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Legislative Update

Senate. The Senate will continue to consider nominations.

House. The House will begin the week with votes on five bills under suspension of the rules. This includes the Financial Exploitation Prevention Act, which would allow mutual funds to delay redemption of shares in order to protect a shareholder from financial exploitation. The House will also vote on four bills related to the Covid pandemic, including proposals to end the vaccine mandate for health workers, end the public health emergency, end the Covid national emergency, and require federal agencies to reinstate pre-Covid telework policies. A fifth measure on this week’s agenda resolves that “Congress denounces socialism in all its forms, and opposes the implementation of socialist policies in the United States of America.”

Committee Assignments. Last week, Senate and House Democratic leaders released lists of committee assignments for their members. The Senate list can be found here, while the House list can be found here. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has made various announcements on committee assignments, but Senate Republicans have not finalized their rosters. Contributing to the Senate delay is that Republicans have had to find spots for six new members (versus only two for Democrats) and newly elected Senator Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.) wanted a seat on the Judiciary Committee.

There were two problems with Schmitt’s choice of committee. First, Schmitt’s Missouri colleague, Senator Josh Hawley (R), serves on the Judiciary Committee, and Republican rules limit committee assignments to one Senator per state unless a waiver is approved. Second, a sitting Republican member of the Judiciary panel would have had to give up his or her seat to make room for Schmitt (and none were willing to do so). As for the waiver, Republicans voted on Jan. 25 against a waiver for Schmitt (although in the past, they had approved a waiver that allows both Ted Cruz and John Cornyn of Texas to sit on Judiciary). Without the waiver, Schmitt could not be assigned to Judiciary and had to submit a new request for committees. With the Judiciary Committee issue now resolved, a final decision on Republican assignments for all committees is expected this week.

CBO Projections. On Feb. 15, the Congressional Budget Office will release two reports of interest – The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2023 to 2033 and the latest version of Federal Debt and the Statutory Limit, describing the current debt situation and CBO’s expectation about when the Treasury will no longer be able to pay its obligations fully if the debt limit is not raised.

Committee Action of Note

  • Wednesday, February 1
    • House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Hearing: “The State of Transportation Infrastructure and Supply Chain Challenges”
    • House Judiciary Committee Hearing: “The Biden Border Crisis: Part I”
    • House Oversight and Accountability Committee Hearing: “Federal Pandemic Spending: A Prescription for Waste, Fraud and Abuse”
    • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Hearing: “Challenges And Opportunities To Investigating The Origins Of Pandemics And Other Biological Events.”
    • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health Hearing: “Lives Worth Living: Addressing the Fentanyl Crisis, Protecting Critical Lifelines, and Combatting Discrimination Against Those with Disabilities”
    • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce Hearing: “Economic Danger Zone: How America Competes To Win The Future Versus China”
    • Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Hearing: “Farm Bill 2023: Trade and Horticulture”
  • Thursday, February 2
    • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing to examine the Department of Energy’s implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

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