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Legislative Update

Senate. Among the nominations the Senate will consider this week is that of Michael Whitaker to take the helm at the Federal Aviation Administration. Polly Trottenberg, Deputy Transportation Secretary, is required to step down as acting head of the FAA on Wednesday because the Vacancies Act limits how long acting officials can serve. FAA Deputy Administrator Katie Thompson will become the next acting Administrator if needed.

The Senate is also expected to take up a resolution using the Congressional Review Act to overturn a Food and Nutrition Service rule that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. If an agreement can be reached on amendments, the Senate could resume consideration of a minibus that packages three FY 2024 appropriations bills – Agriculture/FDA, Military Construction/VA, and Transportation/HUD.

House. Republicans are holding a candidate forum at 6:30 p.m. today to hear from their nine candidates for Speaker. On Tuesday, the Republican conference will go behind closed doors again to begin the voting process, with the candidate getting the fewest votes dropping off the ballot until one candidate wins a majority. The nine candidates are Majority Whip Tom Emmer (Minn.), Republican Conference Vice Chair Mike Johnson (La.), Republican Policy Committee Chair Gary Palmer (Ala.), Republican Study Committee Chair Kevin Hern (Okla.), and Reps. Jack Bergman (Mich.), Byron Donalds (Fla.), Dan Meuser (Pa.), Austin Scott (Ga.), and Pete Sessions (Tex.).

No date has been set for the full House to choose between a new Republican nominee and the Democratic candidate, Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.). Also, the House is scheduled to leave Friday for a recess until Nov. 6, but those plans could be changed due to the uncertainty over choosing a new Speaker.

Supplemental Spending. On October 31, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will appear before the Senate Appropriations Committee to provide details on the emergency supplemental spending request that the Administration submitted to Congress on Friday. The Administration’s request of $106 billion includes $61.4 billion for Ukraine, $14.3 billion for Israel, $13.6 billion for border-related issues, and $9.15 billion for humanitarian aid.

House Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry said on Friday that the chairs of the Appropriations, Armed Services, and Intelligence committees are working with the Administration and plan “to be ready to respond legislatively once we have a duly elected Speaker of the House.”

According to a White House fact sheet, the Administration is also planning to submit another supplemental request to address recent natural disasters, avoid the risk that millions of Americans lose access to affordable high-speed internet or child care, provide additional resources for FEMA’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program, and avert a funding cliff for wildland firefighter pay.”

Committee Action of Note

With House Republicans meeting this week to address the Speaker vacancy, several hearings have been postponed. This includes hearings in House Financial Services subcommittees scheduled for Tuesday on “Examining the SEC’s Agenda” and “The Tangled Web of Global Governance” as well as Oversight Subcommittee hearings tomorrow on “Advances in Deepfake Technology” and “Ensuring Global Health Security.”

Tuesday, October 24

  • Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights Hearing: “Time Change: Examining Competition and Consumer Rights in Housing Markets”
  • House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance Hearing: “The Factors Influencing the High Cost of Insurance for Consumers”
  • House Oversight and Accountability Subcommittees on Government Operations & the Federal Workforce and Financial Services Joint Hearing: “Oversight of the Internal Revenue Service”
  • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy, Climate, and Grid Security markup of various measures
  • House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border Security and Enforcement Hearing: “The Broken Path: How Transnational Criminal Organizations Profit from Human Trafficking at the Southwest Border”
  • House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing: “Friend and Ally: U.S. Support for Israel after Hamas’ Barbaric Attack”
  • House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Hearing: “Water Resources Development Acts: Status of Past Provisions and Future Needs”

Wednesday, October 25

  • Senate Foreign Relations markup to consider the nomination of Jacob Lew to be Ambassador to the State of Israel
  • Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing: “Ensuring the Safety and Well-Being of Unaccompanied Children, Part II”
  • Senate Budget Committee Hearing: “Bottlenecks and Backlogs: How Climate Change Threatens Supply Chains”
  • Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee markup of various measures
  • Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation Hearing: “Assessing the Department of State’s Strategy for Security in the Black Sea Region”
  • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining hearing to receive testimony on pending legislation
  • House Financial Services Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology, and Inclusion Hearing: “Modernizing Financial Services Through Innovation and Competition”
  • House Oversight and Accountability Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs Hearing: “The Power of Apprenticeships: Faster, Better Paths to Prosperous Jobs and Less Waste in Higher Education”
  • House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife, and Fisheries hearing on various measures

Thursday, October 26

  • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Hearing to examine Federal Offshore Energy Strategy and Policies
  • Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee Hearing: “Evaluating Material Alternatives for Single-Use Plastics”

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