budget rules. Crucial to an agreement on any tax provisions in the agreement will be Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), who has remained firm on her stance that she will not support higher tax rates. In order to advance any legislation, all 50 Democrats must vote for the bill.
Last Week
Senate Democrats see 'major progress' on Biden agenda bill, hope for July vote READ MORE
 
Mitch McConnell Takes Bipartisan Bill Hostage To Block Democrats' Prescription Drug Bill READ MORE
 
House spending bills spread around $8 billion worth of earmarks READ MORE
 
Biden Administration Announces First-Ever Funding Program Dedicated to Reconnecting American CommunitiesREAD MORE
 
Ketanji Brown Jackson sworn in as Supreme Court justiceREAD MORE
 
With time ticking for climate action, Supreme Court limits ways to curb emissions READ MORE
 
Supreme Court says Biden can end Trump-era ‘Remain in Mexico’ immigration policy READ MORE
 
Leahy’s surgery could complicate Democratic agenda READ MORE
 

FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
Week of June 27, 2022
Congressional
Outlook
The House is holding virtual Committee Work Days this week, while the Senate is in recess until July 11. 
 
On Saturday, President Joe Biden signed into law the most significant gun legislation to pass in Congress in nearly 30 years, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (S. 2938). On Friday, the House passed S. 2938 by a vote of 234-193, following passage in the Senate. Following weeks of negotiations led by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX), the Senate passed the bill on Thursday night with a bipartisan vote of 65-33. The $13 billion bill provides significant provisions for state and local communities. The legislation aids states in setting up “red flag” laws, provides billions in funding for mental health and school safety resources, works to close the “boyfriend loophole,” adds limits to illegal weapons trafficking, enhances background checks for buyers under 21, increases scrutiny on gun sellers evading licensing requirements, and includes other measures. “Congress came together to heed the call of families across the country and passed legislation to address the scourge of gun violence in our communities,” President Biden said in a press release.
 
When Congress returns from its July 4 recess, there are several significant issues to address before the August recess and midterm elections. The conference committee of the Senate-passed United States Innovation and Competition Act (USCIA) of 2021 (S. 1260) and the House-passed America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength (America COMPETES) Act of 2022 (H.R. 4521) will aim to resolve differences centering around climate, labor, and trade-related issues. Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, President Biden called on Congress to pass a law to codify Roe v. Wade. Congress will also consider whether to pass legislation suspending the federal gas tax and the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol will continue holding hearings. 
 
House appropriators will finish their full committee markups this week of Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 spending bills, including Commerce-Justice-Science, Energy and Water, Interior-Environment, Labor-HHS-Education, State and Foreign Operations, and Transportation-HUD. Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Pat Leahy (D-VT) mentioned last week that he expects the Senate Appropriations Committee will begin markups of the FY23 spending bills following the July 4th recess. For the remainder of the week, the House will hold several hybrid committee hearings, including an Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on “Investing in Public Health: Legislation to Support Patients, Workers, and Research;” and an Oversight and Reform Committee hearing to examine “The 2022 National Drug Control Strategy and the Federal Response to the Overdose Crisis.”
Last Week
Biden signs gun safety bill into law READ MORE
 
Congress passes most significant gun reform bill in decades, sends it to Biden READ MORE
 
House passes package addressing mental health READ MORE
 
House passes LGBTQI+ Data Inclusion Act READ MORE
 
House fails to pass bill creating active shooter alert systemREAD MORE
 
Biden Signs Two Bills to Enhance Government Cybersecurity READ MORE
 
Biden signs the school meal waivers bill into law, but free meals are over for many READ MORE
 
Biden Administration Tosses Trump Definition of ‘Habitat’ for Endangered Species READ MORE
 
Chip makers warn Congress’ delay could threaten U.S. expansion READ MORE
 
Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade READ MORE

FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
Week of June 21, 2022
Congressional
Outlook
Congress is in session this week. As the August recess looms, many legislative items are left to address.
 
After last week’s bipartisan agreement on a “framework” for a gun-control package, many expect legislative language to be released later today. The legislation will feature the most significant changes to federal gun laws since the assault weapons ban enacted in 1994. The package would aid states in setting up their own “red flag” laws, provide billions in funding for mental health and school safety resources, close the “boyfriend loophole,” add limits to illegal weapons trafficking, enhance background checks for buyers under 21, increase scrutiny on gun sellers evading licensing requirements, and other measures. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), one of the lead negotiators of the package, told Politico this afternoon of a deal on new gun-safety legislation, with text coming very shortly. If the Senate passes the legislation this week, the House could stay in session into the weekend or return next week to pass the bill and send it to the President for his signature.
 
