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Legislative Update

State of the Union. President Biden will deliver his State of the Union address on March 1.

House. The House is in session this week with a light legislative agenda.

Senate. The Senate will continue to consider nominations and will vote on legislation by Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) that would impose sanctions related to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The pipeline, which has been completed but is not yet operational, would carry Russian natural gas to Germany. The measure needs 60 votes for passage and is expected to fall short of that threshold.

The Senate has two pending bills related to elections and voting rights that could be voted on this week – the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Neither will make it over the 60-vote threshold to cut off debate. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said if voting rights legislation fails to advance, he will try to use the “nuclear option” to change the filibuster rules. While this option would allow the rules to be changed with the support of a simple majority, not all Democratic Senators are on board yet, so it remains unclear what the resolution will be. Schumer said last week the rules change vote would take place on or before Jan. 17, Martin Luther King Day. The Senate is scheduled to be in recess all of next week.

Spending Legislation. There has yet to be an agreement between Democrats and Republicans on the topline numbers for defense and non-defense spending, making it increasingly difficult to pass an omnibus FY 2022 spending measure before the current continuing resolution expires on Feb. 18. However, it appears that Democrats could agree to a topline number of $740 billion for defense, matching the funding approved in the National Defense Authorization Act. To highlight the importance of reaching an agreement on FY 2022 bills, the Defense Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee will hold a Wednesday hearing on the impact of continuing resolutions on the military.

The lack of an agreement on FY 2022 bills appears to be contributing to a delay in the release of President Biden’s FY 2023 budget proposal. Speculation on Capitol Hill is that the budget will not be released until sometime in March at the earliest.

Committee Action of Note:

  • Tuesday, January 11:
    • House Appropriations Subcommittee on Legislative Branch Hearing: Security of the Capitol Campus since the Attack of January 6, 2021.
    • House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Hearing: Ensuring Equitable Delivery of Disaster Benefits to Vulnerable Communities and Peoples: An Examination of GAO's Findings of the CDBG Program.
    • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Hearing to examine the opportunities and challenges for maintaining existing hydropower capacity, expanding hydropower at non-powered dams, and increasing pumped storage hydropower.
    • Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Hearing to examine a Federal perspective on the COVID-19 response, focusing on addressing new variants.
    • Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Meeting to examine the nomination of Jerome H. Powell to be Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
    • Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing to examine the domestic terrorism threat one year after January 6.
  • Wednesday, January 12:
    • Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee business meeting to consider pending nominations.
    • House Agriculture Committee Hearing: Implications of Electric Vehicle Investments for Agriculture and Rural America.
    • House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Hearing: Proposals for a Water Resources Development Act of 2022: Administration Priorities.
  • Thursday, January 13:
    • Senate Special Committee on Aging Hearing to examine financial literacy, focusing on addressing the unique just-in-time decisions older Americans and people with disabilities face.
    • Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing to examine the nominations of Celeste Ann Wallander, Melissa Griffin Dalton, and John F. Plumb, each to be an Assistant Secretary of Defense.
    • Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Hearing to examine the nominations of Lael Brainard to be Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and Sandra L. Thompson to be Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Political Update

Special Elections. Voters in Florida’s 20th Congressional District will go to the polls Tuesday to pick a successor to the late Rep. Alcee Hastings (D). Democrat Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick is expected to win in the heavily Democratic district. If that’s the case, the party breakdown in the House will be 222-212, with one vacancy, that of Californian Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, who resigned Jan. 1 to become CEO of the Trump Media & Technology Group. A nonpartisan primary to fill Nunes’ seat will be held April 5. If no candidate receives a majority, the top two candidates will face off on June 7.


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