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:
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.