The top leaders from the House and Senate (Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)) are meeting today regarding the conference status of the Senate-passed United States Innovation and Competition Act (USCIA) of 2021 (S. 1260) and the House-passed America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength (America COMPETES) Act of 2022 (H.R. 4521). Both chambers hope to scale down the overall package and strike a deal by the Fourth of July recess. Significant portions of the bill center around climate, labor, and trade need compromise.
 
President Biden is considering both a federal gas tax holiday and gas rebate cards as a solution to high gas prices for Americans. “I hope I have a decision, based on data I’m looking for, by the end of the week,” said President Biden in Delaware on Monday. The White House would not take any executive action, and Congressional action would be required. Many within the Democratic Party are against a federal gas tax holiday, and Speaker Pelosi is on record stating she does not believe the intended benefits will reach consumers. Other skeptics are uncomfortable taking funds away from infrastructure projects if a pause of federal gas taxes were to take place. Currently, the nationwide average for gas is just over $5 per gallon.
 
The House will vote on 14 bills under suspension of the rules, including the Active Shooter Alert Act of 2022 (H.R. 6538), which grants the Justice Department the ability to create an alert system to notify communities during an active shooter event. The House will also consider the Promoting United States International Leadership in 5G Act (H.R. 1934), which would establish an interagency working group to enhance U.S. leadership at international standards bodies for 5G and future generations of wireless telecommunications and infrastructure. For the remainder of the week, the House will vote on the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022 (H.R. 7666), which reauthorizes, through FY2027, expands, and otherwise modifies various programs, grants, and related activities that focus on mental and behavioral health; the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Health Act (H.R. 5585), which establishes, within the Department of Health and Human Services, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Health to accelerate innovation in health and medicine by investing in high-risk, high-reward research projects; the LGBTQI+ Data Inclusion Act (H.R. 4176), requiring federal agencies that collect information through surveys to assess needed changes in survey methods related to asking questions on sexual orientation and gender identity; and the Senate-passed Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2021 (HR 3967), which addresses health care matters for veterans exposed to toxic substances during their military service.
 
House appropriators will begin their first full committee markupsthis week of Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 spending bills, covering the Agriculture-FDA, Financial Services—General Government, Defense, Homeland Security, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs measures. The Committee will also hold subcommittee markups for the Commerce-Justice-Science, Energy and Water, Interior-Environment, Labor-HHS-Education, State and Foreign Operations, and Transportation-HUD bills throughout the week. For the remainder of the week, the House and Senate will hold several committee hearings, including a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing to “Examine the Toxic Substances Control Act Amendment Implementation;” a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on “Strengthening Energy Infrastructure, Efficiency and Financing;” and a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing to examine “The Reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program, Focusing on Administration perspectives.” Today, the states of Alabama and Georgia will hold primary runoff elections, while Virginia and the District of Columbia will hold their primary elections. 
Last Week
Biden says he’s considering gas tax holiday as admin targets July 4 announcement READ MORE
 
Clock is ticking on the Senate's gun deal: Negotiators stuck on two issues as recess looms READ MORE
 
U.S. House passes a major wildlife conservation spending bill READ MORE
 
House passes special meat investigator bill as Senate action awaits READ MORE
 
Senate passes historic bill to help veterans exposed to burn pits during military service READ MORE
 
Fed announces supersized interest rate hike READ MORE
 
Senate negotiations on gun reforms stall over 'boyfriend' loophole, red flag laws READ MORE
 
White House unveils global steps to speed climate transitionREAD MORE
 
Biden Administration to Start Spending on Cleanup of ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Drinking Water READ MORE
 
Senate confirms 2 SEC commissioners READ MORE
 
Delivering Progress on the Biden-Harris Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan READ MORE
 
Rep. Schrier Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Fund Critical Water Infrastructure, Keep Customer Rates Affordable
 
GOP Senate retirements could spell trouble for earmarks’ future READ MORE

NSDC Federal Legislative Update

FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
Week of June 13, 2022
Congressional
Outlook
 Congress is in session this week.
 
The action driving the week is a bipartisan agreement on a “framework” for a gun-control package. The deal agreed to by a group of 20 senators (10 Democrats and 10 Republicans), led by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT), John Cornyn (R-TX), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Thom Tillis (R-NC), would feature the most significant changes to federal gun laws since the assault weapons ban of 1994. Specifically, the package would aid states in setting up their own “red flag” laws, provide billions in funding for mental health and school safety resources, close the “boyfriend loophole,” add limits to illegal weapons trafficking, enhance background checks for buyers under 21, increase scrutiny on gun sellers evading licensing requirements, and other measures. The joint statement from the working group of 20 senators said of the deal, “our plan saves lives while also protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans.” The framework is said to have the 10 Senate Republican votes needed to reach the 60-vote threshold to overcome a filibuster in the Senate, and some speculate the number could grow to as high as 20. The announcement on Sunday marks a critical first step, and now lawmakers must write and unveil the text of the legislation, expected in the next few days. To pass this legislation before the July 4th recess, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will need to bring the bill to the floor by the end of this week to clear all procedural hurdles.
 
