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Legislative Update

Senate. The Senate will continue to consider nominations as Senators wait to see whether this week’s schedule will include votes on the supplemental spending bill for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan. Timing of action on the measure continues to depend on the work of a handful of Senators and Administration officials, who are trying to craft changes to immigration and border policy that can be added to the spending bill.

House. The House is out this week and will reconvene Jan. 29. The following week will see House Democrats meet at the Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, Va., for their Issues Conference, which will start after votes on Feb. 7 and run until Feb. 9. (House Republicans have scheduled their retreat for March 13-15 at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.) In a schedule change, House leadership announced Friday that instead of being on recess for two weeks in February (the weeks of Feb. 19 and 26), the House will now be in session for votes from the evening of Feb. 28 through March 1.

Spending Bills. The extra session days in the House will no doubt be needed if Congress is to pass the FY 2024 appropriations bills by its new deadlines. Under the continuing resolution that lawmakers approved last week and the President signed on Friday, there will continue to be two deadlines for action. They are now March 1 for four measures – Agriculture/FDA, Military Construction/VA, Energy and Water, and Transportation/HUD – and March 8 for the remaining eight appropriations bills. Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and House Appropriations Chair Kay Granger (R-Tex.) are still negotiating on how to divvy up the top-line spending amounts that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Mike Johnson agreed to on Jan. 7.

Tax Bill. On Friday, Jan. 19, the House Ways and Means Committee voted 40-3 to approve a tax bill that was unveiled Jan. 16 by Ways and Means Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.) and Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). The three votes against the measure were from Democratic Reps. Lloyd Doggett (Tex.), Linda Sanchez (Calif.), and Gwen Moore (Wis.), who supported additional changes to the child tax credit. The bill would provide relief to businesses for three provisions that were changed by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 – the deduction for domestic R&D expenses, the interest deduction, and bonus depreciation. The measure would also make the child tax credit more generous and provide incentives related to the low-income housing tax credit. The $79-billion cost of the bill would be offset by making various changes related to the Employee Retention Tax Credit. It is unclear what the next step will be in the legislative process.

Committee Action of Note

Tuesday, January 23

  • Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property Hearing: “The Patent Eligibility Restoration Act – Restoring Clarity, Certainty, and Predictability to the U.S. Patent System”

Wednesday, January 24

  • Senate Budget Committee Hearing: “Warming Seas, Cooling Economy: How the Climate Crisis Threatens Ocean Industries”
  • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Hearing: “Oversight of Toxic Substances Control Act Amendments Implementation”
  • Senate Foreign Relations Committee Markup of various measures, including:
    • S.2003, to authorize the Secretary of State to provide additional assistance to Ukraine using assets confiscated form the Central Bank of the Russian Federation and other sovereign assets of the Russia Federation
  • Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and Counterterrorism Hearing: “AI in Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions”

Thursday, January 25

  • Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Hearing: Reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program: Local Perspectives on Challenges and Solutions."

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