The House will vote on five bills under suspension of the rules, including the Small State and Rural Rescue Act (H.R. 7211), which expands and codifies the responsibilities of FEMA’s Small State and Rural Advocate when helping state and local officials access federal disaster aid. For the remainder of the week, the House will vote on the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act of 2022 (H.R. 2773), which makes state, local, and tribal governments eligible for funding to support wildlife recovery and conservation efforts; the Financial Services Racial Equity, Inclusion, and Economic Justice Act (H.R. 2543), which requires financial institutions and federal banking regulators to disclose their diversity practices and take additional steps to foster equity and inclusion; and the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act (HR 7606), which addresses food and fuel inflation and meat industry consolidation; the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act of 2022 (H.R. 2773), which makes state, local, and tribal governments eligible for funding to support wildlife recovery and conservation efforts.   The Senate will continue consideration of the House-passed Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2021 (HR 3967), which addresses health care matters for veterans exposed to toxic substances during their military service.
  
The House Appropriations Committees will begin marking up the 12 annual government funding bills this week. Starting Wednesday, six of the 12 bills will receive a markup, including the Defense, Legislative Branch, Military Construction-VA, Agriculture-FDA, Homeland Security, and Financial Services spending bills. The bill text should be released 24 hours before the Subcommittee markup. For the remainder of the week, the House and Senate will hold several committee hearings, including a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on “Short And Long Term Solutions To Extreme Drought In The Western U.S.;” and a House Agriculture Committee hearing on “A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Stakeholder Perspectives on Non-SNAP USDA Nutrition Programs.” Tomorrow, the states of Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, and South Carolina will hold primary elections. 
Last Week
U.S. Department of Transportation Open Applications for New Competitive Bridge Investment Program READ MORE
 
Senators strike bipartisan gun safety agreement READ MORE
 
The House passes a gun control bill in response to the Buffalo and Uvalde shootings READ MORE
 
House passes red flag gun legislation in mainly party-line vote READ MORE
 
Lawmakers struggle to address food inflation READ MORE
 
FDA: Pfizer, Moderna vaccines for kids under 6 are safe, effective READ MORE
 
House Select Committee on January 6 holds primetime hearing READ MORE
 
6 midterm questions to answer this week READ MORE
 
Senate confirms Jacobs-Young as USDA undersecretaryREAD MORE
 
Senate Confirms Kenneth Wainstein to Lead DHS Intelligence and Analysis READ MORE
 

NSDC Federal Legislative Update

FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
Week of May 31, 2022
Congressional
Outlook
Congress is out of session following Memorial Day.
 
Even with Congress out, the House Judiciary Committee will hold an emergency hearing on Thursday to mark up a gun-control bill called the Protecting Our Kids Act. The package will consider a wide range of gun-control measures, including raising the lawful age of purchasing a semiautomatic rifle from 18 to 21 years old, creating limits and regulations to bump stocks, placing higher penalties for gun trafficking, and other methods to lower gun violence. While the House will bring the omnibus bill for a vote early next week, the Senate will not receive enough votes to reach the 60-vote threshold. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) sighted his optimism about passing gun legislation following the Uvalde and Buffalo mass shootings. “There is more interest in talking about finding a path forward this time than I have ever seen,” Murphy said in an interview. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) directed Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) to work on a legislative proposal with the White House and Senate Democrats on a potential compromise. Sens. Murphy and Cornyn will work on a narrower package, including “red flag” laws and the expansion of background checks. Many believe there is growing openness from Senate Republicans to support “red flag” laws, but limited confidence exists around background checks. 
 
Today, President Joe Biden will meet with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell as inflation continues to impact the country. Many continue to speculate on what is to blame for inflation. Some point to delays in the supply chain emerging due to the pandemic. At the same time, others criticized the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package for pushing too much money into the economy as the primary source of inflation. President Biden published an op-ed laying out a three-step plan. First, Biden calls for the Federal Reserve to serve as the lead in fighting inflation, the second revolves around making goods more affordable, and the third part comes through what the President calls “common-sense reforms to the tax code.” The plan will need Congress’ support for most of the actions. As noted previously, Congress has a limited amount of time to implement any legislative priorities with the mid-terms in November. 
 
When Congress returns on June 6, most of the attention will remain on gun control and abortion rights. Congress will also focus on finalizing a conference report reconciling differences between the Senate-passed United States Innovation and Competition Act (USCIA) of 2021 (S. 1260) and the House-passed America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength (America COMPETES) Act of 2022 (H.R. 4521). Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) remarked on her hopes to pass a final version by the July 4 Independence Day Holiday. States across the country will continue primary elections before the November mid-term elections. Finally, Member offices are posting their selected Congressionally Directed Spending/Community Project Funding requests for Fiscal Year 2023.
Last Week
Biden to meet Fed chair as inflation bites US pocketbooksREAD MORE
 
House Democrats to move slate of gun bills this week READ MORE
 
Biden lays out plan to fight inflation READ MORE
 
What 2022’s primary results tell us about both parties READ MORE
 
Biden seeking gun-control compromise with GOP after Uvalde, Texas, school shooting READ MORE
 
The June primaries already ballooning with big money READ MORE

NSDC Federal Legislative Update


FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
Week of May 23, 2022
Congressional
Outlook
The Senate is in session, the House is out until June 7. With the House out, the Senate will work on several issues including, domestic terrorism, COVID-19 funding, and the potential of a recession.
 
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will file a cloture motion on the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2022 (H.R. 350), which creates units inside the Department of Justice, FBI, and the Justice Department passed in the House last Thursday 222-203, with Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) as the lone Republican vote. Many Republicans have opposed the legislation, as they believe it will lead to the targeting of parents who have criticized their school boards, which stems from a Department of Justice memo highlighting the threats to school boards. Republican opposition is critical to the Thursday Senate vote as legislation would need at least 10 votes to pass the chamber. Passage of the bill is highly unlikely.
 
Regarding COVID-19 funding, Senate Republicans continue to demand a vote on Title 42, a pandemic-related immigration restriction impacting asylum seekers on the southern border with Mexico before acting on any additional pandemic-related funds. On Friday, a federal judge blocked the Biden Administration from ending the public health authority. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it was no longer necessary to uphold the order, this however faced significant pushback from both Republicans and Democrats, fearing a migrant surge in response. The Justice Department released a statement of their plans to appeal the decision. The White House continues to maintain the country is in desperate need to restock tests, therapeutics, and vaccines. Majority Leader Schumer hopes the House will act first on the bill, but that would mean any action on COVID-19 funding would not see action until the second week of June.
 
Other potential action includes emergency funding legislation to address the infant formula shortage triggered by supply chain issues. The House-passed legislation the Infant Formula Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 7790), provides $28 million to the Food and Drug Administration to address shortages and prevent future shortages but faces challenges for Senate-passage. On Saturday, President Biden signed into law the Access to Baby Formula Act of 2022 (H.R. 7791), allowing the purchase of more formula with money from a federal program aiding low-income women, infants, and children. In addition, the Senate will vote on the confirmation on Stephanie Davis to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit. The Senate may also vote on 14 nominations including: Henry Frey to be Assistant Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; Sandra Thompson to be Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency; and Lisa Gomez to be Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration.

For the remainder of the week, the House and Senate will hold several committee hearings, including a House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis hearing on “Building an Affordable and Resilient Food Supply Chain;” a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on “Formula Safety and Supply: Protecting the Health of America’s Babies;” and House Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on “Tackling Teacher Shortages.” The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service and the Finance Committee will discuss “Supply Chain Resiliency: Alleviating Backlogs and Strengthening Long-Term Security”. Cabinet members and other agency leaders will appear on Capitol Hill to testify on their FY 2023 budget requests.
Last Week
Days after Buffalo mass shooting, the House approves a bill to fight domestic terror READ MORE
 
Biden Signs Ukraine and Baby Formula Supplemental ActsREAD MORE
 
House passes $28 million in emergency funding to address baby formula shortage READ MORE
 
Federal judge blocks Biden administration from lifting Title 42 for now READ MORE
 
Baby formula bill faces rocky terrain in Senate READ MORE

NSDC Federal Legislative Update


FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
Week of May 16, 2022
Congressional
Outlook
The House and Senate are in session.
 
The House will vote on 28 bills under suspension of the rules, including the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act (H.R. 7688), that would make it unlawful to increase gasoline and home energy fuel prices in an excessive or exploitative manner, and the Senate-Passed State and Local Government Cybersecurity Act of 2021 (S. 2499), which expands DHS responsibilities through grants and cooperative agreements, including the provision of assistance and education related to cyber threat indicators, proactive and defensive measures and cybersecurity technologies, cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities, incident response and management, analysis, and warnings. The House will also vote on legislation to address the supply chain disruptions and recalls to baby formula following a Dear Colleague letter from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) addressing the matter. House lawmakers will begin publicly posting their 2023 fiscal year Community Project Funding (earmark) requests this week as well. The House Appropriations Committee asked Members to wait 15 days after the submission deadlines before posting their requests.
 
Following weeks of negotiations, the Senate is slated to vote on the House-passed $40.1 billion Ukrainian assistance package (H.R. 7691). The movement comes after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) led a weekend Senate delegation visit to Ukraine, including a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and told reporters on passage of the package that “we'll get the job done by Wednesday.” Last week, President Biden urged Congress in a statement to separate the Ukraine and COVID packages in order to not “slow down action on the urgently needed Ukrainian aid.” Many Republicans voiced opposition to the COVID package following concerns over the potential end to Title 42, a pandemic-related immigration restriction impacting asylum seekers on the southern border with Mexico. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) filed a cloture motion for the bill, but the vote could face delays with Sen. Chris Van Hollen’s (D-MD) office announcing the Senator was hospitalized for a minor stroke.
 
For the remainder of the week, the House and Senate will hold several committee hearings, including a House Science, Space and Technology hearing on “Building a Workforce to Navigate the Electric Vehicle Future” and a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on “Creating a More Resilient Nation: Stakeholder Perspectives.” Cabinet members and other agency leaders will appear on Capitol Hill to testify on their FY 2023 budget requests, including Labor Secretary Marty Walsh before the House Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee; U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Califf before the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration Subcommittee; National Park Service Director Charles Sams before the Interior and Environment Subcommittee; and National Aeronautics and Space Administration Secretary Bill Nelson before the Commerce-Justice-Science Subcommittee.
 
The Senate will vote on several nominations, including three district court judges: Jennifer Rochon for the Southern District of New York, Trina Thompson for the Northern District of California, and Sunshine Suzanne Sykes for the Central District of California. The Senate may vote on Mary Boyle as a Consumer Product Safety Commission. Several states, including Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon, and Pennsylvania, will hold primaries.
Last Week
Biden tells Congress to split Ukraine and COVID funding packages READ MORE
 
White House to roll out plan to catalyze infrastructure investments READ MORE
 
US hits 1 million deaths from COVID-19 READ MORE
 
Portman, Sinema Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Expand FEMA’s Capacity to Help Communities Address Technological Hazards READ MORE
 
Carter leads bill to combat inflation, pay federal debt READ MORE
 
Seven primary races to watch on Tuesday READ MORE

NSDC Federal Legislative Update


FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
Week of May 9, 2022
Congressional
Outlook
The House and Senate are in session.
 
The House will vote on 28 bills under suspension of the rules, including the Empowering the U.S. Fire Administration Act (H.R. 7077), which authorizes the Fire Administration to conduct on-site investigations of significant fires. For the remainder of the week, the House will vote on the Federal Firefighters Fairness Act of 2022 (H.R. 2499), which expands eligibility for firefighters who develop certain health conditions; and the Community Services Block Grant Modernization Act of 2022 (H.R. 5129), which reauthorize the program for 10 years and authorize $1 billion annually for grants. The House will also vote on a resolution allowing House staffers to unionize. 
 
Following a leaked opinion on a possible Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will file cloture to codify the right to abortion. The vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act (S.1975), slated for Wednesday, will fail, as the measure will need 60 votes to overcome a filibuster. Many will look to see how Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AL), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) vote. Even with the support of all three members, the measure will fail. This issue has quickly taken center stage in both chambers of Congress and will serve as a hot topic issue for the midterm elections.
 
Additionally, Congress hopes to address several long-awaited assistance packages and nominations. Most signs regarding Ukrainian and COVID-19 aid packages point to lawmakers combining the two measures. The approach by Democratic leadership comes with concerns from Republicans over the Title 42 provision, a pandemic-related immigration restriction. Currently, the Biden Administration is following a court order temporarily blocking any changes to the policy. The White House requested assistance for Ukraine, and the Coronavirus pandemic is $33 billion and $10 billion, respectively. In order to move both bills, Republicans will likely require a vote on an amendment preventing the end of Title 42. 
 
The Senate will vote on several nominations, including Ann Phillips to be Administrator of the Maritime Administration; Asmeret Berhe to be Director of the Office of Science at the Department of Energy; Jay Powell for a second term as Chair of the Federal Reserve; Lisa Cook to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; and Alvaro Bedoya to be a Federal Trade Commissioner. 
 
For the remainder of the week, the House and Senate will hold several committee hearings, including a Senate Environment and Public Works hearing on the “An oversight hearing to examine the Council on Environmental Quality;” and a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on “Modernizing Hydropower: Licensing and Reforms for a Clean Energy Future” Secretaries and other department leaders will appear on Capitol Hill to testify on their fiscal year 2023 budget requests next week, including: Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg before the House Appropriations Transportation-HUD Subcommittee; U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus in the Homeland Security Subcommittee; and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo at the Commerce-Justice-Science Subcommittee
Last Week
Biden admin announces expansion of free high-speed internet to eligible US households READ MORE
 
1 million deaths: Remembering the lives lost to COVID-19 in America READ MORE
 
Senate Democrats shop revamped child care reconciliation proposal READ MORE
 
Senate heads toward failed abortion vote amid fury READ MORE
 
The House will vote on a measure to allow congressional staffers to unionize READ MORE
 
Inflation and worker shortage fuel push on immigration bills READ MORE

NSDC Federal Legislative Update


FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
Week of May 2, 2022
Congressional
Outlook
The Senate is in session while the House is out for a District Work Period. 
 
Last week, the Biden Administration released a $33 billion request to Congress for additional Ukrainian assistance. Senate Democrats are likely to decide this week if they will attach COVID-19 aid to the Ukraine funding package. The Administration and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reportedly support linking the two issues. Speaker Pelosi told reporters Friday, “We have emergencies here. We need to have the COVID money, and time is of the essence because we need the Ukraine money.” The decision falls to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who has not made his plans on both relief packages public. Tying both bills together makes the pathway out of the 50-50 Senate more difficult. Last month, Senate Republicans blocked a deal on the $10 billion coronavirus relief from advancing over Title 42, a pandemic-related immigration restriction. Last week, a federal judge temporarily blocked the Biden Administration from ending the provision. Senate Republicans will likely demand a vote on an amendment offered by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), further preventing the White House from ending Title 42. The amendment has support from at least five moderate Senate Democrats. 
 
In addition to Ukraine and coronavirus-related pandemic assistance, the Senate will work through procedural motions instructing conferees on the America COMPETES Act of 2022 (H.R. 4521), legislation aimed at improving the U.S. semiconductor industry and boosting competitiveness with China. 28 motions will clear before the Senate enters a final conference committee with House. The Senate will also vote on several nominations, including Joshua Frost to be Assistant Secretary for Financial Markets at the Treasury Department; Elizabeth de Leon Bhargava to be Assistant Secretary for Administration at the Department of Housing and Urban Development; and Lisa Cook to be a Member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. The Senate may also consider Jerome Powell for a second term as Chair of the Federal Reserve and Phillip Jefferson to be a Member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.
 
For the remainder of the week, the Senate will hold several committee hearings, including an Environment and Public Works markup of the “Water Resources Development Act of 2022 (WRDA 2022).” Two Cabinet Secretaries, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, will testify before the Energy and Natural Resources and Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committees, respectively, to discuss the President’s FY 2023 budget request to Congress. Several Senate Appropriations subcommittees will also hold hearings on the President’s FY23 budget, including the Department of Health and Human ServicesU.S. Forest ServiceDepartment of Homeland SecurityDepartment of Veterans AffairsDepartment of Defense, and the Department of Energy
Last Week
Biden asks Congress for $33 billion in aid for Ukraine as war drags on READ MORE
 
Federal judge temporarily blocks Biden administration from ending Title 42 Covid border restrictions for migrants READ MORE
President Biden Signs Long-Awaited MAPLand Act Into Law READ MORE
 
Senate confirms Lael Brainard as Fed vice chair READ MORE
 
Senate confirms Crabtree as DOE fossil energy chief READ MORE
 
 
This week: Senate faces decision time on Ukraine aid READ MORE
 
U.S. Congress revives World War Two-era “Lend-Lease” program for Ukraine READ MORE
 
TSA stops enforcing traveler mask mandate READ MORE
 
Senators relaunch bipartisan immigration discussions READ MORE

NSDC Federal Legislative Update

FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
Week of April 25, 2022
Congressional
Outlook
The House and Senate are both back in session this week following their two-week spring recess. The House will vote on 28 bills under suspension of the rules, including the Small Business Development Centers Improvement Act of 2022(H.R. 6445), which reauthorizes the SBA’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) program through Fiscal Year (FY) 2025. For the remainder of the week, the House will vote on the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2022 (H.R. 350), which authorizes offices at the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security dedicated to monitoring, investigating, and prosecuting perpetrators of domestic terrorism; and the Senate-passed Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022(S. 3522), which authorizes the president to expedite the delivery of military equipment to Ukraine and other Eastern European countries affected by Russia’s invasion through lend-lease agreements.

The Senate will vote on several nominations, including Lael Brainard to be Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Lisa Cook to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; and Alvaro Bedoya to be a Federal Trade Commissioner. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wants to revisit the $10 billion plan (H.R. 4373) to boost pandemic preparedness. That legislation stalled on the eve of the spring recess because of efforts to attach an amendment that would halt the Biden Administration’s move to end Title 42 beginning on May 23, a pandemic-related immigration restriction. Additional items the Senate will likely consider in the coming weeks include: additional supplemental spending plans to address Russia’s war on Ukraine; legislation to enhance U.S. competition with China and support domestic chip manufacturing; and a long-stalled social spending package via budget reconciliation.

House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees will hold numerous hearings this week with Biden Administration officials to discuss President Biden’s FY 2023 budget proposal to Congress. This includes the Department of Homeland SecurityU.S. Forest ServiceU.S. Army Corps of Engineers & Bureau of ReclamationDepartment of the InteriorDepartment of AgricultureDepartment of EducationCybersecurity and Infrastructure Security AgencyDepartment of JusticeDepartment of EnergyDepartment of Transportation; and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Last Week
Democrats prepare to take second run at Biden spending plan READ MORE

Biden administration restores environmental reviews for major infrastructure projects READ MORE

Biden Signs Earth Day Executive Order to Protect Old-growth Forests READ MORE

Biden Administration Launches Nationwide Network of Partners to Tap Resources for Rural America READ MORE

NSDC Federal Legislative Update

FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
Week of April 11, 2022
Congressional
Outlook
The House and Senate are in recess this week and next, returning to Washington the week of April 25. While Congress is in recess, many items await their attention, including the U.S. competitiveness bill, COVID-19 relief funding, additional Ukraine aid, and new negotiations on the Build Back Better Act, among other legislative items.
 
On Thursday, the Senate confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court as an Associate Justice by a bipartisan vote of 53-47. Three Republican Senators, Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Mitt Romney (R-UT), joined all 50 Democrats in confirming Judge Jackson. Following her historical confirmation, Judge Jackson gave a speech on the White House South Lawn Friday and said, “I have dedicated my career to public service because I love this country and our Constitution and the rights that make us free.” The confirmation process, in total, took about six weeks, and Judge Jackson will replace Justice Stephen Breyer beginning in early summer, once he formally resigns.
 
Lawmakers will conference differences between the Senate-passed U.S. Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 (S. 1260) and the House-passed America COMPETES Act (HR 4521), which would aid domestic innovation initiatives and offer billions for semiconductor manufacturing. These negotiations have faced delays and remain a top priority for congressional leaders. Over 100 members of Congress will take part in the conferencing between the two chambers hoping to resolve differences on the package to aid U.S. high-tech research and manufacturing to compete with China. The legislation faces a long road to the President’s desk for signage, as it impacts many Committee jurisdictions. 
 
After an agreement in principle on a new $10 billion COVID-19 relief package early last week, a pandemic ruling on immigration is now at the center of delays to the legislation in the Senate. Title 42, as it is known, allows the U.S. to turn away asylum seekers “in the interest of public health.” On April 1, the Biden Administration announced it would no longer enforce Title 42 beginning  May 23. The White House has seen criticism from both sides of the aisle on the decision to end enforcement of the ruling, with the ability to handle the spike in asylum seekers along the southern border as the primary concern. Senate Republicans voted to block the advancement of the $10 billion COVID relief package, an agreement that Leader Schumer and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) brokered. Many senators have demanded votes on amendments to address their various concerns, including the reinstatement of the Title 42 border policy. 
 
A chief cornerstone of the Biden Administration’s legislative agenda is the Build Back Better (BBB) Act. The social and climate bill’s prospects of passage ended when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) stated last December that he would not support the legislation. Senators will take what many believe to be the last possible chance at passing the package in the months leading up to the November midterm election. The tax and spending plan will most likely feature a smaller price tag, meeting Manchin’s demands, and lawmakers will have to work through other remaining challenges and differences on the bill. Rumors of new BBB negotiations come as another senator, Krysten Sinema (D-AZ), who voiced her concerns on the first BBB negotiations, shared with donors her belief that reworking a bill is unlikely.
Last Week
Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmed as first Black woman on Supreme Court READ MORE

Biden announces ban on unlicensed ghost gun kits READ MORE

Jackson will join more diverse and conservative high court READ MORE

White House adviser: Extending TSA mask mandate ‘absolutely’ still on the table READ MORE

House Passes Bill to Provide Relief to Restaurants and Other Small Businesses Hit Hard by COVID READ MORE
 
After Supreme Court confirmation, Democrats face question of what's next READ MORE

Clash over immigration stalls Covid relief funds in Congress, potentially for weeks READ MORE

Senate punts $10 billion in Covid aid until after Easter amid stalemate over border policy READ MORE
 
COVID bill recoups local ARPA aid, broadens use of unspent funds READ MORE
 
House approves criminal contempt referrals for 2 Trump aides over the Jan. 6 attack READ MORE
 
Senate Confirms Transportation, Commerce Nominees After GOP Hold READ MORE
 
Senate Passes Cyber Preparedness Bill, Will be Sent to President READ MORE
 
Senate unanimously passes Russia trade, embargo bills and House clears them READ MORE
 
‘Game changing’ bill for fish and wildlife agencies in America moves closer to passing READ MORE
 
Julia Gordon gets one step closer to FHA commissioner READ MORE
 
Biden pick Katherine Vidal confirmed for empowered patent and trademark chief role READ MORE
 
Senate Confirms James O’Brien to Ambassador Role Leading Sanctions Coordination READ MORE

NSDC Federal Legislative Update



FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
Week of April 4, 2022
Congressional
Outlook
The House and Senate are in session this week.
 
The House will consider 14 bills under suspension of the rules, including a vote on the Resilient Assistance for Mitigation for Environmentally Resilient Infrastructure and Construction by Americans (AMERICA) Act (HR 5689), which improves provisions for federal resources’ building capacity and funding for risk-reducing, cost-effective mitigation projects for state, local, other related entities. The House will consider the Small Project Efficient and Effective Disaster (SPEED) Recovery Act (HR 5641), which increases, to $1 million, the threshold for eligibility for assistance for what qualifies as a “small project” under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. The House may also vote on the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act of 2021 (HR 3807), which providesan additional $42 billion to support restaurants impacted by COVID-19 and $13 billion for other “hard hit” industries.
 
Following a week-long procedural delay, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's nomination to be an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court. The committee expects to produce an 11-11 deadlocked vote to move Judge Jackson’s nomination to the Senate floor later this evening. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will break the tie by filing a “motion to discharge.” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) announced her intentions to vote for the nominee, making her the first Republican to support Judge Jackson. The Senate expects to take a final vote on the nomination by Thursday or Friday. 
 
While Judge Jackson is the Senate’s top priority of the week, Congress will also work to finalize a COVID-19 relief package. Late last week, lawmakers reported a deal in principle on a $10 billion aid package. Congress hopes to pass the legislation this week, providing near-term assistance for therapeutics, testing supplies, and vaccines, among other supplies. This number is down from $15 billion, as Congress could not agree on how to offset $5 billion in appropriated funds slotted for foreign assistance. On Friday, thirteen House members sent a letter to House leadership urging the inclusion of the $5 billion in international aid in the supplemental bill. A few remaining sticking points include whether to include $1 billion in funding to the U.S. Agency for International Development for global vaccine implementation efforts and a Congressional Budget Office review of the bill to ensure the package is fully paid for.
 
Senate Democrats hope to rekindle negotiations on the Build Back Better (BBB) Act, with Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) remaining a critical voice. Many remain skeptical of the prospects of reviving the BBB Act. However, some lawmakers believe the period following the upcoming two-week spring recess is the ideal time to pivot to President Joe Biden’s social and climate bill. “You either do it before Memorial Day, or you’re not going to do it,” Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) said candidly regarding a timeline for action on the measure. Sen. Manchin is on record about potential conversations regarding the BBB Act, saying, “there’s nothing serious.” The Senate will have approximately two months to work out challenges and differences on the bill.
 
For the remainder of this week, the House will hold several committee hearings, including a Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee hearing on “FEMA Priorities for 2022 and the 2022-2026 Strategic Plan;” and a Ways and Means Committee hearing on “Proposed Fiscal Year 2023 Budget With Health & Human Services Secretary Becerra.” Several Senate committees will also hold hearings, including an Appropriations Energy and Water Subcommittee hearing on “A Review of the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Submission for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation;” a Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on “Advancing Public Transportation in Small Cities and Rural Places under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law;” and an Environment and Public Works subcommittee hearing to discuss “Implementation of the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act: Stakeholders’ needs and experiences.” On Tuesday, the State of California will hold a special primary election for its 22ndCongressional District after Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) resigned from Congress on January 1, 2022.
Last Week
Biden’s new budget calls for funding police and taxing billionaires READ MORE

Senate close to COVID-19 aid deal; global funds in question READ MORE
 
This week: Congress braces for monster sprint READ MORE
 
Bipartisan deal struck 'in principle' on $10 billion Covid-19 aid package, Romney says READ MORE
 
House readies relief package for restaurants, other industries READ MORE
 
Senate Passes China Competition Bill to Start Talks with House READ MORE
 
States must target water infrastructure funds to urban, rural areas with real need: lawmakers READ MORE
 
House votes to legalize cannabis, but Senate has its own ideas READ MORE
 
House passes bill to cap insulin prices READ MORE
 
Bill Passed to Stop Sexual Assault and Harassment in Transportation READ MORE

Retirement savings bill passes House as Senate deliberates READ MORE

As Earmarks Return to Congress, Lawmakers Rush to Steer Money Home READ MORE

Senate set to take first step to confirm Jackson, despite GOP hurdle READ MORE

Bipartisan bill to address supply chain kinks moves closer to the president’s desk READ MORE

Senate Confirms Nani Coloretti as OMB Deputy Director READ MORE

Senate Confirms ex-Pentagon official for Commerce Dept. Russia export control post READ MORE

FHWA issues guidelines regarding walkable streets READ MORE

NSDC Federal Legislative Update


FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
Week of March 14, 2022